by Barry Silverstein
When I counsel small business owners about their brands, the topic of credibility often comes up. Because a small brand tends to have lower awareness than a big brand, prospective buyers may be unfamiliar with the brand and even wary of purchasing it. That's why it's so important to build credibility for your brand.
While big brands have almost built-in credibility because of reputation and a large customer base, small brands need to work much harder to gain credibility. The surest path to credibility for a small brand is to focus on external rather than internal sources. The small brand needs to build a portfolio of external endorsements that create a positive perception so the prospective buyer believes in the brand's credentials even if the brand has low awareness.
These are some examples of endorsements a small brand should seek:
- Testimonials, positive reviews and referrals from happy brand users and user groups
- Positive reviews from relevant media channels
- Testimonials and endorsements from experts in the brand category
- Endorsements from organizations, associations, professional groups, research/educational institutions, or similar bodies that are viewed as impartial and objective.
Another legitimate way to build brand credibility is to create public awareness for the brand by association. This can be accomplished in a number of ways. For example:
- Engage an outside brand spokesperson who has personal credibility and can speak on behalf of the brand
- The brand owner may already be a thought leader and, if so, the individual's reputation should be leveraged on behalf of the brand. The brand owner can also be transformed into a thought leader by becoming known via public speaking or giving seminars, blogging, writing articles, writing books or ebooks, and doing interviews with the media.
- The brand can sponsor original research in its category or industry segment
- The brand can become an active sponsor/participant in helping its local community or a particular area. When the brand gets involved in community service or with non-profit groups, a "halo effect" results and the brand becomes closely associated with the effort.
The more you can do to build your brand's credibility via external channels, the more believable your brand will be to the prospective buyer.
Barry Silverstein is a brand marketing expert. He has written numerous 123 eGuides on branding, product launches, and sales leads, available here. He also teaches an on-demand online course, Big Brand Strategies for Small Brands. Regularly $39, you can take the course until February 28 at the special price of just $19. Simply visit www.bigbrandstrategiesforsmallbrands.com and use the code newyear13 to take advantage of this offer.