In this blog, I will tackle a couple of the issues/interest areas that keep cropping up in my inbox from INMA members, that is, the areas of branded content and trust.
Two areas that go hand in hand — as when we get branded content right, readers and advertisers alike will trust us. Trust is so important for rebuilding respect and engagement with our audiences in a world where “fake news” seems prevalent, and post pandemic, where reassurance that spending time and money with us are needed more than ever.
Building trust doesn’t happen overnight, nor does it happen in isolation. We have to remain totally consistent in our messaging, understand our audience personas, and, most of all, deliver on our promises every time.
Here are five things I believe should constitute our checklist to do this effectively — a list we can use when dealing with our advertising clients to demonstrate we know how to deal with trust and we take it seriously.
1. Be open and accessible
Be accessible to customers allowing them to engage with us. Customers very often have queries. And if there’s nowhere to go to and we simply cannot respond, we will lose credibility. Maybe start an online community or use a mix of AI assisted and live/human assistance lines if not already doing so?
Also, clients could consider attending conferences and events where they can answer queries in person, A good way to increase brand “likability” provide support.
2. Have a consistently reliable product/service
Customers very often buy on emotion, not logic. The challenge is: How do we ensure customers are impressed with the quality of the product or service in justifying their purchase? We can’t afford to attract adverse reviews that only lead to mistrust and poor credibility.
One way to ensure our clients’ quality is, of course, to have robust testing process. But maybe encourage the client to consider focus groups, ask target audiences what their requirements are, and what kind of product or service would deliver that?
3. Be totally honest
If, as we should, desire to be transparent, that means being honest about both our brand strengths and weaknesses.
Honesty and openness show we really care about what our customers want and need, and our willingness to help them see that gets results.
4. Bring value to your client
What comes first? Do we put customers first or do we put achieving maximum revenue first? People know when they’re just an avenue to more pounds or dollars to us. And while they may still buy (if they believe the product solves their needs), this doesn’t build longer-term trust or even encourage them down the road of repeat sales.
I once read a line from someone in the ad industry (I cannot recall who, sorry): “Delight is in the detail.” Taking the time to look at the small things, the minutia, brings value to your client. Step back and look at the messaging, the delivery, the execution of the advertising. Do we aim to delight?
5. Keep being consistent
Maintaining total consistency makes sure customers know what to expect. Brands can set goals to maintain the quality of service and product/service attributes.
A consistent brand will help increase the overall value of your brand by reinforcing its place in the market. It will attract loyalty in customers and they follow with higher retention rates, as well as pushing up the perceived value of the brand.
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