Developing A Brand People Trust in today’s business environment, everyone is focused on what makes their brand different. What’s your competitive edge? What makes you disruptive? How can you stand out? How can you grab attention?

In the rush to be different, people are overlooking the value of being familiar.

Familiarity may seem boring, but it’s one of the most powerful things you can be as a brand. Many incredible brands succeed not because they are the highest quality option but because they are the most familiar.

The most famous example for developing a brand built on trust might be McDonalds. You can go anywhere on the planet, order a Big Mac and know exactly what you are going to get and what it tastes like. You expect a Big Mac in Tokyo to taste like a Bic Mac in Des Moines. If it wasn’t you would be upset.

A recent study done at Stanford University presented children ages three and five with two different sets of chicken nuggets. They wrapped one batch of nuggets in McDonalds packaging and the other in plain unmarked packaging. Which group tastes better? They asked. Here’s the catch. The packaging was different but the nuggets themselves were exactly the same.

Overwhelmingly the young patrons rated the McDonalds branded food as tasting better than the unbranded food even though the nuggets were exactly the same!

McDonald’s has become a trusted brand by investing in being the most familiar fast food brand. They further strengthen your trust in them by always delivering a consistent product.

A trusted brand is maybe the most difficult brand to build. You can dabble with exclusivity, you can try out being provocative, but you can’t dip in and out of trust. It must be established consistently.

So how do you develop a brand people trust?

  • Become Familiar. The word familiar comes from familia, meaning family. We have an emotional bond with family and we have emotional bonds with things we are familiar with. If you’ve ever found yourself ordering “the usual” you are choosing the familiar over perhaps a better option. We are comfortable with things we know. The more we are exposed to something the more we trust it. Gain exposure.
  • Maintain Consistency and Predictability. Trusted brands carefully pay attention to every detail to reinforce consistency between expectations they set and the results they deliver.
  • Deliver On Expectations. We don’t trust unpredictable people and brands. When people and brands deviate sharply from our expectations we take notice and we don’t like it. If your usual is a well-done burger and the restaurant cooks you rare, you aren’t going to be coming back very often.
  • Repeat Your Message. Trusted brands are predictable. Forego new messaging and instead stick with what people know. There is a reason McDonald’s “I’m Loving It” slogan has been their first and only global marketing campaign.

Trust is a tricky thing to build. It takes time, money and exposure to develop and can be gone immediately with a simple slip up. It must be constantly monitored and baked into every aspect of your business. Despite its fickle nature it’s worth the effort because the reward might be the richest prize in business. Customer loyalty.

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