Customers aren’t just concerned about what they’re buying, they want to know what they’re buying in to. Follow these tips to become the face of your brand.
According to a recent report by leading global PR agency Weber Shandwick titled ‘The Company Behind The Brand: In Reputation We Trust,’ consumers are increasingly influenced by brands. That is, they’re more interested in the people in the parent company behind the brand. They want to know where and how products are made, how the company’s people are treated and under what conditions they work.
Welcome to the age of consumer as investor.
Our customers are not just concerned with what they’re buying, they want to know what they’re buying into.
Apart from having great products, a relevant message, leading edge technology or standout service, you and I need to show our face to increase trust, transparency and authenticity. We need to give our prospects, clients and even our team a greater sense of the person behind the brand they’re investing their time, money, energy and attention in.
They’re already talking about you.
Our clients, colleagues, customers and team members are either having or seeing conversations about our brand online. Even if we aim to monitor those conversations we can’t hide all of them, especially those of us in small business. It’s simply too much effort and time wasted that could be better spent in having a brand worth talking about. And if we do make a mistake or find bad press online, the sooner we respond to the conversation with dignity and authenticity the more chance we have of protecting our brand.
So, how can you show your face?
- Put your picture and your profile on your website. It amazes me how many people don’t do this, and it’s one of the first things I encourage business owners to do in a website audit. Let people get to know who you are and what you care about: personally, professionally and for your community. The profile needn’t be too lengthy and the picture needn’t be Photosopped. Just make sure both represent you in your best light, and both are true to you.
- Put your people on your website too: Don’t just make your brand about you. Showcase clients, team members and valued associates in your newsletter, website, social media, blog or events.
- Join the conversation: Go to Google Alerts and type in your company name and your own name. Find out what people are saying about you so you (or a trusted member of your team) can join in the conversation.
- Take centre stage. Get involved in associations and take leadership roles outside your own business. If time’s too scarce to do so, at least be an active member who adds value to your chosen association. Practice concentrated networking. I know one business owner who attributes this one strategy to the bulk of her (sizeable) income.
- Play a supporting role. If you’re nervous about speaking in public have professionals interview you or do guest appearances with your star performers taking the limelight, but still supporting you. Richard Branson’s done this brilliantly. He’s the special guest star in his own show.
The market demands authenticity. So show your face your way. Build trust with your target market online and face to face.