Transparency Branding: When Your Company Mirrors The Customer
Customers have changed over the past few years, and your branding and marketing message needs to change with them. Today’s weakened and uncertain economy has caused customers to educate themselves before making decisions. Universal marketing messages from the past no longer suffice. Customers don’t trust what you say, they trust what they see. The power of the Web and global communications now provides unlimited information sharing, which has increased the level of expectations the public has for businesses and how a business communicates with the customer.
Often when you hear about transparency branding, you hear how leaders need to be more transparent with their ideas and decision-making, but I believe that it goes even further, with true transparency branding the customer doesn’t see the company they see themselves. When customers need of a service or product they’re look for what they feel best represents who they are. First, customers want to know that their need will be filled or problem will be solved. Second, customers have to feel a connection that translates into trust that produces a committment.
A brand must use consumer participation to shape the fundamentals of what it offers people. It’s the game of relevance, and brand and consumer must be on the same side. – Tracey Follows, VCCP
What is important in ‘transparency’ branding
Before any customer will trust your brand you have to trust it first. How must passion or belief you have in what you’re doing will translate to the customer as your someone who will get the job done. By nature people trust what they’re familiar with. The more your brand resembles th customer, the better chance you have they will trust that your product/service is a perfect fit.
How can you use transparency to build trust
- Share what your goals are for the customer. This shows the customers that the two of you think alike.
- Discuss how will reach these goals. Be open with the customer about your skills and work ethic. Customers who feel your work ethic resembles their own are more likely to have long-term relationships.
- Share who you are working with or have worked with in the past. If your current or past customers are familiar to your potential customers they will feel more comfortable to commit.
- Package your services/product to fit into your customer’s lifestyle. Get to know what your target customer is currently using. How well a service/product works keeps a customer coming back. How well it fits into their lifestyle creates the initial committment.
- Put it in writing. Have a good product/service agreement or contract that the customers understands and agrees with. Spells out what you will do and what happens if you don’t. The customer feels comfortable when they see you are prepared to back up your words with action.
Mirror image –
If customers does not see themself in the brand, then it’s unfamiliar and an emotional connection is never made. To emotionally connect with customers a brand must be able to disclose what it is about the company that mirrors the customer. Once the customer sees themselves they are emotionally connected, and usually followed by the decision to commit.
How can the customer see themselves in your brand
- Use adjectives. The same words that would be used to describe your ideal customer should be used to describe your brand. i.e. if your customer is fast paced and extravagant, you wouldn’t market your product/service as
- Mingle with your customers. People are comfortable associating themselves with brands that are already in their circle. Let your customers see you out attending the same community and business functions that they do.
- Know the trends of your customers. Just because your brand appeals to the customer today doesn’t mean it will tomorrow. Be aware of what trends your ideal customer is moving toward. Customers need to know you’re innovating and growing as fast as they are.
Transparency branding is only the first step. In addition, your product/service must solve a problem and add value to the customer’s life or business. However, if the customer doesn’t emotionally connect with your brand you will never even have the opportunity to prove that what you have to offer is the perfect fit.