We use a straightforward formula here at Wesley Clover for building a brand. The recipe is all about making brand loyalty through building TRUST.
In Part one of this guide, we talk about building RELIABILITY. Part two (linked here) focuses on how to DELIGHT our customers.
We all buy from people we trust. We can build brand loyalty through trust in many methods. Most are outside of our direct control; however, we are still able to influence them if we are aware of the markers.
Why is Achieving Brand Loyalty Important?
- People have too many choices to make in little time.
- Many items have similar perceived quality and features.
- Plus, we tend to base our buying choices on trust.
There’s that trust word again. Samsung had a significant issue with their Galaxy Note 7. The batteries in the Note caught fire. Faulty equipment meant a substantial reduction in trust in their brand. Samsungs profits were almost completely wiped out costing over $3bn.
“We know we must work hard to earn back your trust and we are committed to doing just that,”
– Co-chief executive JK Shin.
As a result, Apple, Google and LG all benefited massively. Apple in particular cashed in by offering money off a new phone if you owned a Note 7. Samsung also had to replace faulty phones with competitor products at their own expense.
Trust is hard to gain and easy to lose.
How Can We Build Trust and Brand Loyalty?
Trust = Reliability + Delight
T=R+D is the formula we use at Wesley Clover. In this article, we focus on just one side that builds trust, through reliability. We will talk about how to Delight in a subsequent post.
From the Samsung example, we see that exploding batteries are a serious reliability concern.
No reliability = No trust
Trust comes from meeting and beating customer expectations. Trust can be built through use or perceived through marketing.
7 Ways to Build Brand Loyalty Through Reliability
1. Build it Well
Good software delivers all its current requirements. It should also be scalable for the future as well. Your software needs to be many things but at most reliable. A failure to build quality leads to disaster and a lack of trust. If it is not stable, it may stop working when it is most needed. It may not scale to future features. It also may not work on new mobile devices. A lack of trust sends your customers leaving a beta or trial and heading to your competition.
We always say it is better to focus on a few essential features and get them right. Too many features early on can be clumsy and awkward to navigate.
Test everything. Test as you go and when you complete a sprint. A good testing regime ensures anticipated outcomes. For more information on testing, see our simple steps and tools here >
2. Case Studies & Testimonials
Convincing a potential customer to purchase and believe in you is often difficult. They will be early on in your funnel and may need encouragement. To get them to move through, we leverage the bottom of the funnel examples. These examples are case studies and testimonials from customers and partners.
Existing customers know what it’s like to use your company. Leverage their positive feedback to help convince new potential customers. Consumers trust each other more than they trust your brand.
By leveraging great experiences from existing customers, you increase your chances of building trust with prospects and converting them.
The best advocacies can be from the press, officials, Governments and brand ambassadors. But what happens if you can’t afford George Clooney to be your advocate? We need to build strong, lasting relationships with our existing customers.
Developing strong, personalised relationships with your customers earns advocacy and drives sales. According to Deloitte, customers that are referred by other customers have a 37% higher retention rate.
Include ‘share’ options in content to enable your advocates to be heard. Make it easier for users to share their opinions of your brand with their network. Follow them and comment and share their praises further. This interaction will increase the reach and further develop their advocacy.
4. Language used
Across your website, marketing, pitches and presentations, your company needs to be clear and understood. If you have a technical product and use technical language, then you are limiting the understanding. To become reliable, clients need to relate to what you offer.
We can identify what our customers are going to understand by building personas. Personas identify precisely who your customers are, what they need, and importantly, what technical level they know.
Personas are a fictional but relevant target customer. Give them names, personal backgrounds and educational history. What’s their age, location, education and income? What are their goals, needs, and interests when they interact with your company? You can identify if their education and work history allows understanding of your product and language? Do they have buying power? If not, who does in the organisation? Go as deep as you can with this, and put them on your Christmas card list.
5. Ease of Use
Ease of use sounds like just a product UX point, but it’s not. We could focus only on our product and make it simple to use. However, this is the end game and assumes customers have purchased already. Convincing clients of our product’s benefits and ease of use must stem from all touchpoints. Our website must ALSO be easy to navigate. Our literature easy to read. Our contact details easy to find. Our terms of business easy to agree to and also during a presentation or enquiry, we are also easy to speak to and do business.
If we are challenging to find online or speak to, this implies our product is also difficult to use. Any negative experience when interacting with our touchpoints indicates a lack of ease.
The easier it is to find relevant information and navigate the website, then the higher the perceived reliability of the product.
6. Content Marketing
Content marketing revolves around the creation, publication, and distribution of content to a targetted audience. Sharing your brand and expertise with your ideal buyer makes them understand that you’re experts in your field. Becoming experts builds confidence in you and your product.
The more content you create and share with your target audience, the clearer it becomes that you are an expert in your field. People believe experts. People buy from people they trust.
Content marketing is one of the best ways to build awareness and reliability in your business and drive inbound leads.
7. Word of Mouth
Word of mouth is the original social media. According to Nielsen, 83% of consumers trust recommendations from friends and family over all forms of advertising.
We should connect instead of collect. Collecting email addresses and followers are all good but aren’t as powerful as connecting with them. One hundred passionate advocates are more potent than 10,000 followers. Advocates shout loud about how good you are, while followers listen.
Marketers will understand the value of the 4P’s (Product, Place, Promotion & Price). However, to build trust, we need to focus on the 3E’s (Engage, Equip & Empower). Engage with customers and be a part of their conversation, respond to comments and feedback. Equip them with insider knowledge, facts, stories and even funny features. Empower them by giving them items to shout about, competitions, first-hand information that they will want to share.
Obtaining reliability is an essential part of the equation in building trust. We must always remember who we’re speaking too. Will they understand us? Are they our target persona?
Build the software with limited features and get those right first. Don’t rush to complete the roadmap at the expense of user experience.
Use content marketing to gather advocates and give them the tools needed to amplify your message to their network.
These seven simple steps are by no means exhaustive but are an excellent basis to build a marketing strategy.
In the coming weeks, we will conclude this T=R+D focussing on the second side, Delight. This article will feature ways to build lifelong partnerships with your brand leveraging the reliability to build trust. We’ll see you then.