Building Trust Through Real Branding
In the social networking era, online brand building has become a sophisticated challenge. More so, when focusing your efforts towards a human perspective, or brand humanization as we call it nowadays.
People look for experiences. Every day. Content proliferation has become the “plat du jour” making it very difficult for brands to keep up with the demands of the online interactions, working hard to get their content noticed, if only by a few.
In the past, producing a billboard or a TV or radio spot was enough to keep a brand's awareness alive for months, or even years, with all the work, money and effort that each required. Today, this is simply not enough. Although traditional media still serves the purpose in its own traditional way, the need to enhance even more the awareness with the support of additional communication tools is what makes branding, and marketing, overwhelming. And fascinating!
Creativity, innovation, out-of-the-box thinking, disruption, are some of the words that describe this new trend of the “here and now”. Either you seize the moment to reach out or you miss the opportunity.
However, in spite of this fast-moving environment that we have created for ourselves, the perpetual content creation, and the insatiable hunger for daily discovery, building trust and influence takes time and commitment.
How? By combining improvisation, planning and getting involved. This is where the “humanization” concept takes shape in this 'real' branding context. We as humans organize our daily routines, plan ahead, improvise when necessary and we get involved in what we do. We act in real time, and being real is the first step for building trust.
Improvisation & Planning
Although improvisation should not be the only road to adopt when designing a communication strategy for a brand, it should definitely be one of the key elements. Brands nowadays have to be more prepared to act and react at any given moment to external influences that are out of anyone's control.
From the online branding perspective, counting on a communication plan is a wise way to go, but we always must leave room for adaptation, be ready to change the course of a strategy or adjust to specific circumstances. Online branding, or online marketing, or social media marketing, or the sum of all three, are minute-to-minute occupations. No matter how much you plan in advance, things change continuously and we all need to be flexible about it.
Every type of communication impacts an audience and therefore it is important to understand it from a listener's perspective. Connecting with a community by acknowledging their needs, keeping the lines of communication open, being open to criticism and equipped with solutions, are some of the elements that every brand needs to adopt for building trust successfully.
Adding to this the ability to track and receive a return of knowledge through data, is another invaluable communication element for gauging the behavior of an audience in order to revisit and improve.
But above all this, and in order to become 'real', brands should be a reflection of their corporate values and the people behind it.
Beliefs, strengths, weaknesses, capabilities, are all valid elements to include in a communication strategy as it is because of these values, that people will grow an inclination towards a specific product or service. If they come looking for this the first time, they will eventually come back for more.
It makes total sense to commit and invest whatever time is necessary to build trust, grow relationships and set the foundations to make your brand's experiences worthwhile.