We all know it is not easy to attract and retain buyers, building trust is harder. But the first step to building a base of loyal customers for your brand is through authentic content marketing.

It builds trust between you and your prospects and boosts your company’s marketing and image. And that is why we believe that besides winning them over, it is important in establish a lasting and trusting relationship with your customers.

Hey, I am Shi Ning, a Digital Marketing Assistant here in Tangy, also known as the “newbie” or “the intern”.

Right off the bat, I can tell you that I am almost just as new as you in the aspect of digital marketing and content creation. However, I can tell you what you can do to touch the hearts of your potential clients, and audience, enabling them to trust you with their assets and money. And that is, letting your brand be itself.

According to Nielsen Global Survey in 2015, digital content is now one of the most trusted sources of advertising, and we believe that was also why you chose to integrate content marketing!

Nope, I am not saying that you should leave branding and marketing alone. But letting your brand be authentic, genuine and well, creating content which consists of its very own flavor. And for me, being a millennial (Yes, I know, not again…), I was born in a generation where marketing and advertising are everywhere. Whether you notice it or not, it’s there.

It’s so overwhelming that many of us have started unfollowing and shutting down on brands that show “overly salesy” advertisements. It’s not that we dislike the brands but we dislike the way they advertise and market, essentially, the way they try to reach out to us.

That’s why it is important to let your business, stand out and leave a lasting impression,  by branding it to be authentic and “human”. Why do you think there is a rise in successful YouTubers-turned-entrepreneurs? It’s because their audience can match their messages to a face or personality, that they can relate or respect, and gradually grow to trust the person and its brand.

Authentic Brands That Built Customer Loyalty

Authentic Brand #1: Wong Fu Productions

Web content producers like Wong Fu Productions had their humble beginnings.

Wong Fu Productions presenting at USC in 2010.

Wong Fu were once just 3 young Asian American guys in their University, trying to cover music videos and film skits with a camcorder. Now, they are one of the most popular YouTube filmmakers creating a wide range of content, talk shows, short films, merchandises, and even their very own feature film, which is funded by their fan (talk about true loyalty). If you were to ask their fan why they choose to follow Wong Fu throughout the years and, you would know its because when they see the company, they see the founders’ burning passion for storytelling and sharing. This makes the brand personable and relatable to fellow filmmakers and lovers of short films (like me).

Authentic Brand #2: Dove

On the other hand, Dove, a popular personal care brand that builds their branding through Facebook marketing and advertising. Creating content that is fun, compelling and emotional drives their primary audience, who are mainly females, to believe and look up to the brand at the end of their campaigns.

In one of their campaigns, they created a short film to give awareness to how women like to put down themselves down when they talk about their own appearance. The video started with a few women describing themselves to an artist to illustrate how they looked and ended with them realizing that they saw themselves way more unpleasant than how others view them.

It is no wonder how Dove received so many likes on their Facebook campaign. Likes and Views on Dove content as of 8 May 2017.

In this campaign, it’s hard to see Dove just as a toiletry brand. It personified into a caring and socially-conscious brand that pushed women to see their better light. It is their ingenuity to empower women that have touched many hearts around the world.  And indeed, their efforts granted them the highest customer satisfaction for their loyalty programme, Dove Insider.

Many of us started in content marketing to gain establish a lasting and trusting relationship with our customers. But we get lost in the midst of writing article that your readers will want to read and convert to become customers. We load them with supposedly helpful email content that is laced with heavily sales intent and forgot that brands are a collection of human that can think, feel and stand up for something.

How To Become An Authentic Brand With High Customer Loyalty

To get back the human that we have lost, here are some tips to get you started:

1. Be Human – People Are What Matter Most In Business

Quit boasting authenticity as a quality of your company at face-front only. Start from within. What does that mean? Many companies claim authenticity as their brand attribute but fail to prove their buyers that they are genuine. Show the “human” side of your business.

Some audiences want to know more about the brand and their workers behind the well-done advertisements so, let them see the behind-the-scenes or even get them to experience how a usual office day is like!

