The internet and social media have provided businesses of all sizes with direct channels of communication to consumers across the world, revolutionizing how companies market their goods and services, develop their brands and maintain profitable customer relationships. And although these technologies have been a net positive for most organizations, they’ve also had a notable impact on how consumers shop—global e-commerce sales are expected to reach $4.8 trillion by 2021, according to estimates from Shopify. The rising popularity of digital-centric retail has put small-and-medium-sized businesses into competition with some of the largest and most recognized international enterprises, which raises a poignant question: How can you create an authentic and trustworthy brand that will stand out in an oversaturated marketplace?
The importance of brand authenticity
Authenticity is an essential component for any brand, as it allows consumers to form personal connections with your company’s image, products/services and core values. Creating an authentic brand is also key for building trust with new and existing customers and differentiating your business from the competition. According to a 2017 survey from Cohn & Wolfe, around 78% of consumers do not believe that modern brands are open and honest. This lack of trust can have serious repercussions for a business’s bottom line, as nearly 90% of global consumers are willing to reward a brand for its authenticity by recommending goods and services to others (52%), remaining loyal (49%) and investing in the company long-term (20%). But what makes a brand ‘authentic’?
Key components of an authentic brand
Research from Cohn & Wolfe looked into how global consumers define brand authenticity and what specific characteristics they look for when evaluating a company’s trustworthiness. First, it’s important to point out that authenticity is wholly tied to consumer perceptions, meaning there can be a high degree of variability between customer demographics. For example, the average consumer might have a positive opinion of Amazon because of its fast and reliable services, while socially-conscious shoppers may be put off by the company’s contentious labor practices, as outlined in a July article from Forbes. Generally speaking, consumers assess a brand’s authenticity by considering three key elements:
- Reliability: Companies that offer consistent, high-quality goods and services often have an easier time managing their brand and retaining customers. Businesses should always strive to deliver on their promises and provide consumers with a variety of options for resolving their product- or service-related issues.
- Respectfulness: Proactively managing consumer relationships is crucial for securing long-term profitability and growth, which is why businesses should always treat their customers’ complaints with respect and urgency. It’s also important to protect and secure their personal data and privacy, as this demonstrates a commitment to consumers’ general wellbeing.
- Realism: Almost all companies have a customer engagement strategy in place, but these initiatives can be counterproductive if consumers believe they are dishonest or artificial. The only way to build a truly authentic brand is to understand your customer base on a personal level. This allows businesses to communicate honestly with the widest range of consumers and act with integrity when issues arise.
On the most fundamental level, building an authentic brand starts with a customer-focused approach that acknowledges and celebrates their contributions to your organization’s success.
How enhanced call solutions can help you create an authentic brand
Brand development is a continuous process, and even the largest companies must keep pace with consumer preferences to remain relevant and profitable. And while many marketing specialists tend to focus their efforts on copywriting and public relations, there are a range of consumer engagement technologies that can help secure positive results.
Dial800 offers advanced call solutions that help businesses of all sizes connect with their customers and maximize their online and offline marketing campaigns. From intelligent call routing and attribution to data integration and security, we provide business owners with the actionable insights they need to build authentic brands and exceed their customers’ expectations. Here are just a few of the enhanced features that can fuel your brand development efforts:
- Memorable 800 numbers: Whether you’re looking for a standard or vanity 800 number, Dial800 has you covered. We operate the industry’s largest bank of memorable toll-free 800 numbers, which allows us to locate and secure unique options that can increase your inbound call volume and stand out from the competition.
- Call performance tracking: Our advanced call tracking features can provide you with detailed demographics on each of your calls, from age and gender to income and marital status. By leveraging these analytics, your business can better adapt its practices and brand guidelines to suit the preferences of your customer base.
- Keyword attribution: Looking to optimize your digital marketing strategy? Dial800’s keyword attribution feature can help you determine which online lead sources and search terms deliver the highest volume of calls.