How to Develop an Honest Brand That People Trust

The marketplace is full of brands that promise much and deliver little. If you want to stand out and cultivate a loyal following in your niche, it’s as simple as being honest and trustworthy. The challenge lies in communicating these ideals with effort and ease.

The Challenge of Brand Trust

Data from the Edelman Trust Barometer shows that just 48 percent of customers in the United States trust businesses. That number is down from 58 percent just a year prior. And over the past decade, the percentage of customers who trust brands has declined on an almost annual basis.

What’s the big deal, you might ask? Well, consider that a separate study from PwC shows more than one out of every three customers says “trust in brand” is one of the top three reasons they purchase a product or service from a company.

In other words, customers want to do business with brands they trust, yet the majority of brands are letting their customers down. This creates an opportunity for honest brands to step in and build trust. If you can become one of these brands, you have a world of opportunity waiting for you.

Pioneer Music Company is a great example of a brand that has established itself as a trustworthy name in the home audio and video industry. All you have to do is take one look at their website and you can see how much care they put into cultivating this trust. From their deep knowledge center to clear value proposition, everything is neatly aligned with their overarching objective of building a brand people can rely on.

Simple Ways to Build a Trustworthy Brand

Every brand has its own flavor, mission, and values. But if you’re interested in building a trustworthy brand, the following tips will help you move toward that objective:

  • Set Goals

The first step is to figure out what you want. Every brand wants to be trusted, but how do you want that to look? In other words, is your version of trust having 1,000 5-star reviews on Amazon? Or is it having a dozen loyal clients who pay you top-dollar for your services?

How brand trust gets fleshed out is something you have to define on the front end. Otherwise, you won’t have much control over what happens. 

  • Appoint a Brand Trust Lead

The second step is to appoint someone as your “Brand Trust Lead.” This is basically someone on your team who is responsible for ensuring all brand goals are clearly identified and that there are actionable steps in place to help you get from where you are to where you want to be.

Your Brand Trust Leader may or may not have a full-time position doing something else within your company. But if they do, make sure you’re carving out at least several hours a week for them to focus entirely on brand trust. This is their domain and they need time to own it. 

  • Develop Rich Customer Profiles

While no two customers are the same, it’s helpful if you have a general idea of the types of customers you’re working with. If you don’t already have customer profiles, now is the time to develop some.

Also known as customer avatars or personas, these profiles give you a detailed understanding of your customers and what makes them tick. This allows you to strategically frame your brand in the right light.

  • Let Your Guard Down

If your brand is too “cleaned up” and polished, it’ll come across as fake and out of touch. Sometimes the best thing you can do is let your guard down a bit. Social media is the perfect place for this. 

If you want an idea of what relaxed, trustworthy branding looks like, study what companies do on Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok. These platforms are conducive to this type of marketing, and you can replicate what top brands are doing in other niches. 

Adding it All Up

Trust isn’t established overnight. You might get someone to like your brand after one interaction or exposure, but it takes days, weeks, months, and even years to cultivate a deep sense of trust. 

The best way to think about it is like a dating partner. You might go on one date and really like the other person, but this doesn’t mean you trust them with your life. It takes dozens of interactions before you actually trust that individual.

As you build your brand, keep the long-term in mind. Yes, immediate likability is key. However, if you want to develop a brand that people trust for years to come, it takes time. Create a plan, execute with precision, and practice patience!

Rylie Holt