In today’s saturated market, you need to stand out among a sea of competitors. Consumers have access to a massive variety of goods and services, so they need a convincing reason to choose you over everyone else. On top of offering a competitive option, you need to develop brand authority.
A recognizable brand will help you stand out, but an authoritative brand will give you preference. Being an industry authority means having a reputation for expertise within an area. When someone thinks of a subject and your name immediately comes to mind, that’s brand authority.
How to Develop Brand Authority On Purpose
You can’t develop authority overnight, and you won’t achieve it by accident, either. Here are five steps you can follow to help build brand authority:
1. Aim for a Niche Audience
Just as you should have a specific audience in mind for a product, your authority should have a narrow focus. You can’t expect to be an authoritative voice in all subject areas, so why try to look like one? To determine the scope of your authority, consider what sets your brand apart in the first place.
What’s unique about your product, company philosophy or way of doing business? The answer to that question will help you see what areas make sense for you to become an authority figure in. Focusing on a specific, less saturated subject will increase your chances of growing brand authority.
Whole Foods probably comes to mind when you think or organic groceries. Instead of trying to become authoritative in the grocery store market as a whole, it focuses on one thing: healthy food. This narrow focus made it easier to become the go-to source for all things organic.
2. Plan Effective Content Marketing
Content marketing is foundational to developing brand authority. If you want people to see you as an authority, you must provide answers to questions they have. Content marketing allows you to give people the help they need while increasing brand recognition.
Creating engaging and helpful content also boosts your search engine results, causing people to recognize you. As many as 92% of users only look at the first page of Google search results. If you want to appear in a search — which reinforces your authority — you need excellent content.
You’ll probably recognize the name Investopedia if you’ve ever Googled a financial question. The website doesn’t just tell you about its services but also offers hundreds of articles explaining money terms and concepts. It provides so much help that its name is now synonymous with financial planning.
3. Engage the Community
Consumers will have a hard time seeing you as a subject authority if they don’t see you in the first place. If you want to prove that you’re in tune with a community, you have to be an active part of it. Get involved with your consumer base by attending or holding events and interacting with users.
Social media is an excellent opportunity for engaging community members. A whopping 90% of retail businesses use social media primarily to offer deals, which is your chance to stand out. Don’t just sell on social media, but talk to consumers, build trust and learn about what they want.
Nike is an excellent example of engaging consumers over social media. The sports equipment giant even has a separate Twitter account just for replying to customers’ questions or addressing complaints. By maintaining contact with its customer base, it reinforces the idea that you can trust them.
4. Encourage Referrals
If you offer an excellent product or service, you’ll satisfy customers, which you can use to your advantage. People are more likely to trust a brand if they hear about it from friends or family. Encourage satisfied customers to refer other people to grow your brand authority.
More than 75% of surveyed individuals say they’re more likely to trust the content that other people share as opposed to what brands share. If you want to become a trustworthy source, you need your consumers to tell others about you. When people hear about you from their trusted friends and family, you’ll become more of an authority.
You’ll see many brands, like Harry’s and T-Mobile, offering free products or discounts in return for referrals. With the right rewards, you can improve both loyalty and marketing.
5. Remain Active
Part of being an authoritative brand is continuing to reassert that knowledgeable quality. It’s not enough to create some insightful blog posts, reply to some comments and then stop. You need to keep doing all of that, updating old content as well as releasing new things.
Saying a couple of helpful or intelligent things doesn’t make you an authority. Consistently delivering that kind of content and interaction does. When you stay active in the community, you demonstrate a deeper level of knowledge, which makes you more trustworthy.
Become an Authority, Not Just a Voice
Countless brands are all participating in discussions relevant to consumers’ concerns. You don’t just need to be another voice in the conversation, but a voice of authority. When you have brand authority, you’ll stand out among all the noise of the overcrowded market.
Developing brand authority isn’t a fast process, but it’s a profitable one. When you move past recognition and into credibility, you’ll see a substantial return on investment. Don’t settle for being a recognizable brand — become a brand people can trust.