News From Terre Haute, Indiana


February 8, 2014

BUSINESS CENTS: Transparency builds customer trust

One of the most important aspects for a consumer is trusting the company they do business with. You may have heard recently that CVS is the first drug store to discontinue tobacco products by October 2014.

What does this mean? This means that CVS is being proactive in communicating with their consumers about the product change within their stores. Providing early communication to your consumers is the primary element to transparency.

Historically, so many companies have provided false promises about their products and services, and consumers have grown wary of such companies and promises. Consumers are simply seeking brands they can trust.

Competition is extremely fierce between companies, as the products are essentially the same and offer the same benefits.

The key to being different for a company is to appeal to the emotional benefits of your brand. By acknowledging the emotional benefits, your products and/or services become integrated into people’s lives so they continue to be loyal customers and come back each time. This is a practice people engage in historically: Consumers do business with people they like and trust, which ultimately means an increase in revenue and value of the company.

According to Concerto Marketing Group and a survey they conducted, if a consumer trusts a brand, 83 percent recommend that brand to others and 82 percent will continue to use that brand frequently. I am sure you can already see how that impacts the company’s revenue stream and sales from both current and perspective consumers.

The main question you may be asking yourself is “How do you earn trust from customers?” Remember that you must connect with your customers on an emotional level, so begin with identifying how your brand will help serve a need they are experiencing and have; in other words, how can they relate to your brand and product?

The four key building blocks to developing a story to connect with your consumers’ emotions are trigger point, dilemma, action and goal.

Think about the Budweiser puppy commercial during the Super Bowl. The commercial was ranked as one of the most loved and favorite ones. Why?

The answer is easy: Because it told a story over a period of time and connected with viewers. Think back to the puppy visiting the horses, and the story line until the horses stopped the car and wanted the puppy to be part of the Budweiser horse family.

That simple story connected emotionally with viewers and consumers, both male and female. Now consider the impact that commercial will have on Budweiser sales during 2014.

Remember that developing your marketing campaign should include transparency and tapping into the emotional needs of your consumers. Focus on the four steps used to build an effective story.

And, finally, be proactive with your consumers and not reactive. If there is a fault of the company, simply acknowledge it, own it and move forward on how to fix the issue. Building trust will build loyal consumers.

Heather (Penney) Strohm is the regional director for Indiana State University’s Indiana Small Business Development Center.

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