How honest should you be with your clients/customers? It’s an interesting question and one that often leaves business owners in knots. The modern mantra seems to be “fake it ‘til you make it,” but is that good enough anymore. Was it ever the right decision? In a time when there has never been greater access to information, we can see through you like never before. Your honesty, authenticity, and transparency are vital parts of your brand. Here are some tips and guidance to help you foster that transparency in your brand.
Keep It Real
We talk a lot about content creation because content is a major driver of your digital marketing. It’s not only a key component of SEO efforts; it’s also how you establish authority and expertise in your field. Because content is so important we often find ourselves trying to do more than we really need. A small business owner suddenly invests a great deal in professional video or the most upscale headshots in order to appear more like a Fortune 500 CEO.
But what do we gain by these efforts?
If we can see through you, is there ever enough polish?
Honestly, we really don’t gain anything. In fact, we do more damage to our brand than anything. People want to do business with people. We want those we can trust in our corner. Trying to be something you’re not will only serve to help you do things you don’t want to do, and will become quickly obvious to your customers. You started your business because you love what you do. Being real about that passion is a great way to draw clients.
Don’t put on too much polish. Record videos with value, not with polish. There is a saying about lipstick and a pig that sums this up quite well. Create authentic, valuable content that reflects who you truly are and enjoy pursuing your real dream.
Remember They’re People Too
Your customers are people just like you and me. It seems simple enough, but we often forget that our customers are just like us. They have wants and needs. Our businesses create value to satisfy either those wants or those needs. The tricky part is that our customers also pay our bills and put food on our tables, so we tend to become nervous when dealing with them. We hesitate in meetings with them, in offering services, and we struggle to know what to present them with because we begin to feel like we’re not good enough.
The funny thing is that there is really no difference between our customers and ourselves. When you’re thinking about your offers, or what content to create, it might be good to remind yourself of this fact. What would you want? How would you want to be treated? Would you want someone to ask you these questions? Take the time and ask, build relationships, and seek to understand your customers. Remember they’re just people, like all of us, and treat them as such. Trust us, they will appreciate it.
No one likes to face their flaws or mistakes. Often, when we are confronted with them, we put up the walls, deny, and keep the damage to a minimum. But now your customer has a direct line to the world, a voice that has seemingly unlimited reach. Trying to ignore, stonewall, or bulldoze a complaint is a great way to find yourself with a tidal wave of negative reviews and a plummeting reputation. In an age of increased transparency, you cannot forget that we can see through you.
This was never a good way to handle your complaints. It was just harder for it to become public so it was a tempting option. The problem is that people don’t trust those who cover up what obviously went wrong. There is a great opportunity to foster a great reputation and create value for your customers at the same time by being transparent.
Next time you face a complaint online, answer it. Own the mistake. Make the situation right and do it publicly. The reality is that we all make mistakes. You do, your customers do, and your business will as well. Admit it and let everyone know you’re committed to preventing it from happening again. Additionally, be honest about what you can and can’t deliver. Don’t pretend to be more than you are. The bottom line is that faking it will catch up with you.
Your Stingray Branding Team
Stingray Branding is the number one source for your digital marketing needs. Our team of subject matter experts brings a vast array of knowledge and experience to drive your marketing to the next level. No matter the size of your business, or your industry, we can help you. If you have any questions, or just want to see how we can help, contact us here. We’d love to hear from you!