6 Tips for Building Brand Credibility

What do brand credibility and a boyfriend in your 20s have in common? Not a single redeeming thing. Dependability, trustworthiness, consistency, reliability, integrity, self-awareness… you see where we’re going here. Joking aside, brands need to exemplify all those admirable things. And all those things need to be earned. Your brand credibility, after all, is a reflection of who you are as a business—meaning your ability (and willingness!) to deliver on the promises you make about how your services will solve the problems and add the value you say they will. Overwhelming? A little. But also completely achievable when you are intentional about doing the work. Here are six tips to get you started.

1. Act Strategically. Every good plan starts with a good plan. That means committing to doing all the front-end work required to create an identity and strategic plan that sets you apart from the rest. Things like determining your value proposition, crafting your key messages, identifying your ideal audience, thinking about your organization’s values—all of it. If you’ve already done that, review them again to double-check that they still align with your vision. From there, it should be pretty clear what you’re promising and to whom. If your promises and messaging don’t align, adjust your strategies, procedures, and communication to fill the gaps you’ve identified and course-correct for consistency.

2. Know Your Audience. Your brand identity and reputation are a reflection of people’s perception of your business or company—regardless of whether they’re your clients or not. So knowing your audience doesn’t just mean understanding who they are, it means understanding who they think you are. Have your audience’s expectations of you (or themselves) changed? Are you properly anticipating their needs? Exceeding their expectations? Do they feel valued, supported, and appreciated? Have you asked them? Now’s the time to check in. That could mean surveys, reviewing all current analytics, feedback, comments, or even face-to-face meetings—however they like to be reached.

3. Communicate Effectively. Align your messaging across all platforms, and be consistent not only in your messaging and visual branding, but in your interactions and relationships, too. In other words, walk the talk across all channels. Be consistently approachable, consistently accessible, consistently transparent, consistent in your leadership, and consistent in displaying your core values. Effective communication is key to all relationships and essential to earning trust.

4. Be Authentic. Somewhere along the way, the concept of being “original” became more impressive than being authentic. Fortunately, smart consumers know that whereas attempts at originality can feel forced or performative, authenticity never fails to resonate. The real kicker? If you’re authentic enough, it will feel original. So be authentic! Build it into your values, lead with it in your corporate storytelling, and highlight it in your key messages. The more authentic your brand, the easier it will be to stay on message.

5. Act with Integrity. Own your successes and your failures. A good reputation isn’t one that’s perfect—it’s one that tries its hardest to stay true to its values and realigns when it’s veered off course.

6. Build Relationships. Credibility takes time to develop. Brands, after all, are about relationships—making what you do, sell, or champion relevant to the lives of your customers. Along with time, that takes care, respect, compassion, and lots and lots of conversations—important ones. The kind in which you turn your focus from product to people. In the end, brand loyalty is about connecting on an emotional level and about how brands make us feel. A perfect product or service can’t do that, but you can. Build relationships.