Trust… now that’s a hard one.
Gaining trust is challenging, especially for those coming from a large corporation which is at times faceless. If you’ve got a start up business then perhaps it’s easier to gain your customers’ trust because there’s less distance between you and them. Either way there is one key element which is essential to gaining a customer’s trust.
We’ve already gone on and on about the value of emotion and it’s relationship with customer loyalty, where we established that if you want loyal customers you’ve got to give them values they can believe in and relate to.
Similarly, you have to have a story that customers can relate to, a story they feel mirrors their own views of life and that they can make their own (to a certain extent).
Think about it – who are the people you trust most? Those who have shared similar experiences and see life the way you do. It’s therefore no wonder that imitation is the best form of flattery and that any expert in body language will tell you to mimic a person’s actions in order to gain their trust.
The same is similar with your brand. How can a huge financial company gain the trust of (almost) penniless teenage students? By finding common ground- by using their values and story in order to approach that particular audience. We’re not telling you to change your story every time a new audience comes around, but you do have to know how to tell your story the right way.
Here’s an example: How are films like Toy Story, Happy Feet, or Finding Nemo so successful across a variety of ages and audiences? The story writers manage to tell the same story for two different audiences at once. The younger children will understand the story on a surface level, a fish gets separated from his dad and has a big adventure, whilst the older parents will see things differently – a kid who’s mother had been killed in a terrible accident is raised by an overbearing dad who’s constantly living in fear of losing someone else…. you get my point.
Now try doing this with your brand. Sit down with a pen and paper and try to come up with your different audiences and how you can adapt aspects of your story in order to appeal to them. It could be by simply telling it in a different medium, or even using different language styles when writing copy – either way we’re certain you can come up with some creative ideas.
Next you’ve got to get your message out there in the most effective means possible. Take time to engage with your audience – don’t simply blast your story at them expecting them to suddenly fall in love with your brand.
You’ve got to approach the situation delicately, present your story in a subtle and appealing manner where the customer is always at the central focus of the story. Make them feel that they are important to you. Actually, make them realise that they are important. They’re not a number and they’re not a walking cash machine. They are the people who build your brand and carry it on their shoulders. They are the people who will continue to tell your story, spreading it by word of mouth, constantly increasing your reach.
Now this is all well and good. You’ve established what your story is, you’ve figured out how to adapt it to suit your different audiences, and you’ve started engaging your audiences.
But are you authentic?
This is the hardest part as it’s related to the behind the scenes aspect of a company. You’ve got to believe in the story you’re telling, and what’s more is that your staff also has to believe in it and ‘live’ by it.
No, we’re not telling you to brainwash your staff.
We’re telling you that if you really want to be successful you’ve got to make sure that everyone is on the same page, pulling the same rope, and cares about the same basic principles related to your story.
It’s not easy – but if you manage to figure this out then you have a truly authentic brand and a truly authentic story. This would automatically reflect in your work and customers would pick it up without you even having to advertise it.
A simple example is the way we work here at Switch Digital, could you imagine if after all this talk about how Digital is Human, you were to walk into our offices and find us all conforming to strict rules and guidelines much like an army of Storm Troopers? (Although this would be pretty cool)
Storm Troopers aside -make sure everything lines up, be transparent, and be real. This is how you’ll gain your customers’ trust.