As noted by entrepreneur and Forbes contributor Michael Fertik, trust amongst consumers has hit an all-time low. People simply don’t believe that businesses have their best interests at heart any longer. Honestly, I can’t really say I blame them.
2019 was a year of immense controversy. From a series of disturbing revelations about the relationship between China and US-based businesses to Facebook’s data management practices to the constant data breaches, there are plenty of reasons for consumers to be disillusioned with the businesses that serve them. But your organization doesn’t need to be one of them.
Now more than ever before, customers demand businesses that engage with them as people. They want to interact with brands that are not just authentic, but humanized. Conveying those characteristics in your business’s own branding is easier than you might expect.
Think about why you first started your business. What passion inspired you to become an entrepreneur? What drove you, day after day, to keep putting one foot in front of the other; to keep trying to grow your brand? Instill some of that dedication in your content marketing, from your social posts through to your emails.
Beyond that, you’ll want to consider your brand’s unique selling points, core values, and mission statement. These are the cornerstones of your brand’s identity, and greatly influence your brand’s look, feel, and language. Finally, look at your audience.
Who are they? How do they communicate with one another? What’s important to them? Why are they interacting with your brand?
This knowledge should all play into the creation of your brand’s distinctive personality, one which remains consistent across all channels. One thing to note, though, is that no matter what sort of persona you settle on, make sure you are authentic. Don’t try to lie about your brand or its products.
Human beings are natural storytellers. You can use that in your marketing to add significant humanity to your brand’s identity. There are a few ways you can go about this.
First, talk about yourself. Share real stories about what you learned as an entrepreneur while building your business. Your successes and failures, your hopes and dreams. How you built your business, and why.
Second, you can share stories from your employees, or encourage them to share their own. Let the exceptional men and women who have helped your business become what it is today have their moment in the spotlight. Share photos of staff outings or candid shots from the workplace.
Show that there are real people behind the curtain and not just a bunch of faceless drones.
Finally, seek out, promote, and encourage user-generated content such as reviews or social media posts. When other customers see real people enjoying your brand and its products, they’ll be more likely to trust in you themselves.
Last but certainly not least, talk to your audience. Maintain a dedicated customer relations team whose sole job is to connect with people over social media (or any other channels through which people can contact your business). Make sure each of these individuals is aware of your branding guidelines, and moreover that they understand their job here isn’t to upsell or promote a particular product.
It’s to build relationships. To connect with both current and prospective customers in a way that resonates with them. These men and women will buy your products on their own if they trust your brand.
It’s your job to foster that trust.
Faceless, impersonal brands are a thing of the past. For modern businesses to truly succeed, they need a personality. They need people, stories, and emotions attached to their products and their marketing.
They need to be human.