Besides the usual success stories (testimonials) from your other clients, give your employees genuine shout outs and acknowledge their efforts for the team. Occasionally, reminisce about the past milestones the company has been! Well, #throwbacks are never out of style!

2. Serve – Be Useful And Helpful

As businesses, we ultimately want sales and exposure. Advertising and marketing work best when the audience feels attached to you, benefitting and being entertained by what you provide.

Little things like sharing inspiring quotes and asking for their feedback and opinions does make a difference! Engage with them through polls or maybe, crowdsource for answers that your company is interested to know from them. Let them know about the latest news or information relevant to them. Those tips and tricks you provide will be a game changer for them.

Coca-cola Global post on twitter following up on Earth Hour (Source: Twitter)

Posts that reflects that your company is socially-aware are great too because it shows that your company cares about more than just profits.

3. Consistency Is Key

Using content marketing as your business’ core communication strategy, it works best if you post and engage them on a regular basis, with consistent quality content. While “quality” is very subjective, some basic principles are to make sure that your content is:

  • Helpful and relevant to your buyer
  • Unique from your competitors
  • Engaging to read
  • Credible with accurate statistics and scientifically-proven

This not only keeps the image of your company fresh in their mind, it also reflects that the consistent quality of your products/ service.

4. Being Accountable And Responsive

Just like how parents guide their child, the company and its team need guidance as well. If your company ever get in a situation that it is morally or ethically wrong, apologize, so that prospects know that you’re aware of the situation and is proactively addressing it.

One well-known example is the recent incident of a United Airlines passenger getting beaten up and dragged off an overbooked flight. The crisis management was bad and the company received a lot of criticism due to their lack of sincerity in addressing the problem.

Dr. Dao being assaulted and dragged off overbooked flight, unconsciously (Source: Unilad.co.uk)

The whole incident started when United Airlines forcibly removed a passenger in an overbooked flight. Due to this incident, members of the public started to boycott the Airline for their violent assault. However, instead of correcting their protocol,  United Airlines praised their employees on their behavior and pushed the blame to the assaulted passenger. This drew, even more backlash from the public. In the end, the company stock shares dropped 1.4 billion and received negative reputation in the public.

Besides United Airlines, there are many other examples of corporate scandals that companies have gotten into.

Another way to increase your responsiveness is to use a bot responder, such as Messenger bot, to maintain 24 hours responsiveness with your buyers. But do strike a careful balance with bot responders and human follow-up. If you operate purely with bot responder, it will lack the personal touch makes the customers feel that you genuinely care. Plus, bots are not that advanced yet! It doesn’t have the intelligence and empathy that a human has.

There, there… It may seem like a lot of work, but I can assure you that it only requires minimal manpower and it will be worth it. Putting in the time and effort to find a genuine connection point will make your prospects and existing buyers be more likely to listen to what you have to say as a company, look up to you and eventually, trust in your business. Because once you gain their trust, it will be much easier to sell them your product or service.

Lastly, let me end this with a quote:

“The value in having real people advocate for brands by inspiring, informing and entertaining audiences across social, content and video is real. Serving up the content your audience wants on their terms and in their language from people they trust works well.”

– adage.com (Advertising Age – Leading Global Source For Advertising And Marketing Industry News)

I hope what I have shared would have benefitted you and your business. Thank you for taking the time to read about how you can come off more authentic to your clients and take action in building customer loyalty for your brand now!

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Norman Yeo
Norman Yeo is the General Manager of Tangy Lab Group Pte Ltd, a social media agency dedicated to help companies to fulfill their marketing objectives through Digital Marketing. Norman has helped various organizations, from SMEs to MNCs, to build brand loyalty and achieve actual ROI from Digital Marketing. He has increased his client’s reach & engagement by more than 25 times, and generated ROI on Sales of more than 15 times for them. Some of the notable companies he has worked with include 3M Singapore, The Hourglass, NTUC, Sime Darby (Thrifty Car Rental), CapitalMall Asia, AVAYA, SPH Plug & Play, etc.