American businessman and author extraordinaire Stephen Covey said, “Trust is the glue of life … It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.” This is true of all relationships including the relationships between a business and its customers. But just being a trustworthy brand is not enough. That virtuousness must be conveyed to your audience. To do this, businesses should take a few pointers from the best, and these top five most trustworthy company brands have a few lessons for business owners that are worth learning.
The caffeine mogul has proven a force to be reckoned with in the very old arena of coffee shops, but what Starbucks has done exceptionally well with its brand is establish an identity that is unique in spite of the fact that it is a chain. The innovative menu is nearly identical from store to store but the Starbucks flavor is undeniably distinct. This form of distinguished identity and reliable product creates a sense of comfort and dependability in its diehard fans and customers.
In addition to distinguishing itself from other cafes, Starbucks also reinforces its trustworthy brand by promoting the concepts of community and interaction. The stores tend to offer oversized tables ideal for group meetings and face-to-face communication. The upbeat, modern music and free Wi-Fi encourage their clientele to get comfortable and stay for a while.
Lastly, Starbucks builds its ethical brand by treating their employees well and making sure that everyone knows it. In the past Starbucks has been recognized as one of the best places to work, and recently announced a program that reimburses employees, known as the College Achievement Plan. With all of this included in the Starbucks brand, it is hard not to trust this company.
What Amazon brings to the trusted brand table is a well-conceived and well-executed customer experience, which is no easy feat without face-to-face interaction. The easy to navigate website, accessible and innumerable product, upfront pricing and stellar 24-hour accessibility exceptional product accessibility, and sophisticated browse and search technology, the online store gives users many reasons to trust it. The detailed product information and honest customer reviews don’t hurt the company’s brand either.
With these traits and Amazon’s algorithm for recommending purchases based on product ratings and consumer purchase history helps create an interactive customer experience seldom found in online businesses. Customers also form a bond with Amazon through creating personalized profiles and adding their own reviews and ratings. That personal bond goes a long way in the company’s creation of ethical branding.
Asserting itself as the “Uncarrier” in 2013, T-Mobile has earned a credible reputation and created a trustworthy brand by redefining the limitations of cellphone service providers. Whereas most providers require clients to purchase a two-year service contract, T-Mobile has climbed its way up to the title of third-largest U.S. carrier by disregarding the obligatory two-year contract, rebelling against and redefining the negative image customers associate with service carriers.
T-Mobile also introduced its “Simple Choice Plan” which again went against the grain of common industry practices. Monthly, no-commitment plans replaced expensive, long-term contracts, the plan’s pricing was clarified and became significantly more flexible than other providers. These actions created an honest brand name in an industry of ill-reputation.
The Un-carrier then launched family plans that allowed families multiple lines with unlimited talk, text and web data for a flat fee. These plans did no require added credit checks or expensive deposit commonly found with competitors. As a final action in T-Mobile’s In-carrier campaign, the JUMP! (Just Upgrade My Phone) Program allows specific subscribers to upgrade their phone twice a year.
Most recently, T-Mobile offered to cover competitors’ termination fees for customers who’d been locked into expensive plans. T-Mobile reshaped the public’s image of service providers and solidified its presence as the reputable underdog in a corrupted industry through transparent and fee free plans, and by defying expectations.
It’s difficult to think of Progressive Insurance without the image of Flo’s beaming smile crossing your mind. The ever-chipper, always energetic, unflappable optimist portrayed by actress Stephanie Courtney has become the face of Progressive. Flo is Progressive’s brand.
What Progressive Insurance has done so well here is personify their brand. Progressive has a name and a face, and the personality traits that Flo demonstrates on screen — problem-solver, reliable, knowledgeable and honest — become the traits that customers associate with Progressive.
The strongest brands are not the most expensive or the longest lasting. The best brands boast strong personalities. They forge positive relationships with their customers and differentiate themselves from the competition. The best brands emulate honesty, and with a few tried and true strategies of the most successful brands, yours can too.