If you are just beginning to build your brand, gaining credibility in the marketplace is probably one of the biggest challenges you face.
Credibility can’t be bought, forced, or fabricated. It must be earned.
Here are 11 ways you can earn credibility for your brand that, with time, patience, and persistence, can payoff big time in the long-run.
Earn The Respect of Other Credible People.
This is basically credibility by association. Identify well-respected people in your industry, and make an effort to gain their respect and attention.
Do this by adding value to their conversations and helping them succeed, not by being self-serving. It’s a very simple but very effective tactic that could give you just the boost you need in the marketplace.
There was a time when brands could sweep unethical practices under the rug. That time has now passed.
Transparency isn’t a fad or something brands (at least, not credible brands) pretend to do in order to gain positive PR. It’s table stakes if you want to earn credibility with your customers and the public.
Own Your Entire Brand.
Be proud of your strengths, but also own up to your shortcomings (we all have them). Most importantly, don’t try to sweep your weaknesses under the rug (see point #2). Instead, demonstrate the ways you’re working to improve.
Don’t talk exclusively about yourself. Treat your brand as part of a larger conversation, because it is.
Frequently praise other people and companies in your industry. It’s good karma, and it will find its way back to you.
Don’t be Critical.
When brands get critical of other brands, it looks desperate, not smart or savvy. Your criticisms may or may not sway public opinion about whomever you’re criticizing, but they will certainly undermine your own brand’s credibility.
Always mean what you say. People respect honest, authentic brands far more than trust brands who pander to whatever they think the public wants to hear.
Follow through on the promises you make and keep your commitments. When your customers know they can trust you to deliver, they’ll return again and again, and they’ll tell their friends.
Out of sight, out of mind, as the saying goes. Partner with a highly respected charity, individual, or organization, and make a visible contribution to society, your local community, people in need, etc. Don’t boast, and make sure it’s about the cause, not about you. People are drawn to brands that stand for more than just making money, which leads me to my final point…
Every time, and without exception.
Stand for Something.
Have principles for your brand that go beyond profit, and always remain true to them.
- Write a manifesto and publish it on your website.
- Empower every employee to uphold your credo.
- Start a movement.
- Have a mission.
- Give people a reason to believe in you, and they will.
This is where Corporate social responsibility comes in and seperates the big, credible brands from the churn 'n' burn variety. Check out these 10 CSR examples for inspiration.