As opposed to large corporations, small companies don’t have multimillion-dollar marketing budgets that they can use to communicate their message to consumers through a variety of different marketing channels. Instead, they have to engage potential customers on a personal level, and to do that, brands have to cultivate a public perception of authenticity. Here are a few different ways you can let consumers know that your business has made credibility a priority.
Make transparency a core value
If you were asked to make a list of qualities that the Apple Corporation possesses, how far down the list would you have to go before using “transparent” as a descriptor? There’s a good chance you could go through dozens of adjectives without mentioning the manner in which the tech giant does business. As a small business, you should take the opposite approach. Maintain a blog on your company’s site that will offer customers a behind the scenes look at your company. Include lots of pictures and videos to let the public get to know you and your staff, and how they all contribute to the success of your business. As this Entrepreneur piece explains, doing so will go a long way to earning the trust of millennials.
Admit your mistakes
Despite all your efforts to the contrary, you will make mistakes that will negatively affect the public perception of your company. It could be that you hire someone whose poor job performance will cast your business in a bad light. You could place an order with a vendor that provides you with substandard merchandise. You might buy a large quantity of a product that your customers couldn’t be more disinterested in. It’s inevitable, but by taking proactive steps, you can weather the storm without damaging consumer confidence. When your company falls short of your established quality standards, you, not a spokesperson, need to explain the circumstances that led to the problem, unreservedly apologize and pledge to be better going forward. In an era when consumer confidence in corporate integrity is at an all-time low, stepping up and taking responsibility will resonate with the public.
A higher purpose
Traditionally, value and quality have been the two motivators that influence consumer purchasing behavior. However, in recent years, a third factor has had a big effect on how customers decide which companies that they wish to do business with. A 2012 Goodpurpose study found that consumers are 53 percent more likely to make a purchase with a company that has a “social purpose” than one that does not. In order for your company to remain competitive, your company should highlight its commitment to a social issue. This could be in the form of donating a portion of your sales to a charity or making a commitment to environmental conservation by utilizing only green products in your office. The cause itself is less important than showing potential customers that your business is dedicated to something other than generating profit.
This article was written by Mario McKellop of Examiner.com for CBS Small Business Pulse.