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B2B Marketing

Branding and Trust Building

Can branding alone build trust? Yes…and no.

A solid branding strategy can help build a name for the general public, and, over time, that branding can be associated with trustworthiness. When one thinks of branding and trustworthiness, several well-known names come to mind – and Disney is one of them. Another is Coca-Cola. But there is room for other branding strategies to lead up to becoming trustworthy. It takes time. Trust with the public is not easily bestowed, is then given tenuously, and can be ripped away in just one public gaffe.

The 1960s brought about the biggest shift in general mistrust of organizations and institutions, yet there are still those who have the majority of public trust. Through branding integrity and consistency, these companies have earned the public’s trust, and the occasional gaffe seems to disappear after a while.

How does branding help?

Branding, when done well, creates an overall picture of the company – its vision and its promises. Consumers like branding that expresses a feel of humanism – campaigns that encourage trust and cooperation. A good example of this type of branding is the Pepsi “Refresh Everything” campaign. By offering a helping hand to those unable to raise large sums of money for their non-profit visions, this campaign has gotten even some of the most cynical people to think that the Pepsi branding might not be a “bad guy” after all.

But throwing money at other organizations isn’t enough – there has to be a true sense of “capitalism with a conscience” behind it. Consumers are not just going to look the other way after a big mistake just because the company promises to throw a lot of money into it. BP demonstrated how quickly consumers can turn on a company, from trusting the branding to outright scandal – and, if the company isn’t quick enough to apologize or willing to compensate for loss to its consumers, then trust may take much longer to be regained.

Branding – Delivery and Positioning

Trust with branding can be gained in two ways – delivery, and positioning.

  • Delivery: The company must decide how to fulfill their commitments to the public, and what actions will be necessary to remain consistent and loyal to the customer; this is the best way to get loyalty and trust in return.
  • Positioning: The company will have to decide how best to position its advantages over competitors, and how they want consumers to perceive them.

In these ways, branding means more than slapping on a logo and a name and submitting it to the public for consumption. Branding is a relationship with consumers, and in this time, with everything scrutinized via social media and real-time updates, building trust can be a difficult task.

Consistency with branding will always be the way to gain consumer trust – no matter how flashy or innovative a product, it will go the way of the dinosaur if the branding lacks a consistent message that includes a broad range of consumers.


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