In B2B branding, trust is everything. Building brand trust, however, goes far beyond “getting your company’s name out there.” It involves targeted, multi-disciplined and thoughtful marketing that has the power to resonate with prospects and customers based on what they truly value.
You may have directed many marketing efforts towards developing relationships with prospects and customers, but how do you know if you’re building trust?
In this blog, we’re using data from the 2019 B2B Trusted Brands Report to discuss the important trust indicators, so you can determine if you’re on the path to building a trusted brand.
Step 1. Build Connections with Your Brand
Trust begins in the earliest stages of creating a brand, and people tend to trust brands that connect with them based on values. B2B brands that focus too much on selling their own products and services and not enough on what matters to their prospects and customers tend to fall flat: simply put, prospects and customers don’t trust brands that are always trying to sell them something.
For instance, if your B2B brand caters to many small businesses, use blogs, social media and video content to talk about entrepreneurship. Think about the needs that your prospects and customers have outside of what your company provides. Connect with them on those needs first. Then, once you’ve built rapport, you can steer their pursuits in the right direction by showing how your brand fits in.
Quick Tip #1: How to Build a B2B Brand
Your company’s brand is first and foremost built on the vision and values that founded your business. Use those guidelines to build your brand: develop a real and compelling mission statement, find your target audience, research the competitive landscape, discover what makes your company different and better than the competition, create a visual identity and, finally, find your brand’s voice.
Step 2. Measure Brand Awareness
Brand awareness is the number of prospects and customers who know and recognize not just your brand, but the unique aspects of your brand. Your brand needs to build awareness so that it can build trust: you’ll never have positive, long-standing relationships with customers if they don’t fully recognize the key attributes, products or services that make your brand one-of-a-kind. You need to know how your brand awareness is growing first, to see if you’re laying the foundation for brand trust.
Quick Tip #2: How to Measure Brand Awareness
Brand awareness is measured by:
- The number of external links to your website
- Website visits via direct traffic or branded keyword searches
- Earned media through public relations
- Shares of your blogs and content
- Engagement on social media
Awareness is important, but—as we discovered this year in the 2019 B2B Trusted Brands Report—not the epitome of branding success. Findings revealed that Amazon dropped from the most trusted brand of 2018 to number six, despite having only grown in the indicators of brand awareness. Amazon’s particular case is an example of why B2B brands need to focus on public relations now more than ever.
Step 3. Assess Brand Equity
Brand equity is the worth of your business that comes solely from how prospects and customers view your brand, rather than from the products or services you provide. Brand equity, like brand awareness, is one of the components to building brand trust and is also an indicator of brand health. You can tell how healthy a brand is by how well-recognized and respected it is. A healthy brand is a trusted brand.
Quick Tip #3: How to Assess Brand Equity
Brand equity is measured through:
- Customer knowledge, gleaned through sales data and NPS
- Preference data, collected through surveys and focus groups
- The success of your marketing output
- Competitive metrics, like market share
When you measure brand equity, you’ll notice that brand awareness overlaps with it in many ways. You’re asking similar questions to those you asked in step two, but now you’re digging deeper. Here, you’re assessing the emotional connections and attitudes that prospects and customers have towards your brand. Beyond focus groups and surveys, this is also a good time to employ a Net Promoter Score, which is one of the most recognized methods for assessing brand trust. It asks a simple 1-10 rating question: “How likely is it that you would recommend [brand] to a friend or colleague?”
In the end, the most trusted brands are healthy brands that are verbally and visually distinct and have strong brand awareness and equity. Building brand trust involves investing in your company’s vision and values and making every decision with trust in mind. Ask how every offer, campaign or piece of content contributes to how your brand looks, feels and sounds. Keep learning about what your customers need and you’ll be topping the B2B Trusted Brands List in no time.
Want to learn more about what it takes to become a trusted brand and build lasting, thriving relationships with customers? Download the just-released 2019 B2B Trusted Brands Report.