At Eidson & Partners, we love Dr. Stephen Covey's admonition to "begin with the end in mind" when it comes to launching new brands or products. For new brands, that "end" is the ideal scenario at the time of launch to maximize the potential for success and build brand credibility.
Credibility is vital to a successful launch for a new company. If potential customers don't trust you or believe what you're saying, they aren't going to buy your product or service. It's that simple.
Mature companies that have been in business for decades have recognizable brand logos and slogans and are able to advertise their long history as proof of their customers' enduring belief in them. If your company is a start-up and you don't yet have that long, illustrious history, what can you do?
How Emerging Brands Can Build Credibility
In order to "begin with the end in mind," credibility must be a starting point. You can't sit back and wait for customer reviews and testimonials to come in, you need to actively build and promote your credibility. Not sure where to start? Here are a few ideas:
1. Make Your Brand Believable
If your company brand or advertising includes a "too good to be true" statement, you need to be able to prove that statement is true. Without an established track record, potential customers are likely to write you off as dreamers or over-reachers.
For instance, if your advertising says that your new restaurant has the best filet mignon in town, you need to support that claim. Do you use the highest quality beef? Has your executive chef won a critic's award? Do you have customer testimonials you can share? Adding one or more of those elements to your claim helps potential customers navigating todays cynical marketplace believe what you're saying.
2. Provide Valuable Information
Although your company may be new, that doesn't mean that you and your employees don't have valuable experience in your industry. Sharing your expertise in your advertising, social media, and web content is a great way to build brand credibility, especially as a start-up company.
As Tom Smith writes in a blog post on InsightsFromAnalytics:
"Answer every question a customer has ever asked online, preferably on a blog. This will create awareness, trust, improve your website's SEO and generate more leads."
Taking your customers potential questions and concerns into account, create online content that provides valuable information and answers. Your availability and honesty will create trust and positive associations with your brand, and your content will reach potential customers across the globe. Cultivate a thought-leadership position early by sharing your expertise.
3. Polish Your Web Presence
Credibility begins with your web presence. More than 80 percent of shoppers research products on the internet, even if they plan on buying the item in person. A polished, dynamic, easy-to-navigate website that's updated regularly is a must, and active social media pages are more important than ever, especially if you are focused on younger consumers. Personalize your social media pages as best you can to consistently reflect your brand identity.
The importance of good web design can't be overstated. Often, your website is the first encounter a potential customer has with your brand. If your website looks outdated, sloppy, or hard to navigate, your brand credibility immediately plummets and the customer looks elsewhere. Spend money on good design — it's worth it.
Begin with the End in Mind
Beginning with the end in mind in terms of company and brand credibility isn't an impossible task. Especially if you're new to the market, credibility must be your starting point. You can earn customer trust and loyalty by making your branding and advertising believable, sharing your expertise with valuable information, and spending time developing and maintaining a good web presence.
If you're authentic, helpful, and polished from the outset, you'll give yourself the chance to grow into an established brand that consumers will count on for years to come.