Reliable brands engender trust, and trust increases marketing receptiveness and loyalty. That loyalty will boost customer advocacy, brand reputation, and in turn, your profits. So by focusing on being reliable, you are really focusing on increasing demand and revenue. Consumers are creatures of habit and live in their comfort zone.
This is part 3 in the BERA Attributes series; read part 1 on How to create a brand that resonates with today’s consumers and feels authentic and real here.
When brands are reliable, there is an assurance of what to expect, and trust increases when brands deliver on their promises or when they work in an anticipated way. Consumers have alternatives, and loyalty is often overstated, so a brand needs to establish itself in a meaningful way. When a brand positions itself as reliable, people notice and rely on that brand; often over other, less reliable options making reliability an excellent risk mitigator.
We see this in the brands we know and love. Toyota, Honda, GMC, and Chevrolet rank among the top longest-lasting and most-reliable car brands. Toyota vehicles are known for their dependability and reliability, are comparatively less expensive to maintain, and boast a fantastic retention rate. Toyota also offers their customers value-added customer service and packages to support their vehicle’s after-purchase care and deliver above expectations.
In return, many car customers return to reliable and trustworthy dealerships to purchase their following vehicles from the same brand, year over year.
So how does a brand establish itself as being reliable? Reliability means being steadfast and unwavering in a belief or behavior, almost to the point of being comfortingly predictable. A brand is considered reliable if it fulfills everything it claims in its advertising without questioning and sets out to exceed expectations. Reliability is perceived when a brand takes responsibility for its actions and shows up in meaningful ways for the people they care about consistently.
Consumers know what they see is what they get every time. There are no tricks, just a trustworthy brand that shows up when you need them– and stands by whatever claims they make. Reliability can be expressed in how customers receive care and support.
How to create a reliable brand that consumers
Reliable brands demonstrate commitment and willingness to go above and beyond for their customers. It’s trustworthy and there for you when you need it. Reliable brands walk the walk, fulfill their claims, and spend time making themselves dependable. If there is a problem, they address it quickly and always provide a great experience during the process. In addition, reliable brands offer quality service and customer support (this is present in their public ratings and reviews).
These brands also typically deliver good quality for a fair price. They treat employees well, aren’t afraid to involve themselves in causes that matter, and make a difference to their customers. Again, you’ll see this appear in public through good ratings and reviews. You may also generally find happy customers online who advocate for the brand.
Customers want reliable brands they can trust and will go out of their way to vet those brands before deciding to purchase. This means that creating confidence in consumers to see your brand as dependable, reliable, and trusted will be vital to building a positive brand image and getting customers through your doors and onto your websites.
These points are something to consider as a whopping 90 percent of customers will review a brand before visiting it or making a purchase. Another 74 percent say that positive reviews will influence them to trust brands more. So if your brand is gaining positive traction online, you stand to gain the lion’s share of brand awareness.
Below is everything you need to know about how to increase transparency as a trusted brand and improve customer loyalty today.
What is brand reliability?
Brand reliability is about meaning what you say and saying what you mean as an organization. It’s about being steadfast and unwavering in your beliefs and organizational moves, almost to the point of being comfortingly predictable in a world full of change. A trustworthy brand is considered reliable if it embodies everything it exhibits in advertising and marketing campaigns and sticks to its laurels, even in the face of controversy or unpopular opinion.
Customers know what they’re getting with your organization because there are no tricks, just a trustworthy brand that shows up when they need you. This means dialing in your website to ensure a smooth experience for customers and prospects alike. Do customers know when they call, someone will pick them up? If they do email, will they get a response? These may seem basic or simplistic, but they shape your brand’s personality and how reliable you are perceived.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t ever pivot or adapt to the changes in the market; it just means that when you make those changes, you’re serious about them. You build brand credibility when you go out and embrace the changes you bring up in your marketing and branding efforts. For example, if you run a campaign about empowering ethnic minorities in America, do you ensure your services/products align with those marketing efforts?
Brands can get consumers’ attention by being transparent about their business model, pricing, messaging, and more. Let’s take a look at some examples.
Examples of reliable brands
You may recall the infamous Kendall Jenner Pepsi ad that infuriated consumers on both sides of the political aisle. Unfortunately, the ad not only missed the cultural/social mark it was going for, but neither Kendall Jenner nor Pepsi has any tangible connection to the social issues highlighted in the video. Pepsi, being the Goliath of an enterprise, was able to bounce back in time, but we will likely remember their marketing gaff for years to come.
This is an excellent example of how to lose brand credibility and what not to do when attempting to cultivate customer loyalty. If you choose to be perceived in a certain way, and it’s inauthentic, the internet has a great way of finding out and announcing it to the world. And when it comes to being reliable, you can rarely win back trust once lost.
The following brands, however, got it right with their branding efforts. Here are three examples of how to improve your brand reliability.
Toyota–true and tested methods:
CarMax ranked Toyota as #13’s most trusted brand in 2022. The words “solid, reliable, and practical” are some of the first things that come to mind when considering Toyota as a brand. Toyota has a no-nonsense manufacturing process that revolutionized the way cars are made. They have a thorough quality management process that has allowed them to create quality makes and models in every category. Decades of consistency and reliability have added to what Toyota is today.
