Where does trust come from?

We can’t possibly trust something we haven’t experienced before. So how does that work for your business? How can you convince someone to give your product or service a try?

It comes down to the marketing adoption curve. Some people are comfortable with risk. Enough that they lean into risk so they can be first. The first to try a new restaurant, or a new financial advisor or a new technology product. Anything!

The people who are comfortable with risk are the people who stand in line for 6 hours to get the new iPhone before anyone else. Because they’re comfortable being first.

Well, what about the rest of humanity?

To compel people to take action, especially those with a low tolerance for risk, we have to create tension. And we have to do that in a way that is welcome, authentic, ethical and effective. This leads us to the first rule of building an authentic brand:

1. Create (ethical!) tension

This tension is the reason why Kickstarter works. You know someone has a great idea, and you know they can’t get it to market without your support. It’s why some people like to buy from a local gift shop instead of getting something delivered to their doorstep from Amazon two days after they ordered it – because they know the local gift shop could close without their business. It’s also the reason why some businesses offer early bird discounts.

Your business is seeking to change something for people who interact with your company. You want to help, right? You want to solve a problem. So you’re seeking to change the story that gets told, the way someone does something, or the way someone thinks. These improvements can happen for your customers if something shifts for them… and that shift feels like tension.

It’s the feeling of butterflies you get in your belly when you’re wondering if the thing you’re investing your money in is worth it. If they can trust it. If they can trust YOU.

2. Build trust

The next essential business practice for building a lasting brand is trust. The thing about creating tension for your prospective customers is that when you close the sale, if you don’t come through with a GREAT customer experience, you’re not going to earn their trust. And if your customers don’t trust you, they’re not going to tell anyone about you. You won’t be remarkable, you’ll be forgotten. (Read more about What Makes A Brand Remarkable here.)

There are some people who believe that closing the sale is the last part of the business process. But it’s only the beginning! Trust is the cornerstone of authenticity for brands. It’s more than advertising, it’s the architecture of your service before and after the sale. It’s the way your people engage with customers, your pricing, product details, etc. It’s the content you share with them! How can you add value for them on an ongoing basis so when the time comes that they are ready to buy again, they immediately think of you?

This is all part of the marketing mix. It’s rooted in being a good person, staying true to your word, and doing what you say you’re going to do.

3. Follow through

Tension is wanting two things at the same time. To stay and to run.

When that kind of feeling is instilled in someone before they choose to take a journey with you and your business, it’s your responsibility to make sure that you’re rewarding them for trusting you. That can mean different things for different businesses. It can mean that you deliver your product on time and in perfect condition like you said you would. It can be apologizing if that doesn’t happen and doing something to make up for it.

It can mean telling people time and time again that you’re grateful to them for supporting your business. It can mean offering exclusive offers to those customers as a thanks to them for trusting you.

But no matter what, you have to follow through with what you say you’re going to do. So think hard about your offer. About the tension you’re creating. And make sure that you’re staying true to your word.

Because when it comes to being an authentic brand, that trust is all people have.