Infusing your fashion brand with Know Like Trust factor is incredibly important in today’s oversaturated designer fashion market. Or any industry for that matter.
Gone are the days when, if you served your customers nicely, helped them over the phone or didn’t make a fuss when they returned something they stayed loyal and came time and time again to buy more from your business.
In today’s day and age, to remain in business you need to create a loyal following.
To do this, you need to stand out from the rest of your competitors.
To do it – you need to connect on a personal level with your audience – with you buyers and customers. They need to know you exist, to begin with, and once they come across your brand, they need to get to know you, get to like you (and want to know more about you and therefore follow you) and in time grow to trust you.
There is a saying that’s often used in business that says: “…people prefer to do business with people, not businesses”.
People prefer to buy from people they know, like, and trust.
As popular as this may be, it seems that it is falling on deaf ears in start-up fashion land. So many designers and brand owners in the fashion space either do not believe it or understand what it means. They hear the advice and think, “that sounds nice, but what does it really mean? How is it relevant to my brand? How do I get people to know, like, and trust me more than the large brands? “
Well – let me show you why it is probably the single most important thing you need to focus on before and after you launch your brand and then consistently work on maintaining. Failing to do that will result in business decline, mediocre survival and ultimately kill your business – no matter how amazing your product may be or talented you are.
The Importance of Know Like Trust factor
With some 380 websites reportedly (according to google stats) launching every minute, just switching your website or having one is simply not enough. You need to get found and when that happens, the first thing people will most likely connect to visually is your product.
If they like what they see, they will without a doubt go to your about page or click on your social media links to find out more about YOU.
Most people think that YOU means the brand. The business. They have brief about us pages that waffle about the inspiration and mission of the business and their social media is packed with products and links to shopping pages.
While that is nice to have, it doesn’t create a long-lasting connection on a human to human level.
What will create that connection is, if you, bring yourself – the founder, into the picture. Tell your audience and potential customers a little about you, why you launched, what you do in your spare time… Take them on a journey when you are creating your new collections or visiting places to get inspiration.
We, humans, connect to other humans when we agree with them, like what they do, how they think, how they act. That leads us to like them and by liking them we keep an eye on them. What else would they do? What else wll they say? What else will they launch?
As customers get to know you better and like you more – as a person and therefore as a brand, they will ultimately end up becoming part of your world by purchasing something.
Once they buy and they are not disappointed with their purchase, they are very likely to come back again and buy again. And share their enthusiasm for your brand with others.
This kind of marketing and word of mouth referrals are priceless. They are extremely valuable and can only be the result of having become known, liked and trusted.
How to get known as a brand
Becoming known is not some kind of surface knowledge where people have seen your brand name and logo, your Instagram staged product shots or FB ads. In that kind of knowledge, people recognize your brand and know you exist. Your brand, not a total “stranger”. But this is surface knowledge – sort of an overview “about” or “of” your brand.
The kind of knowledge you want your customers to have is the kind that opens up greater possibilities for stronger relationships. These types of relationships often lead to sales. But to get there you need to open up and allow your potential customers and followers to get a glimpse of some private details about you – the human behind the business. Here is an interesting article that explains this idea in more details.
Letting people connect to you doesn’t mean countless selfies if that’s not something you are comfortable with. You can use filters to enhance your image, you can take shots that obscure the full view of you, if that’s what you prefer, you can take photos of places and objects you like and can talk about. There are countless possibilities.
One of the biggest obstacles to getting started is the false assumption of not knowing what to speak about.
Sure you do!
What do you talk to people when you meet them? What do they ask you?
It is customary to introduce ourselves and conversations usually revolve around – what do you do, where do you live, your tastes in music, art, fashion, pets and friends, travel and books….. See – there’s a lot you can speak about easily that will allow people to see the human behind the business and connect to you.
How to get liked as a brand
What does it mean to like someone?
Imagine two brands with an identical product and an identical price.
One brand comes across as boring and impersonal. Polished images, general content and bland safe commercial posts and messages. The other brand, on the other hand, is charming, interesting, and makes you feel good. You know who the humans behind the business are, what they do, like and strive for.
Which one would you rather do business with? Buy from and tell your friends about?
If you are a small brand and do not have a “bottomless pit” of a budget to spend on advertising, influencers (if that is still a thing), freebies and whatnot – like the big brands do – how will you compete? While you may grab attention with your products, how will you keep your customers long term?
The advantages smaller brands have (over large brands) is the human touch and face behind the brand.
So much so that big brands are now trying to pretend to be smaller and more local and collaborate with celebrities in order to create that human connection.
But while they may succeed for a while, their effort will never be as authentic as you and your brand can be.
So how do you get liked by your brand audience?
Be authentic – express your unique voice through your content. Introduce your new collections personally via a blog post, brief video or a newsletter to your subscribers.
Be real – don’t just show the world the highlights of your life, show them behind the scenes too. Share stories of your creation process, research, factory visits, photoshoots and perhaps sprinkle a few personal moments here and there – a much as you’re comfortable to show.
Stay relevant – don’t rely on a single channel of communication. To expand your customer reach these days you need to be omnipresent. Be where your customer is. Meet them where they are and initiate two-way conversations. Ask questions, be helpful. Share your knowledge or experiences via blog posts or video. Comment on hot topics that concern you or your brand.
How to get trusted as a brand
Once you have got people to know you exist and get them to like you, how do you get them to buy? Getting someone’s 14 digit credit card number and postcode is sensitive information. People don’t just give it freely to anyone.
Trust is the pre-requisite for any exchange of sensitive and private information.
To be trusted it means you need to comply with the obvious rules and regulations, to begin with. But then – all the effort you have put into getting known and liked will come into play. If you have consistently shared and shown yourself to your audience as real and authentic, a trust will have been created automatically.
But here is what else you can do to help create even more trust.
There is nothing more powerful than sharing social proof that what you sell, stand for and the market is the real thing. So, capture the positive feedback of your customers. Encourage people to leave Google reviews on your website and product pages.
Create perhaps a unique hashtag that people can use to share the joy of owning your product.
In a word – create opportunities for goodwill gestures that will reinforce what you have been already subtly showing – that you are real, relevant and authentic.
So you see, infusing your brand with know, like, trust is a real thing. It matters and people lookout for it. In an industry like fashion, shrouded in smoke and mirrors, whether you sell something low cost or a premium product, cultivating a loyal fan base of customers is important. You can build on it. You can use their buying power, feedback and loyalty to grow faster and farther.
And the best part is – while it may seem like a slower route to success and riches, it is free and you own it. No one can take it away from you, steal, copy or challenge you on it. There is no competition in being YOU. There may be many brands or products similar to yours, but there’s only one human YOU behind the brand. Use it wisely and to your advantage.