9 Ways to Successfully Achieve Brand Authority

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9 Ways to Successfully Achieve Brand Authority

At this point in the Web 2.0 era, B2B companies are struggling to get to the top of SEO rankings and stay at the top of potential customers’ minds. When a customer needs a specific problem solved, providers want to be the first name they think of Googling.

But unless their first product is a viral hit, an industry-leading business gets to the top with years of careful brand-building. Sales or profits aside, a business looking to become an industry leader needs to look and sound like an industry leader.

Even if their product is great, a business that fails to build authority in the digital space will get lost in the shuffle. Their product launches will be under-reported and under-discussed, and their SEO efforts will land far below other websites talking about similar ideas.

Only with a strategy to build the brand across all channels can marketers create brand authority. Let’s go over nine methods to get started with today.

Image sourced from pepper.io

Establish credibility and expertise

Your customers are saturated with information and marketing messages, so how can you stand out in the crowd? One of the best ways is by establishing your genuine expertise.

You don’t have to try to come across as an industry expert if you’re not. But if you’ve been in business for a while, you’ll have experience solving customer problems and handling objections from sales prospects. 

One way you can achieve this is through blogging – a crucial pillar of any effective content marketing strategy. With blogging, you can turn one-off anecdotes into helpful, insightful, and unique posts, by featuring information that competitors don’t have access to and demonstrating your expertise.

Blogs will also give you extra reach. By posting to related sites your potential customers are reading, you can reach out to new audiences and establish your brand as an expert in the field that others are happy to give their platform to.

Aside from blogging, your corporate website can also help you build credibility and expertise.

Take the Sage example below. By including plenty of help, advice, and information about its ERP small business software, this brand showcases its expertise and credibility, as well as its willingness to support business owners to achieve great results and grow their profits.

Screenshot taken from Sage.com

Provide consistent brand messaging

With so many brands competing for customers’ attention across so many channels, it’s important to make sure your brand and message are totally consistent. 

When your messaging is split across several marketing channels, it can get out of sync. By keeping all messaging across all channels – from socials to email – in one editorial calendar, you can keep it consistent while adjusting it to each platform’s needs.

This will mean that, regardless of when or where a customer encounters your brand – whether it be on social media, on your website, or at your physical location – they will recognize your brand as a coherent and consistent set of visual and written elements, making you memorable.

Think about Google, for example. With its highly-recognizable logo, fonts, color palette, and playful visuals, this is a brand that never fails to stand out regardless of which channel you may encounter it on, because its brand messaging remains focused and consistent.

Screenshot taken from analytics.google.com

Nurture high-quality content creation and curation

When someone finds a brand online, a lot of times they’re not looking for a product: they’re looking for a specific problem that they want to solve, and the company just so happens to be at the top of their search results with a solution.

High-quality content creation is a great way to establish brand authority. A company might be selling accounting software, but they won’t just write blogs talking about the features of these solutions.

They’ll write informative guides on topics such as how busy accounting managers can streamline their processes, save hours on admin, or find better ways to manage employee performance. And having worked with accounting teams on those problems, they’ll have valuable experience to share.

Those “pillars” are the topics that the company knows best, so the ones they can speak to with authority. By creating that pillar content for the blog and social media, they can use their knowledge to help potential customers with their issues and stay in the back of their minds.

If that accounting professional decides they need software, they’ll remember the brand that knows what they’re talking about.

Image sourced from g2.com

Content curation may also help with building brand authority. It showcases your knowledge and expertise on a specific topic, and your willingness to offer your audience the best and most informative content from industry leaders, partners, and other relevant and reputable sources.

Build trust and transparency

Building a foundation of trust is essential to brand authority. If you’re a new player with no reputation, why should anyone trust you without trying the product first?

Trust can only be built up over time. It requires consistency in your actions, and the awareness that one wrong move can break it forever.

You can put that into practice by thinking about trust and transparency in every customer interaction. You don’t want to sell your product to someone who won’t like it, so you need to know who your ideal customer is and reflect that in their first impression of you. (E.g. the landing page of your site, your ad, and your social media page.)

