Brand authority is a term you have likely seen before...but how exactly does one go about building a brand that can be trusted?
Whether you have just started your own business, joined a new team, or are simply wondering what how to strengthen your brand’s image, it is worth familiarizing yourself with the fundamental strategies for building a powerful brand. At the end of the day, brand authority plays a major role in how companies market themselves and how consumers decide to spend their money.
With so many marketing options available to consumers in the digital age, making yourself stand out from the crowd can seem a little daunting. Maintaining strong brand authority is one way to show existing and new customers alike that your business is a worthy investment of their time and money. In this guide, we will dissect the concept carefully and give you some tips on how to build a robust brand.
What is Brand Authority?
Brand authority cannot be nailed down with one resolute definition or with measurable data. Rather, to put it simply, brand authority is the perceived measure of a brand’s expertise and knowledge within its industry. To put it even more simply, brand authority is the reputation your company has. All brands have a reputation, regardless of how many people may be aware of them, but it is those companies that have demonstrated a particular level of expertise on a given subject that command the most enviable band authority.
Examples of Brand Authority
While the exact concept or terminology by which to describe brand authority may be difficult to pin down, clear examples of brand authority are all around us. Companies like Apple, Target, PetCo, Gucci, Forbes and so many more have over many years solidified their images, both in their given industries and in the eyes of the public. This is because they have had so much time to establish themselves, and have demonstrated legitimate expertise within their given fields. Because of this effort on the part of the companies, these brands or names are often quick to appear in the mind of someone looking for electronics, clothing, pet goods, fashion, business advice, and more.
Let’s examine Gucci, in this case. Gucci was established nearly 100 years ago in Florence, where its creator, Guccio Gucci began selling equestrian-inspired fashion. Over the years, the brand expanded, with more and more interest being shown in the designs. Eventually, more stores opened in Paris, Milan, New York, Tokyo, Hong Kong, and beyond. Gucci’s expansion can be owed primarily to the high quality of products, the effort put into product exposure, and the effort on the part of Gucci to continue to appeal to a specific audience. The Gucci name became synonymous with ready-to-wear and constantly-updating on-trend-fashion and now boasts a reputation as arguably one of the most recognizable and trusted names in beauty and fashion today. These decades of careful, meticulous expansion, growing popularity and exposure built for Gucci a remarkable level of brand authority that continues to help Gucci stay at the top of the fashion industry.
Understandably, examining industry behemoths and comparing oneself to them may seem a bit intimidating. Fortunately, we promise it doesn’t take 100 years of crafting leather goods to put your company on the map.
What Brand Authority Does for You
As previously mentioned, the worlds of retail, e-commerce, and business have exploded over the past couple of decades, creating endless options for consumers to wade through. Because of the oversaturated market, brand authority has become an essential tool for helping your brand stand out, and for ensuring your brand holds a resolute reputation within your industry.
In essence, brand authority comes down to trust. Regardless of how big or small a company is, trust will always play an integral role in how customers choose to spend their money. People tend to stay loyal to names they recognize and are wary of going off the beaten path when it comes to where they will be spending their hard-earned money. That is why you must gain customers’ trust in the first place in order to keep it.
But beyond acquiring new customers is the challenge of maintaining customers. If a customer gives your brand a chance but feels that the money was not well spent, it is unlikely that customer will return.
Building a Better Brand
It may seem like an oversimplification to say that brand authority is the key to creating trusting relationships within your given industry, but it really is the truth. A company that displays a high level of expertise on a given subject, is highly trusted by consumers, and remains consistent with the quality of their product or content will be more successful than companies lacking in these areas. A well-rounded company that displays its expertise in a subject area across multiple channels will always receive the highest accolades. So how can you create an enduring brand if you haven’t had 100 years to do so? Here are some tips for getting started:
Know Your Industry
Regardless of what industry you belong to, understanding your competition and the nature of your industry is absolutely necessary to building brand authority. Plenty of people cite the same information and statistics time and again without further delving into the topic relevant to their business in particular. Therefore, a great way to show that your company is trustworthy is to provide new and updated information. Conduct your own customer surveys, conduct market research, see where other companies may fall short, or where you would like to emulate them. Show that your company is different, show that your company truly understands its industry, and prove that your company is willing to put in the work to discover new and better ways of functioning.
Define Your Niche
You should endeavor to "walk the walk" and talk the talk of your industry. In other words, any output from your company should at the very least relate to your field, the interests of your consumers, or the nature of your work. If you sell electronics, focus on electronics and content related to electronics - your customers want to see your expertise in action, not only in the products or services you provide.
Creating content again falls into the realm of demonstrating to your audience that you have expert knowledge on topics relating to the niche in which you want to thrive. Content doesn’t just relate to blogs, which can be incredibly diverse, but to other media as well, such as case studies, informational videos, updates, and more.
If you are worried about coming up with content, don’t worry: your company alone likely has tons of experts who would be happy to share their ideas. There are also awesome content creation companies that can help you generate interesting and informative pieces to intrigue your audience. By showing content that is credible and reliable, you are not only proving your expertise but making yourself a valuable resource within your industry.
But content creation doesn’t just entertain or inform customers. Expertly curated and meticulously created content can also help improve your search engine rankings and general SEO. A site that appears higher on search engine result pages will often be regarded as more trustworthy than sites that appear lower on these pages. This is due to algorithms used by search engines to determine what sites and companies should appear first for specific searches. Search engines also want to be considered trustworthy by their users, and therefore endeavor to show only the most authoritative and trustworthy brands at the top of their result pages. By showing search engine crawlers that your site contains pertinent and reliable content, your chances of increasing SEO improve.
Find and Build Your Community
It isn’t enough simply to produce a product, create content on that product, then expect the trust and interest to come to you. Establishing a community is just as important as the rest of your marketing strategy. For example, you might consider hosting events or inviting customers to come and explore your facility.
That said, building your community doesn’t have to mean creating a physical space for customer interaction. Building your community can be as simple as reaching out to new customers via email, or creating interactive elements of your site like surveys or space for customers to submit their thoughts. The most important thing is that you listen to what your customers say. Don’t worry if you don’t immediately have the time, funds, or interest to set up a 10,000-person gala.
You might also consider using social media, as it is a cost-effective way to connect with customers more personally. Most people use some form of social media, making it the perfect place to expand your reach and find new customers. Moreover, because it is so easy for loyal customers to share your product and content with a simple click or share, social media is the perfect platform for word-of-mouth marketing.
Contribute to Your Community
Once you have established your community, created compelling content, and learned everything there is to know about your niche, consider contributing to causes that affect your community. For example, if you run a fashion blog, you might donate to clothing drives, or promote ways for your customers to give back to those in need of clothing for the winter. This falls again into the walking-the-walk and talking-the-talk category of brand authority building.
Many of your customers will appreciate seeing you actively making a difference. After all, customers want to see your effort and expertise, and they want to see that the money they are investing in your company or product is being used in ways with which they feel comfortable.
Stay Consistent as You Grow
In the early stages of your company, maintaining consistent messaging, content creation, and community presence may have been easy, as you likely didn't have a large team to contend with. However, as your team and company grow, it remains equally important to ensure your brand authority stays consistent.
Regardless of what stage your company is in, it is never too late to start building your brand authority. Trust is earned, and finding the voice for your company will take time. But once you have proven why your company is robust, trustworthy, and inimitable, the rewards will speak for themselves.
If you are interested in learning more about how to grow your business, visit our blog! We also happen to be experts in creating amazing content for companies in various industries and would love to help you get started creating content for your site! Contact the Content Cucumber team today to learn more.