Brand credibility is crucial for a company to establish itself and is a key factor in sustained growth. For that reason, understanding brand credibility and how it can be influenced by earned media coverage is an important aspect of managing a company’s reputation. While it is most effectively built over time, PR teams can take several steps to help expedite the process.
What is Brand Credibility?
Brand credibility is the level of trust consumers have in a brand and their perceptions of its expertise. The Association for Consumer Research further explains it as “the believability of the product information contained in a brand, which requires that consumers perceive that the brand has the ability (i.e., expertise) and willingness (i.e., trustworthiness) to continuously deliver what has been promised.” It is an aspect of a company’s reputation that is most often cultivated over time as the quality of its products or services proves consistent and its brand awareness increases.
Why is Brand Credibility Important?
Brand credibility is important because the ability to garner consumers’ trust is essential to brand health. Trust in a company’s product and message, along with confidence in its ability to deliver a consistent and high-quality product, reflects positively on a company’s reputation and sets it apart from competitors. Customers must be able to rely on the quality of the product or service the brand is providing. A 2019 study of trust and risk perspectives of high-value brands noted that “customers adopt trust as a shortcut to avoid complex decision processes that carry risk.” If a company gives reason for skepticism, a consumer is more likely to forgo it for another brand. Overall, credible brands have more forgiving relationships and personal connections with their consumers.
Ways to Build Your Brand Credibility
Brand credibility can be difficult to build because of the time it takes to develop consistency and social proof. It can take years to prove to consumers that your products or services are reliable and for positive reviews to accumulate. However, a brand’s earned media coverage can increase its visibility and boost public perceptions of the validity of its claims.
Here are four ways you can build brand credibility:
Promote Spokesperson Coverage
Coverage of your company spokespeople and executives in reputable or industry-recognized third-party media outlets can establish the credibility and expertise of your brand. By securing bylines or offering quotes or interviews to relevant trade publications, consumers will see that your brand representatives are regarded as credible and experts in their fields. Even simply having a quote appear in a priority outlet can help build the integrity of your brand and perceived expertise. Further, contributing articles to industry publications or being cited for thought leadership can be an additional boost to your spokespeople’s reputations as experts.
Leverage Your Social Media Channels
Using social media allows for a direct connection between a brand and its consumers and paves the wave for establishing trust with your audience. According to a 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer special report, “four in 10 consumers say they are unlikely to become emotionally attached to a brand unless they are interacting via social media.” Being active and present on social media can show an attentiveness toward customers’ concerns, and allow a brand to boost its perceived authenticity which, in turn, fosters trust.
Build Social Proof
Social proof refers to the tendency of people to look to the opinions of others to guide their actions and beliefs. Social proof is vital to public relations because people’s judgments are shaped by others when they’re uncertain of how to feel about a new product or brand. There are several ways to build social proof that will resonate with your target audience.
For instance, positive reviews from past customers serve to confirm the quality and reliability of your products or services for prospective customers. Likewise, testimonials from existing clients or relevant influencers are useful for building trust among a shared target audience. Recent research has even found that celebrity trust in a company can significantly impact brand credibility.
Evaluate Your Strategy
Brand credibility takes time to develop, and some tactics may work better than others. Monitoring the impact of your spokesperson coverage, social proof, and influencer strategies on the portrayal of your company in earned media coverage can indicate whether your PR outputs are resonating with your target audience.
Build a media measurement program that tracks the metrics and industry topics that matter most to your reputation for data to guide your messaging and approach. By tracking your company’s earned media coverage, you can evaluate the impact of your campaigns on your brand credibility and learn from your competitors to inform your communications strategy.
Measuring Brand Credibility
Brand credibility is an essential facet of brand health. It cements a company and its representatives as reputable, allowing it greater longevity. Being mindful of the factors that contribute to perceptions of trust and expertise is crucial for PR teams looking to build or improve credibility.
With our unique human-AI hybrid approach to media measurement, PublicRelay can help your team benchmark your brand against competitors and gauge your impact in obtaining high brand credibility. Start measuring your earned media coverage now!