Building a Trustworthy Brand With an Online Community

Anna Ritchie : Community Maven
Anna Ritchie
Marketing & communications practitioner, and product manager for TMCnet. Focus on content marketing and social media with a specialty in Online Community-building for businesses. Follow @Connectincloud and @apritchie
| Expertise and Advice on Successful Online Communities

Building a Trustworthy Brand With an Online Community

From the recent Podcast, “No One Buys Without Trust”: Linking Thought Leadership & Branding to Sales through Online Communities.

Listen to the full Podcast Here.   

Rich Tehrani, CEO of TMCnet, recently sat down with Peter Radizeski of RAD-INFO for the second installment of their Online Communities Podcast series.  When the conversation turned to the importance of branding, I was immediately reminded of many of the challenges many of our Online Community sponsors face: How to balance the desire to advertise with the need to be perceived as a thought leader. Here’s what I gleaned from the Webinar:

1) That it’s Important to Invest in Building Your Brand Consistently and Frequently

In order to be considered a credible, trust-worthy company, you must first have a recognizable brand that you promote consistency and frequently. This is very important in an industry that’s not “impulse-oriented”, meaning purchases are usually more expensive and take a long time to purchase. By getting your logo and company name in front of a potential customer over and over again, you will be subliminally speaking to your prospects and differentiating your product in the marketplace, almost guaranteeing that when the customer is ready to buy, they will consider your company.

The key words to focus on here are consistency and frequency: A short-term “Brand boost” effort doesn’t really make an impact, as a brand needs to be reinforced over time to be considered credible. Just think of how many customers you miss if you only brand for one quarter. And, if your message varies your credibility will also suffer, as consumers typically react more favorably to brands they feel they can recognize, and trust.  

2) That Thought Leadership Takes Trust to the Next Level

Thought Leadership works in a similar way to branding, but it often takes a much longer time to build a reputation as a thought-leader than it does to promote a brand. Typically, the decision to position a company as a thought-leader must come from the top so all corporate initiatives are aligned and focused on the same goal.  The marketing plan must be aligned with this vision also, so that all projects and messages are aligned and focused on presenting a company as a thought leader.  And, to be a thought leader you need to cover the news surrounding your entire industry, even if it mentions your competitors. Many companies that build Online Communities deter from publishing a competitor’s information on their site; however this can only boost your brand, as your messages and brand will surround your competitor’s news, giving your company the position as true industry leader. People will want to return to your Online Community over and over again, because they’ll know it’s where they can get the widest range of relevant information – fast.

3) That Companies Need to Do More of Both

Many companies don’t do enough in either of Branding or Thought Leadership areas. Why? Because it’s difficult to measure the ROI of such activities if you’re not immediately gaining leads and closing sales from them. It’s important, however, to think about the long term goals of your company and think about the consistency/frequency focus we just touched on with the following “hammer and nail” analogy. If you hit a nail three times with a hammer, you may get it to stick a little bit, but it may also easily wiggle out and become loose. But, if you hit it over and over again, for a long period of time, your nail, or “brand” will be “stuck” in the minds of the consumers, and the sales that will generate from those firmly-built relationships will be invaluable.

An Online Community that displays your brand and messaging along with industry-related content is one of the most powerful ways you can achieve these two top marketing objectives.  For example, if your company publishes a white paper on your Online Community, you will be boosting your thought-leadership initiatives but also your brand, since the research is distributed by your company and decorated with your logo. And, if you gate this content, you will likely generate leads who are interested in your industry or products and willing to learn more.  White Papers are just the beginning, too. eBooks, Webinars, product reviews and videos are just some of the many ways you can build your brand, boost thought leadership and generate leads , all the while continually building trust with your audience – and a bond that will be hard to break.

To learn more: 

- Listen the full Podcast, click here.

Listen to Part 1 in the Online Community Podcast Series,”9 Minutes of SEO”, click here.

-Register for the upcoming FREE educational Webinar about how to build a successful Online Community that boosts your sales, search and social initiatives

Or,  Contact Anna Ritchie for more information.  

Enhanced by Zemanta

Related Articles to 'Building a Trustworthy Brand With an Online Community'
Webinar 2 Poll Results