Establishing brand authority can promote the types of relationships you want your business to have with its customers. It can also help you grow your business, network with innovative industry professionals, and promote your company’s long-term goals. Building a brand and brand authority online doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming, either. If you’re invested in your business’ growth and impact on the community, your company culture and reputation with your customer base and neighbors is enough of a foundation in-and-of itself.
Establishing uniformity across all of your online and other platforms is an important first step. If your company has been in the industry for many years and is struggling to establish itself as a brand authority, it may be time to reimagine your brand. Know how to articulate your company mission, and what you want its culture to look like. Once you can put those in writing, it could be helpful to work with a rebranding expert or marketing agency to revisit your image and make sure it’s memorable across all customer touchpoints.
A marketing strategy and good marketing plan are a good second step, and if you’re not sure where to begin with those, this is again a function that a good marketing company can help with. Establishing a strong online presence and matching it with a positive community presence are other key elements in establishing brand authority. Building trust in your network and customer base should be your goal, so keep that in mind as you take the next steps.
Start with Social Media
Your social media presence is a great place to allow your online presence to take roots and showcase who you are as a brand. The advantage to social media is that it gives the customer and your professional network a more intimate understanding of your company’s culture and personality. It also gives both you and them a more personal means of communication, and can help drive traffic to your website.
More importantly, social media helps boost your reputation in the online community, assuming you treat your customers and community respectfully, and have a quality product or service that you can stand behind. Many people use social media to promote through “word of mouth” or leave reviews quickly and efficiently, reaching thousands of potential clients’ screens in seconds. Interacting with these individuals or being open to communication and critique helps establish deeper trust than your professional webpage alone.
Have a Plan for Your Brand
While reimagining your brand might take the help of a professional, there are a few small steps you can handle before you get to that point. First and foremost, know who you are and what values you want your company to represent. Think about why you started your company, and envision where you’d like it to be in the near and distant future. Establish clear goals and brainstorm ways you can best convey your values to your network and customer base.
Having a plan for your brand means having a base to build your marketing strategy on. While working with a marketing company might be something you feel more comfortable with, in the meantime, sit down and hash out your company’s vision.
Build a Rapport in the Community
Establishing brand authority really means establishing trust with your clients and network. Trust in a new company comes from reliability in products and customer service, so start by building a reputation as a clear communicator who follows through with what they say they will. Word of mouth in combination with online reviews can be a powerful combination for building trust, and those that trust your brand will be vocal about that in the community.
Being a responsible member of your physical community is important for establishing trust, too. Even if you don’t sell a product from your company’s physical address doesn’t mean that people in the community aren’t associating your behavior with your brand. Be environmentally and socially responsible, and your neighbors will take notice.
Promote causes that you care about and that match your company’s culture. If your business website claims that your company values environmental stewardship, organize an event to help clean up the community. If it supports literacy and educational causes, work with your community library to promote similar events. Having a presence in the community not only shows that you care and mirrors your brand, it creates a unique opportunity to build trust with an increasingly conscientious customer base.
Be Willing to Invest in High-Quality Candidates
Building trust in your brand also means providing a consistent, high-quality product that requires high-quality employees. Without your willingness to invest in employees with experience and education, and the willingness to continue learning, becoming a brand authority will be difficult. Your employees should match your drive and passion for the work that they do, and employee engagement can help with that.
Beginning with high-quality hires and empowering them to grow and interact with the company and its culture can work wonders for your brand growth. Good communication is crucial in keeping employees engaged and invested in the success of your company. This might include focus groups for product and brand development, periodic assessments of company climate, organized incentives like contests, and structured social events for your company. Remember that not only is the consumer becoming more conscientious and aware, but the talent pool is too, and that means businesses who want to thrive need to promote employee engagement.
Having the passion, the drive and the staff to establish brand authority gives you a two-fold advantage. Brand authority means being a leader in the industry, so once you have the tools to succeed, start looking for further opportunity in the market. Identifying and troubleshooting gaps in the market can help you innovate and become a thought leader for the industry, and possibly beyond.
This is where high-quality hires, focus groups, and a memorable brand can raise you head and shoulders above the competition. If you’re not the innovative type, offer incentives to the best product or upgrade idea from your management team (or entire payroll). Being the first to fill gaps in product availability in a market that you already know well will establish your company as a brand authority in very little time.
Establishing brand authority means establishing trust with your customer base, prospective clients, community, and employees. While this can be a daunting task, it begins with high-quality products, good communication, and reliability. Often, small businesses employ marketing agencies to help take on the rebranding process, brand development and marketing strategy. If you’re not quite ready to invest in your brand, you can start with small steps to point your company in the right direction.
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