Credibility can make or break a brand. This is critical for businesses starting from scratch and especially challenging for companies trying to recover from their own missteps.
Developer and digital manager Jean-Yves Agnissan put a premium on the believability of people and brands. What should come naturally is not always an easy proposition, which he explained during an Africa Tweet Chat.
“In today’s corporate environment, you depend on brand credibility to reach and influence your target markets,” Agnissan said. “These motivate your customers to purchase and engage with your brand. But establishing online credibility for a brand can be difficult.
“There may be preconceptions about your business,” he said. “To stand out from the crowd and succeed online you need to be credible, trustworthy and knowledgeable. You need to establish your values as a business and differentiate yourself from the competition.”
Agnissan added that the right brand marketing tactics will be the key to credibility success. That starts with content.
“One aspect of a content function should always be credibility,” he said. “This is an unspoken goal that content creators should put into anything they make.
“There are a lot of steps to create a great piece of content,” Agnissan said. “You need a catchy headline, an intriguing storyline and a way to distribute it. As you work through the checklist, authenticity, and credibility are sometimes taken for granted, or get lost in day-to-day content creation.”
Brands that have soiled their credibility face the daunting chore of trying to rebuild from the ground up.
“It is possible to restore your brand image and credibility after an error,” Agnissan said. “The first thing is to accept and acknowledge your mistake. Be transparent and demonstrate candor. Above all, do not try to blame others. If you have hurt people, excuse yourself, but do not stretch the sauce, justifying yourself.
“It is necessary to make a mea culpa,” he said. “After all, everyone can make mistakes. It will limit the damage by making amends. This will help to humanize your business.”
Lessons learned are equally important.
“Try to understand what happened so as not to reproduce the same mistake,” Agnissan said. “This will allow you to collect as much information as possible through surveys of your customers to get positives. You can then grow out of this bad situation.
“You must regain the confidence of customers,” he said. “It will not be easy but not impossible. You will have to use patience and hard work. Think also about positive communication.”
Focused communication will produce the best results.
“Avoid blind positive speech, which may make your customers even more suspicious,” Agnissan said. “Stay clear, and communicate in the most positive way possible.
“Remember that before the situation, you were credible and that your customers loved what you were doing,” he said. “Note what worked in the past. Use the fundamentals of your business marketing to regain the trust of your customers.”
The original credibility builder is content, for which Agnissan advises entrepreneurs to do an audit: Create new quality content and remove any negatives.
He also distinguished between verified versus non-verified accounts and how the difference affects brand credibility.
“This is a method to prove that your social media account is the official account of this company, brand or person,” Agnissan said. “An official account displays a small blue tag to the right of its name.
“Having a certified account, on social, proves the authenticity of the account,” he said. “This presents, clearly, an advantage for your image. It sets you apart from the competition. It reassures internet users because it’s possible that several accounts will try to take advantage of your notoriety.”
This gives a brand some protection, although not an impervious shield.
“A verified account is an effective measure against identity theft,” Agnissan said. “However, this does not work every time to dissuade the usurpers.”
Numbers and statistics also prove the value of a brand’s account to clients or their audience.
“Beyond the obvious sales and lead-generation applications, marketing analytics can offer profound insights into customer preferences and trends,” Agnissan said. “Another factor driving increased competitive advantage from analytics is the use of data to better predict human behavior. This capability can improve models at many levels.
“For example, insurers can better model how social, legal and economic factors affect insurance loss by understanding the underlying behaviors from which they stem,” he said.
Training an eye on customer needs will keep their interests at heart.
“The customer-centric approach completely redefines brand-consumer relationships,” Agnissan said. “It helps identify and understand consumer needs by analyzing relevant data to create a holistic experience.
“The data lets you create a perfect customer experience,” he said. Companies that adopt a customer-centric strategy stand out from the competition, and this is just the beginning.”