Most people have good intuition.

Good intuition means that we can identify something we it seems fishy…not right…

This also holds true in the case of everything that we purchase, things that we believe in, people we choose to be with, content that we consume. In general, people love things that seem believable, honest, trustworthy.

This is where the need to build an honest brand comes into the picture. Your customers want to know why you’re doing, what you’re doing. In this article, we’re going to see how you can build an honest brand that people can’t stop raving about.  

Table of contents

Why Does Honest Branding Matter?   

In a survey conducted in September 2020 regarding brand loyalty in India, consumers were asked whether trust is an important attribute when choosing a brand;

39% of the respondents said trust is the most important aspect of choosing a brand.

Trust builds up by being honest with your offerings. Brand honesty helps you to stand out of the crowd by catching everyone’s attention with both the good and bad side of your company.

Brand honesty also helps you manage customer expectations; by being open about your flaws, incompetencies, and rawness, you can better control the brand image and reputation.

When you’re honest, you don’t have to hide anything. Even if it is an unclear label on the package, which makes it difficult to read, your customers won’t bother because you’ve already accepted the fact that it is part of the process. Conversely, if you’re not honest, they’ll start making viral comments on social media about your services.

Brand honesty helps you to smoothly navigate through difficult situations at the time of crises because you’ve already built trust through honest communication with your customers.

Here are 7 ways through which you can build a strong, honest brand.

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7 Ways to Build an Honest Brand

Here’s a list of seven time-tested ways to build and nurture your brand with a handful of honesty.

Brand Awareness

It is like an exercise that every brand must follow before building an honest brand. It’s important to be crystal clear about what you stand for, your brand value, brand vision, and mission because it will be an integral part of your brand strategy.

Creating an ideal customer avatar helps you attract customers you really want to serve. We’ve evidenced it through Nike’s most successful ‘Just do it’ campaign. They were able to provide the best customer experience because they knew their audience from the core.

Show The ‘Dark Side’

Nowadays everybody boasts about how great they are. What should make you different is that you share the good and positives of your brand and the dark and ugly side.

The Hans Brinker Hostel in Amsterdam, Netherlands, has been positioning itself as the worst brand for more than 10 years because it wants to attract customers who aren’t looking for the best. It focuses on the typical hostel tourist, backpacking across Europe for adventure or at least a temporary escape from college.

It has created a lot of buzz by honestly admitting that germs and bugs live in their bedsheets to attract customers!

Elaborate Competitive Advantage

We all want to be at the top of the ladder; competition continues to rise, there’s going to be first and second. What should set you apart is your honest branding approach. You need to elaborate on the fact that you’re not like other brands that just want to be ahead of the competition, but you’re an honest brand that is genuinely trying to meet customers’ expectations.

Avis has been one of the biggest brands embracing this strategy for ages. The car rental service acknowledged competitors in its adverts for more than 50 years but consistently ran with the slogan: “When you’re only No. 2, you try harder” – later shortened to “We try harder.” 

They didn’t set unrealistic customer expectations by saying, ‘We’re the best; they just showed their competitive advantage – trying harder than the rest, and stayed ahead of the competition for over 50 years!

Be Transparent

The best way to build honest branding is by being transparent.

Transparency is the act of sharing the most sensitive data, confidential information with the public. This shows that you have nothing to hide, and you’re open to sharing a few secrets with the audience.

It is particularly important because potential customers want to know more about company values, how you handle internal and external affairs, brand management, manufacturing processes, etc.

Patagonia is the top apparel company that has implemented transparency to the best level. They use videos to showcase everything related to products, from sourcing material to manufacturing products.

“They can see slideshows, videos, and interviews of the people behind the product. But more importantly, these slides, videos, and interviews discuss what is good about the product and what sucks. It’s good and bad. It’s total transparency,” Rick Ridgeway, VP for Environmental initiatives at Patagonia, explains.

Use Attraction Marketing

In the digital world, content exists in different forms.

It can be text, video, podcast, social media content, blog, etc. It’s just a medium to spread messages to your ideal customers. What works behind the scene is ENERGY!

You must be aware of the fact that the universe works on the law of attraction. It holds true in the case of content marketing as well. You can attract honest customers by being honest with your approach to marketing.

A great example of an honest brand using attraction marketing is Chrissy Teigen’s Cravings brand. Her services include cookbooks, kitchen products, and a cooking blog with recipes and tips under the same Cravings Brand. Chrissy Teigen’s Instagram is packed with daily cooking content as well. 

Loosely defined, her target audience includes people who love home cooking. She attracts her target audience to her Cravings brand by providing valuable content that home chefs flock to. 

Attraction marketing is the great strategy of building an honest company by being who you are!

Tell Stories

The story is what sets you apart from the crowd. Many brands will copy your content, strategy, techniques, or methods, but they can’t copy your story; it’s the only thing that makes you UNIQUE!

Sharing honest stories with your ideal customers must be an essential part of our branding strategy.

Another worth mentioning fact is that stories evoke emotions, and we, humans, are emotional beings. If you’re able to connect at an emotional level with your ideal customers, you win the race!

This is best expressed by two of the world’s most established brands Reebok and Nike.

Both Reebok and Nike were started by people who wanted to make better running shoes.

This powerful brand positioning allowed both companies to flourish in the 1980s. Further, both companies leveraged this initial growth by signing celebrity athletes to promote their products.

But by the 1990s, something had changed: Nike had pulled well ahead in the race for consumer affection, attention, and money.

This happened because Reebok lost focus. Instead of building on their story—the passion that their founders had for creating innovative sports gear—they veered off in a different direction with their Rebook lets U.B.U campaign.

Ultimately, this diversification of products confused consumers, which was all Nike needed to pull ahead—way ahead.

Reebok’s mistake wasn’t that they tried to differentiate themselves from their main competitor. There’s nothing wrong with that. No, the misstep was in deviating from their true story.

Meanwhile, Nike continued building their brand. They continued their story marketing campaign. Today, the company enjoys over $2-billion in annual sales.

Deliver Brand Promises on Time

The brand promise is the commitment you show to the customers that connect with you through various channels. It can be as little as delivering a pdf guide that you promised or the kind of service that you claimed you’d provide.

It’s kind of a process of building trust because the audience will notice every single detail about your brand and may decide to further trust or not.

McDonald’s is a brand heard ’round the world. With over 33,000 restaurants in 119 countries, the company has to be doing something right—and the core of its success is its brand values. 

They are the first job for many, involved with local communities and always seeking new ways to improve what they do best. When customers see the Golden Arches, they know what they can expect: simple, easy enjoyment with great service, cleanliness, and value.

This is the brand promise McDonald’s stands behind. Their more recent slogan, “I’m lovin’ it,” is a simple phrase in itself, one that can be translated easily within every international market the company serves. Mcdonald’s brand promise is effective because the company consistently delivers uncomplicated fun with value and service to customer after customer.

Summing Up Honest Branding

We are living in the ‘age of customers’ where people decide whom they want to trust and build relationships with; winning customers’ hearts is the ultimate goal of every brand, and that can be done by adopting honest branding.