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How Thought Leadership Builds Brand Credibility and Trust

Lots of business professionals aspire to become thought leaders in their industries, and with good reason. Thought leadership is one of the most effective ways for your business to rise above the competition and be thought of as a credible, trustworthy brand.

What It Takes to Become a Trusted Brand

Brand trust can be defined as a measure of loyalty people have for your business. Brand trust relies on your credibility or how much people believe in you and your ability to make good on your promises to them. Brand authority also plays a part in trust and is wrapped into thought leadership.

These days, trust is a key motivator of consumer behavior. Research shows that nearly 80% of Millennials (four out of five) and about 60% of Baby Boomers only buy from brands they trust. When Americans lose trust in a brand, 40% will never buy that brand again. Only 20% would consider going back to that brand. Over 40% will find an alternative – most likely from a competitor.

This data speaks to the influence of brand trust in the digital economy. Online and in the marketplace, it’s important for your business to be known for:

  • Staying true to your purpose.
  • Being the go-to source for specialized expertise.
  • Offering innovative ideas and solutions.
  • Saying what you mean and meaning what you say.
  • Practicing transparency and openness.
  • Standing by your decisions.
  • Challenging the status quo.
  • Championing creativity and expression.
  • Remaining authentic, passionate, relevant, insightful, confident, convincing, empowering, and curious about the world around you.
  • Not only having trust but earning it.

Interestingly, all these accolades also define what it means to be a thought leader.

How to Use Thought Leadership to Establish Credibility and Authority for Your Brand

“Don’t miss the chance to connect with others about your shared purpose and unique contributions to your industry. You will only become known for something when you can successfully and confidently share your unique point of view and communicate clarity in your purpose. Your audience, and business success, will follow.”

-Fran Biderman-Gross, Forbes Councils Member

Focus on purpose, values, and story.

Make sure you – and your entire organization – find your why: what your business stands for. Back that up by developing the guiding principles you’ll use to run your business authentically. Be able to articulate your unique brand story and be willing to defend its credibility. When you have a clear purpose that you feel confident about sharing with people, you can form deeper emotional connections more quickly – and positively influence behavior.

Lean into consumer skepticism.

Today’s consumers are less likely to take brand messages at their word. They’re more savvy about marketing schemes that seem questionable. You want your marketing messages to put their minds at ease. Social proof can help.

What is social proof? It can be a big influence on people when they’re deciding what to buy. Customer testimonials and user-generated reviews help to establish why your brand is the one to go with based on real-life experience. When social proof messages match your business’s marketing, you can easily build trust and buy-in.

Understand why transparent communication builds trust.

In our digital age, consumers will demand transparency from you about everything from how you use consumer data to explaining news headlines and decisions about where your business is heading. Being truthful and honest in your communication shows the respect you have for your audience, and with that transparency you build trust.

Consider influencer marketing.

Popular with millennials and Gen Z, influencer marketing can introduce your business to new audiences and gain more reach. By accessing an influencer’s followers, your credibility can benefit in a way similar to social proof, while the influencer benefits from the association with your products and services.

Show people how they’ll win with your brand.

It’s all about addressing people’s pain points so they can envision themselves benefitting from the solutions your business offers. Sharing success stories about how you helped a customer solve their problem can be a powerful way to gain authority and trust.

Provide added value every time you can.

When you share personalized information beyond the latest headline, like new research or a case study, you’re providing added value that helps to educate and inform people about your business, your industry, the market at large, and more. Who knows? You may also save the recipient time, help strengthen their sales plan, or start a sales conversation.

Let content marketing be your vehicle for thought leadership.

Publish a consistent stream of thought-provoking, relevant content. Use a confident voice that’s persuasive and credible. Share your industry expertise as well as your accessible solutions for customer pain points. Explore topics that provide knowledge and add value. Very soon, your audience will start to associate your content with your brand and your brand with thought leadership. That’s how being a thought leader can establish credibility and trust with your audience.

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Topics: Marketing, Content Marketing, Digital Marketing