evenue and profit may have always led the charge in defining a brand’s success. But in today’s world, the value of a company comes down to the customer’s perception of them. Full stop.
Research has found that millennials are less trusting of institutions than any other generation, meaning that the current landscape of buyers are looking at your brand’s every move and forming a strong opinion of you that will directly influence whether or not they’re willing to pull out their wallet for the goods or services you offer.
Your customers need to feel like you have their back. Dependable brands demonstrate that they’re honest, that they value their customer’s well-being over the almighty dollar and are willing to support the causes that are important to them. In fact, one study found that dependability was significantly linked to customer loyalty and satisfaction. Happy and loyal customers are more likely to be repeat purchasers and advocates for your brand, hence why being seen as a dependable brand should be important to you.
You can’t fool your audience. If you’re outwardly supporting causes but your company practices signify the opposite, your customers will label your activism as performative and lose trust in you. To avoid this, you need to walk the walk. If you claim to care about the environment, what honest efforts does your company take to reduce its carbon footprint? If you’re an advocate for gender equality, what steps has your organization taken to ensure equal pay for your female employees? A great example of this is the brand Hilton, who isn’t just outspoken about their support for LGBTQ rights, they provide coverage for any employees who want gender reassignment surgery, demonstrating their true commitment to improving the lives of that community.
The local communities that your customers live in matter to them. To prove your brand’s dependability, it’s important to showcase your support for them so that they know you aren’t looking to take advantage of them in the name of your own business’s growth. By injecting some of your company’s resources and money into the community, you prove your commitment to enriching the lives of the people who live there.
Think about the most dependable people in your life. You would probably say that you can always count on them to help you out if you’re in trouble, right? Well, that same standard exists within the customer-brand relationship. Not only should you be striving to provide the absolute best product or service for your customers, you also need to be willing to sound the alarm when you see that others are not. Patagonia, for example, is a brand that’s known for taking a strong environmental stance and holding themselves to it, but they’re also not afraid to call out other clothing companies for “green-washing”, i.e. providing misleading information to make themselves look more environmentally-friendly than they really are.