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5 Ways Design Allows You to Build a Trustworthy Brand

Monday 15 April 2019

13 minute read

By Tom Mather

Trust is often a word that is ‘branded’ about, but few businesses understand the benefits of being seen to be trustworthy and others assume that they are. After all, trust is something that has to be earned.

Similarly, design is very much reliant on personal opinion and usually people don’t really need a reason not to like something. However, with sector research and an understanding of your target audience, design will have the desired, positive effect. 

In most cases, purchasing decisions are made based on the transparency, consistency and reputation of your brand. People do not necessarily buy in to what you do, it’s more about why you do it.

We'll cover a few points in this post about how design can create trust for your brand, as well as the simple changes that you can implement going forward.

1. Brand and Positioning

Let's start with the most important element - branding. How it looks, feels and the perceptions that it creates, your brand is at the core of your business.

We believe that a strong well-positioned brand is the key to the success of any business. A strong brand begins to look more like a belief system that customers will stand behind, ultimately adopting its claims and shouting about to others.

The visual elements of your brand should be able to tell your customers everything they need to know about you and will create the right perceptions from the outset. First impressions and gut feelings matter when building trust.

Don’t worry if you feel that the look or positioning of your brand is having the opposite effect. There is a way to resolve this!

Rebranding your business and realigning your marketing strategy will allow you to open up to a new target audience and show existing customers that you are continually investing in and developing your company - a great opportunity for any business!

2. Content and Communication

It’s not necessarily just about what you are saying, it’s how you are saying it. Creating a marketing plan, setting your brand voice and defining how you communicate is a critical element to building trust.

An overuse of strong, bold text across large blocks of body copy can come across as aggressive and ‘shouty’, as well as having very little hierarchy of information. Remember, not only can the design of the text be used to highlight key messages, it can also hold the readers' interest and make it easier for them to take in the information.

Another key element of effective communication is to engage with your target audience on their desired platforms. Trust cannot be built into a brand if customers have to communicate with you on your terms. Communicating with people on their terms shows that you are a personable brand that cares about your customers, but also, you understand your customers.

Finally, targeting your message to specific platforms can ensure that it reaches the right market - after all, there's no point shouting about your company if there isn’t anybody out there listening! 

3. Consistency

There is nothing more frustrating than inconsistency, whether that is using the wrong fonts or colours, low resolution imagery or even displaying your logo incorrectly - giving off a ‘that will do’ attitude will not engage your customers.

As well as covering the above, make sure that you review all media and consider how third-party elements should work within your brand. Consistently meeting, and ideally, exceeding expectations will help to strengthen both your reputation and reliability.

A good starting place can be with creating - and sticking to - a simple brand guidelines document will help to ensure that your brand basics are adhered to.

It is also important to make sure that you are using the same language and tone in everything that you do, keeping your message clear and concise. Remember, less is more, especially online.

4. Transparency

In today's digital age and with the ability to access information at our fingertips, it’s not as easy for businesses to say one thing and do another.

By actively seeking feedback, being honest and oversharing information, and also being clear on how you use peoples data, you are embracing transparency. This allows you to build real connections and strengthen relationships with your clients and prospects.

Using cookies and analytics on your website, will not only show that you care about the users privacy but that you are looking to improve their overall journey and experience, when they are interacting with your brand.

5. Form and Functionality

Design is not just how something looks, it is also how well it works. 

When it comes to the look and feel of your website, no matter how amazing it looks, it can drive people away if it does not work properly. This is not going to give the user a good experience of your brand, develop connections or inspire trust.

Going back to engaging with your clients and prospects on their desired platforms, make sure that your web and digital marketing translates across various operating systems, browsers and screen sizes without any issues. Just because your website looks as it should in Google Chrome does not mean that it will instantly work in Microsoft Edge or Safari. 

What next?

It’s clear that trust is key to success of any business and even the smallest of details are important to building brand trust.

No matter the size of your organisation, trust focused brands rely on consistency, transparency and reputation. The main goal of any business is to build long lasting relationships with your clients, who evangelise about you to others.

Keeping your interactions almost human-like and personal, will help you to effectively communicate your content and build connections with your prospects.

Hopefully, this has helped you understand the importance of trust and how you can achieve this through design. Don’t have a "that'll do" attitude towards your branding. Remember, first impressions and gut feelings really do matter.  

To find out more about how we can help your brand, or have a brand audit, please feel free to get in touch.

If you're looking to embark on a website build project, whether it's completely from scratch or a site refresh, our ebook will give you the knowledge to make your project as stress-free as possible.

The Website Design Handbook for Businesses

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