February 22, 2020

Decoding Brand Authority

This is 1st part of a 2 part series on Introduction to Brand Authority and Why It Is Important. Stay tuned for part 2. 

Edelman 2019 Trust Barometer Special Report studied the behavior of about 16,000 consumers spread across major hubs for products and services. One of the key findings of the report was that 64% of those surveyed admitted that their purchasing habits are mostly influenced by how well known a brand is as compared to its peers. This result is evenly distributed across all the countries and unambiguously  proves the importance of Brand Authority and Brand Recognition when it comes to influencing the the prospective customers to turn to you before they turn to your competitors.

But what is Brand Authority you say? 

Well it is  not a metric that can be gauged by the marketing campaigns you run in a quarter and it is  certainly not something that you can confer to your own organisation. It’s something that your customers (or prospective customers) associate with you as a brand. To define it loosely, Brand Authority is a measure of how much others trust a brand. Consumers have to accept a company as an expert or even better, a leader in your industry, so that when they want your services, they should feel that they are getting the “bang for their buck”.

Establishing brand authority makes you more than the sum of your products/services. If done properly, your audience can turn to you for guidance thereby building trust in your brand. And more trust means more business. 

Patience is the Key!

Building brand value by establishing authority is however a long game. As I will highlight in future posts, sound content marketing and strategic dissemination are most important to achieve your goal. There is no overnight “nobody” to “authority” story.

Building a brand is more than fancy fonts and clever logos. Brand Authority is the holy grail after months of hard work and building your online reputation. Consistent posting of content proves your authority over time.

Don’t be a pesky salesman!

Brand Authority is something that builds organically amongst  your audience each time they come across the marketing collateral that isn’t  outright trying to sell them something but is actually being useful. 

Yes, you read it right. Most brands end at the sales pitch but they never go beyond which results in no connection to the customers at the emotional level. Most people don’t trust brands so the odds are already stacked against you. So share what you know in order to help others. There should be no ulterior motive - no hidden agenda. Although the end goal is to build brand authority, the immediate goal should be to help people. Period.

So that means : 

  • No sneaky CTAs.
  • Keep the content purely informational. This goes a long way in helping build trust.
  • Give value to your readers. 

Do you need brand authority? 

  • It all boils down to trust. Do existing customers trust a brand? 
  • Many brands would dismiss the above reasoning with the counter that they already have a good SEO strategy in place and that their traffic quotas are already being met. So what's the need for more content creation? And although it's true that no traffic means no sales, more if your brand does not have “enough” brand value, there could be plenty of traffic but barely any conversions. Keywords get people to your site. But building brand recognition sells your product and reduces the customer acquisition cost.
  • The way search engines rank pages have also changed novelly over the past decade. Search engines are no longer looking for keyword  optimized pages. Search engines don't just look at the CTRs of searches anymore. They also look at the quality of the page which is measured by what the visitor does after going to the website.

Apart from Brand Authority, Website Authority is often mentioned as a key  factor in improving SEO ranking. Having your website filled with top ranking keywords is no longer enough. As search engines grow smarter, so should your brand marketing strategy. Search engines have to know that the website is for the lack of better terminology “popular” to assign more importance to your brand’s content. 
To sum it all up, if consumers accept you as the leader of your field, your company has brand authority. And cultivating brand authority takes time. You need to build brand recognition to develop trust between you and your consumers and that brand authority should complement the traditional SEO based marketing strategy.

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