In today’s oversaturated market, to build fashion brand trust, stand out and build or create a loyal following is not so easy. Not impossible, but not easy compared to even a few short years back even.
For any business to survive not only do you need to have a good product that fills the hole for a clear market need or desire but to generate sales from multiple sources –or be an omnichannel brand – you need to create a trust for your brand.
But trust is not something you can easily buy or hack your way into. Trust takes time to create and establish.
In today’s world, where patience is in short supply and we often feel the pressure to find quick success, creating fashion brand trust faster is important. It means our businesses stand a better chance of survival. So how do you do that?
Here are three ways in which a brand can create fast(er) trust with its customers, leverage its core values and purpose as part of an authentic marketing campaign and differentiate itself from competitors.
Fast trust #1: Get Endorsements
Creating bridges to causes, people or other businesses that people – your potential audience – already trusts is vital if you are in a hurry to create a trust for your new venture.
One way of creating such a bridge is to get an endorsement for your business by another person or business already held high in peoples esteems and that has established a reputation and trust with your target consumers.
This is not easy to achieve, as those who have taken the time and effort to built trust over a long period of time know what that has cost them in time, money and effort. They have learnt lessons that have thought them to be careful with their brand and be protective of their customers.
They must really know you well and trust your personal integrity before perhaps they will consider lending you a helping hand and sticking their neck out for your business.
An example of such an endorsement can often be seen in the music industry. Small and new up and coming bands being signed up to open up for big acts. That is instant market positioning and valuable exposure to a serious target and trusting audience.
An example in fashion can be collaborations between well-established brands who take on new talent to work with, or larger brands collaborating with current and of the moment designers.
Creating bridges of trust with new audiences and cross-promotion is a faster way of acquiring new customers and growing your business.
Fast trust #2: Innovate
Doing something new, something not done before is a great way to not only generate exposure but also acquire early adopters who usually remain loyal fans.
In the fashion industry, it often seems like there may not be anything new left to design.
Therefore creating newness through new associations.
Adopting a cause as a core driver for the business is the new way of doing business with a conscience.
The businesses that are doing well and will create success in the future are the ones who connect to our hearts and passions. We live at an age where doing business purely for financial gains is not respected as it may have been a few decades back.
Our society has evolved and become more conscious of the fragility world we live in. The internet has made the impossibly big world of the past into a small place where nothing remains hidden for long. The disparity between those who have and those who don’t is now (even more) apparent for all to see.
Therefore associating your brand with a cause that is near and dear to the consciousness and hearts of your audience is a sure way to creating fashion brand trust faster.
A great example of brands who have created successful businesses wrapped around a cause is Tom’s shoes and Warby Parker. Two brands that have committed to helping underprivileged communities through selling their products. By providing to those who don’t have the most basic of items we take for granted has allowed for these brands to create success in monetary terms, while also address a pain point and all the while almost effortlessly amassing loyal community, customers and press attention. A truly modern winning proposition; an example of doing business consciously.
Fast trust #3: Radical Transparency
The present world we live in is one where we believe what we see and what we see is often put through filters and shows just highlights, rather than reflect the reality. Fashion even more than most other industries is an opaque and often referred to as “smoke and mirrors” construct of an industry where reality if distorted at best and hidden as a norm.
Building trust in fashion is not easy, perhaps because fashion consumers as a whole are not interested and looking for trust. They look for external and transient satisfaction. But as the economic and political landscape inadvertently is changing the world and dragging fashion with it, we now have a new type of consumers disillusioned with the fake-ness of the industry and looking for brands that mirror their values.
The new form of loyalty is no longer based on style, trends and affordability factors, but rather on the promise of contribution to the world well being by using fashion as a vehicle.
A great example of this is Everlane. A fashion brand slowly growing through complete and open transparency to its customers about manufacturing, cost of product and core values.
To gain loyal followers these new type of fashion brands need to connect deeply to their consumer and to ensure longer customer lifetime value they must provide more than just products to them. They must welcome them into a community or tribe of like-minded people who will identify each other through their choice of branded (or unbranded as it may be in some cases) wear. Wearing certain products by certain brands has become almost an outside shell for your beliefs and core values. And because these choices of wear and purchase choice are emotively based, trusting deeply the brands is of utmost importance.
How do you do that?
How do you create fast trust with these loyal and deeply passionate customers?
Easy! Radical transparency calls for unprecedented loyalty. Radical transparency shows the human side of “business” and opens up to vulnerability, which is associated with humans and not intangible businesses. Brands doing extremely well in business through their choice to be completely transparent and open as to how they do what they do, the true meaning and cost of that they do and why they do it are Everlane and Patagonia to name a couple.
Showing the true cost of doing business in fashion, peeling back the “fake” layers and calling BS on an industry thriving on myth and illusions is in radical contrast to the norm. Differentiating themselves from their competitors via a belief in a higher cause connects to the millions of consumers disinterested and resilient to the usual fashion tactics and trends.
This “ask me anything” type of approach makes people trust faster and share the Novelty of the experience with others. Connecting on an emotional level to a cause they already feel passionate about effortlessly allows people to become promoters and brand ambassadors without even realising that they are.
Old Fashioned Trust
In contrast to the above three fast(er) routes to building trust with your audience is the old traditional way of layering layer upon layer of small acts that over time create trust in the minds and hearts of the consumers. This kind of trust stands the test of time and is more forgiving if a deviation from the norm was to occur.
This is how companies used to operate and why they lasted as long as they did. Doing it the slow way, was the only way.
In today’s world of multiple choices and Omnichannel for everything, we try to time-hack our way to success, even, where trust is concerned.
Fashion Brand Trust = Time + Courage
So really, if nothing else, the above examination shows that building any kind of trust either takes (long) time or it requires courage.
Those who feel they don’t have the luxury of time must find the strength of courage to be different. To be champions of a greater good cause and show vulnerability uncommon in the fashion industry to date.
Being open and transparent invites criticism. Acting with integrity means sacrificing profits in the short term. Championing a greater good cause and making a real meaningful impact on the unfashionable human lives around the world requires a different type of ego.
But on the flip side, brands who opt to operate from a place of such courage, typically create brands that experience business growth that is more predictable and steady. They are able to scale with less marketing expenditure and experience brand loyalty most other brands dream of.
Whichever way you chose to operate, one thing appears to remain unchanged. Fashion brand trust cannot be bought. It has to be earned.