When thinking of your branding, the word trust would not necessarily be the first thing that comes to mind, but really it should be at the top of your list. Unless clients feel they can trust you and feel confident with you as a person, when they are looking to buy your service or product, what makes them choose one person over another? Sometimes it can be they are just the cheapest but in most cases, there will always be something that has made an impact or first impression. Your brand identity is not just what you see on your website or printed media, YOU are your brand, you talk it, you wear it because it’s personal. If people feel comfortable talking to you, they are more likely to develop a working relationship.

Recommendations…
Word of mouth is the biggest accolade for showing trust in you and your brand. Clients who have worked with you past and present and built a relationship have already taken the ‘risk factor’ away. If someone recommends you to their family, friends and colleagues it’s the best vote of confidence there can be. Would you love to have a brand that people love and trust?

Consistency…
By showing consistency in the way you conduct yourself and the way you weave your values throughout your brand identity your clients will build up a sense of trust and commitment and you will attract your ideal clients. So make sure you practice what you preach. The easiest way to get your values across is to have a strong and honest brand identity. Be visible and consistent! Don’t be the Pepsi brand chopping and changing their look every 5 minutes to try and grab the market, go for the consistency of the Coca-Cola brand, who have had the same logo and brand palette for over 100 years! Now there’s consistency and faith in their brand.

Networking…
Networking can be one of the most important ways in connecting with new clients, it shows off your personality and is a way of building trust. It’s a great way to meet people and build business relationships. Even though it is not a new concept, the power of making meaningful connections has become more important than ever in a social media-driven world. It gives you the opportunity to meet like-minded people face-to-face. It’s the old fashioned traditional method before social media existed. The old saying ‘first impressions are lasting’ is very true. Always follow up with connections you have made, this will only help bring your business to the forefront and you become the ‘go to’ person in your niche.

Honesty is key…
This is one of my values in my business, being transparent and honest. I like to treat people as I would like to be treated. In this day and age time and money is precious. You want to give good value and great advice as you see it. If a client comes to me with an idea or question about their work, I will always give them an open, honest opinion as I would not be doing my job otherwise. This doesn’t mean being ruthless, it means expanding on their thoughts and enabling their ideas to become stronger and better.

Tip: List your brand values and your mission. Start weaving them into your brand and marketing plan. Consider, what are your business strengths? What you are good at and believe in, as a business? For example, I would list my brand values as: Consistent, great customer service, a friendly person to deal with, talking clients through the branding process and offering great value.

Time in business
There is no quick fix to this, to prove you are not a ‘here today gone tomorrow’ company, it takes time to establish yourself and your brand image. Anyone of us can be the next start up business, but how many businesses will still be trading in 5 years’ time. This is why it is so important to set solid foundations and ask yourself, what makes you unique from your competitors? What difference will I make? If you believe in yourself then your business WILL be a success and in it for the long run.

Trust is the most critical element in building and maintaining a strong, emotionally driven and lasting brand. However, in a world of fast fixes and promotional marketing tactics, many businesses forget that building trust is the only thing that holds a relationship together with the client and this takes TIME!