Building your brand isn’t just done overnight or in any specific length of time. Building your brand is an ongoing and never ending process that begins with defining what your brand is – your ideals and goals; in short, your mission. It starts with creating a memorable logo that represents those ideals and goals, and of course securing all your brand’s social media profiles [shameless plug]. It doesn’t end there – it includes making sure you monitor how your brand is being represented on the internet as well as in traditional media, and keeping tabs on how people that work for you represent your brand. Honestly the list could go on forever. As your brand evolves so will everything that you need to do to keep its reputation clean, keep your customers and clients happy, and perhaps most importantly, keeping your core business profitable.
All of these are factors in building a brand, but today I wanted to speak to you about something that is, in my opinion, one of the most important facet of any brand: Trust.
Without trust, your brand is nothing more than a name, a logo, a pithy slogan. So how do you build trust? I’d like to present here three tips that I have used along the way to help gain trust in any and all brands I have built or helped to build.
Media Mentions – One of the quickest ways to gain trust in your brand is to list a few of the articles or media outlets where you have been mentioned. Logos of known and trusted news sources help build trust showing that your brand has received some major regional, national, or perhaps even international, attention. But a HUGE no-no, as well as one of my personal pet peeves and something that can actually damage your brand, is the practice of just slapping a couple trusted news outlets’ logos on your home page WITHOUT linking to the actual article or site where you were mentioned! Anyone can use a quick image query to pull the logos of CNN, Newsweek, Forbes, Inc. and USA Today and throw them up on their site, and then claim they have been mentioned there – and people are aware of this trick. Customers are savvy enough to realize a couple logos without citations mean nothing. So always be sure to show the proof that you have been mentioned on those sites.
ProTip: Don’t overdo it, especially if you are linking to each individual article. Not only will this hurt your rankings with the amount of outbound links but it also looks tacky in my opinion. Keep it simple, just list a few of the big ones and if you want to list more, have a footer link with a list of “Media Mentions” where you can go crazy. You don’t want your home page looking like someone ate a copy of every media outlet’s logo and then puked it over your page. Also, if you have print mentions where there was no online content, then scan and create a digital copy of the article where you were mentioned and post it online. If it happens to be a print magazine, be sure to scan a copy of the cover of the magazine so in case someone sees it and wants to verify you were mentioned in it, they will know what to look for (specifically, which month/volume it was published in).
Testimonials – Testimonials work great from clients or fans of your brand. Don’t be afraid to ask for a testimonial or a comment on your service to a client, advocate or fan of your brand. But make sure the person who is giving the testimonial caters it for the vertical market they have the most influence in. As an example, I am not going to ask Andy Beal for a testimonial on KnowEm’s use in the local search marketing world. Just as I wouldn’t ask Andrew Shotland for a testimonial on how KnowEm’s service helps with online reputation management.
ProTip: Seriously, don’t be afraid to ask. The only stupid request or question is the one that is never asked. It will take literally seconds out of your day to ask someone that you feel comfortable with for a quick blurb and if they are a fan of your brand and have a moment they will do it. Here, it’s easy, I’ll even do it right now…
That was the email that I sent and I received back this testimonial…
The first step to building a great online reputation is to secure your brand across every social network. KnowEm takes the pain out of that process.
Author of “Repped: 30 Days to a Better Online Reputation“
Client Logos – These can be VERY powerful. If you have well known brands using your service flaunt it! The larger the brand the better, if you can put up some logos of clients go for it. The larger the company the better, because their brand has probably already built trust. Definitely make sure you ask the company’s permission to use their image or mention, as a lot of large companies have policies in place regarding the use of their brand, image, slogan or mention of their name for advertising purposes. One way that you can try to get some of your clients to use their logo is to offer them a deal or a discount on your brand’s services.
(COMMON SENSE) ProTip: If it’s not actually your client, don’t post their logo. In case you missed that – DO NOT POST THEIR LOGO UNLESS YOU WORK WITH THEM AND HAVE THEIR PERMISSION. You are going to look dumb and break trust, especially if a potential customer asks you for a reference at the company that you have a logo up on your site as a featured client. One of the amazing KnowEm
Clones Alternatives decided to slap 6 logos up on their site as being “featured clients”, I guess they didn’t think that 3 of the 6 were actually clients of KnowEm’s, so we happily reported it to each of our clients’ legal departments and they immediately requested the logos be taken down under threat of legal action.
In closing, your brand’s trust is going to be determined by multiple factors. Helping to make the factors all go in your favor is not difficult at all if you always remember one thing: Be honest. The honest brand and transparent brand will always gain the public’s trust faster then the brand that is nothing more than smoke and mirrors.