Demonstrate your credibility in your ads–Apple Watch:
Apple floored the country with their compelling and emotionally intelligent 911 Apple Watch 7 Series ad. The ad features three incredible stories of how an Apple Watch was used to call 911 in precarious situations. The ad follows a man being swept across the ocean on a paddle board, a woman trapped in her slowly drowning car, and a farmer stuck in a ditch with a broken leg. You can hear the recording of each call and the urgency in the emergency respondents’ voices as they walk these people through each life-and-death situation. Apple’s secret sauce, which they reveal at the end of the video, is that each situation is real, and the audio recordings are from real-life calls. There’s probably no better way to demonstrate the efficacy and reliability of your product than to feature how it saved real lives in an ad.
Be big and bold–Google:
The term “Googling” was so ubiquitously used that both Merriam-Webster and the Oxford Dictionary added it to their 2006 editions. It grew from the default web browser to the world’s most used email service, one of the most popular digital wallets, and a long list of other tech features and services. Google went big with its growth, and it’s one of the most known, trusted, and reliable companies in the world for it.
As Marketers, we tend to get excited about new and shiny opportunities, but there is something to be said for being a dependable brand.
Why is brand reliability important?
People are creatures of habit and have long memories when they feel a sense of trust has been breached. When brands deliver quality services and products over a long period, consumers begin to expect a certain level of quality from that brand. Of course, no company is perfect, but even if mistakes are made, customers will view missteps from trusted brands as anomalies instead of representatives of their entire organization.
But one of the defining reasons brand reliability is essential is the steep competition across most industries. Product quality is the number one reason that 74 percent of customers resisted switching brands; according to this KPMG study, quality has to be consistent and reliable over time. The boost in customer loyalty from brand reliability will increase your customer advocacy, reputation, retention, and renewal rates, and, in turn, your profits.
Consumers don’t want to research new opportunities all the time. They want to know they have the best option; when they trust a brand, they have no desire to look elsewhere. So even if there are new or better products and services, they simply don’t look. It’s like being in a happy relationship; you become oblivious to other people. However, once the perception of trust is broken, as with Netflix, we see the fallout.
A great way to counter this and be more reliable is to be vocal in how you address negative feedback and complaints. If you treat your unhappy consumers well, others may see this and form a more favorable opinion of you. They know that if something goes wrong, you’ll be there to help support them. Seek opportunities to prevent negative experiences, but do not shy away from tackling the negative.
Similarly, brands that prioritize new customers may lose the trust of existing customers. Instead, take the time to make existing customers feel special and prioritized; avoid those “new customer only” deals; and find ways to demonstrate your unwavering loyalty and support. For example, collaborate with your customer service team to offer discounts, perks, and exclusive access to new products. These programs are a great way to build trust because they show that profit is secondary to customer satisfaction.
Steps to building brand reliability and credibility
As mentioned, but always worth repeating, brands that commit to reliability and quality service/products are willing to go above and beyond for their customers. These brands are dedicated to offering the services, products, and experiences they say they’ll deliver and stand to win the favor of their customers over the long run. But in what tangible ways can you become credible and exemplify your reliability to customers?
Follow these best practices to help you demonstrate the reliability, trustworthiness, and credibility of your brand:
Address problems quickly.
If there’s an issue, resolve it swiftly and amicably. Always prioritize a seamless customer experience throughout the case, and make it known that making things right for your customer is your number one priority.
Reliability and dependability are all about consistency. You never know when or what will break a customer’s loyalty. Some customers are okay with some issues, while others are more sensitive and run to the competition with less resistance. However, consistency over time will ensure the highest customer retention and loyalty rates.
Treat everyone consistently.
It’s not just about the customer. Some companies, like Chipotle, are known for their employees’ perks. However, customers and employees will appreciate your company’s investment in the people who matter and place trust in you because of it.
Evaluate yourself often.
Getting complacent is a sure way to lose the credibility you’ve earned. Toyota and Google do so well because they’re constantly innovating and evaluating their standards. A proactive self-assessment will ensure your standards are up to par and you get the most out of your products/services.
Admit when you are wrong.
Not everything in brand land is rainbows and unicorns. Own your mistakes and show consumers ways you are taking care of problems in meaningful ways to show you are committed to their consumers. You engender trust and loyalty when you offer this vulnerable side of your brand.
Remember, becoming reliable is a long-term commitment. One customer success story does not make a trustworthy brand. How you consistently show up for your customers will shape their perceptions over time. To build a reliable brand, consistency is critical. That means consistent messaging and – most importantly – consistent results. One buyer at a time, aim to deliver on your promises and exceed expectations. Your efforts won’t go unnoticed, and soon you’ll have built a brand that people know they can trust.
Can you measure brand reliability?
We’ve talked about how consumers feel a lot in this article, but the question is can you measure brand reliability and how people think about a brand? The answer is yes, and you can do it incredibly accurately and articulately.
With BERA, CMOs and brand teams can measure reliability, innovation, originality, and other emotional elements and determine what attributes reflect your brand values. Once you see how consumers feel about your brand in near-real-time, it’s incredibly intuitive to decide your next best step; it’s called Predictive Brand Technology for a reason.
Reliability is just one of the 42 emotional attributes of a brand’s positioning that BERA tracks and factors into a brand’s BERA Score. Save this 1-pager to activate your reliable brand, or click here to request a free brand assessment.