In a B2B sales call, it’s not just the customer who is trying to find out if the product is for them. The sales team is also trying to find out if the product is really the solution they need. If it’s not a perfect fit, the team will be honest about that. This reinforces the idea that the company has a team of experts who know the domain and can give advice.

Trust and transparency are especially important in the customer service and support area.

The service recovery paradox is a phenomenon where customers think more highly of a company after they’ve “recovered” from an issue. If they call to complain and the service is transparent and helpful, they’ll come away thinking the brand is more trustworthy than before the issue arose.

Leverage social proof

One of the main benefits of the Internet for customers is user-generated content and social proof: seeing unbiased ratings, reviews, and comments from customers just like them. That’s why brands trying to build authority need to leverage social proof whenever they can. 

For a B2C brand, that might mean sharing positive product reviews on their social media accounts. For a B2B brand trying to build authority, it’s about demonstrating results. Case studies and client testimonials can go a long way here.

Sage, for example, leverages the power of client testimonials to foster trust in its customer base as well as highlight the benefits of its products, such as its HR software. By letting happy customers voice their satisfaction and illustrate how Sage products have revolutionized their work, the company is able to attract more prospects without using cold sales tactics.

Screenshot from sage.com

Foster partnerships and collaborations

It’s one thing to be trusted by your customers, but don’t forget about winning the trust of others in your industry, too. By showing up at industry events and networking with businesses that aren’t direct competitors, you can find potential business partners who can help you reach out to different market segments.

You might provide a service that those businesses need, or in software there might be room for an integration that benefits both your customer bases. Working together is one way businesses can cross-promote without explicit collaborative marketing.

Image sourced from Unsplash

Demonstrate thought leadership and industry recognition

At the end of the day, people are following your brand online (whether on social media or through a newsletter) because they think your content might be valuable.

Providing that value can take many forms. Maybe, you’re sending out regular product updates, or publishing guides on how customers can get the most out of your product. These are the kinds of things customers care about. 

You might also choose to adopt a content curation strategy for specific demographics or from other industry sources and add your own valuable commentary on top.

But to build brand authority, thought leadership is the way to go. This can be targeted at customers, but is usually B2B content targeted at other companies in the industry.

This could be a company blog looking at new research in the field and providing analysis on it. At a certain scale, companies might commission their own research and publish the results as downloadable reports. Those reports can then be parceled out as social media posts for weeks to come.

All of this demonstrates to the industry that the brand has real expertise. If the content is good, they become genuinely well-respected voices in the industry.

Encourage customer engagement and community building

People tend to trust the opinions of people they know, which is why social proof works so well. But it’s also why new brands should be directly talking to customers every day.

When a business doesn’t have a reputation yet, a loyal customer base is one of the most valuable assets it can leverage. If brands develop communities of followers on social media platforms such as Reddit, they can turn those loyal customers into brand evangelists who would never recommend anything else in the category.

The popular collaboration platform Slack actively encourages open communication and interaction among its users through its dedicated Slack Community page. Slack understands the value of building a community around it to foster brand authority, and this has become another strong contributor to Slack’s continuous growth and leading position in its industry.

Screenshot taken from slack.com

Monitor and manage online reputation

On the long road to building an authoritative brand, one of the best ways to track progress is by monitoring your online reputation. That includes activities such as:

  • Monitoring social media mentions
  • Engaging with both positive and negative feedback
  • Tracking Google Alerts for words and phrases related to your brand.

This can all help you manage customers’ first impressions of you online. In combination with all the above, this helps introduce you as a business with an air of quality, reliability, and care. Take the Spotify example below, by replying to their customers on social media they show them that they care about them and that the platform works to a high standard. 

Screenshot taken from Spotify’s Twitter account.

Achieve and strengthen brand authority

Maybe your products speak for themselves, but without building a trusted brand nobody’s going to hear that.

This is make-or-break for new businesses, especially in a B2B setting where customers are trusting parts of their business to this new entrant in the market. 

But if a new company is smart about building relationships with customers and other industry players, and uses those relationships to present themselves as credible, they’re on their way to establishing a valuable brand that everyone knows and trusts.

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