4 Smart Ways to Build Brand Trust and a Positive Online Reputation

Image by Fredy Santiago

Creating a brand perception of trust, reliability, and other positive associations is what ensures that customers will continue to buy from you over and over again.

Just take a stroll down the grocery store aisle and you will see why this is true. Why do you choose names like Arm and Hammer for baking soda, Tide for laundry detergent, and Colgate for toothpaste? There are plenty of generic brands offering similar products. And yet consumers will choose name brands (even at a higher price point) simply because these names are associated with quality and people genuinely trust that their product is better than others.

While those afore mentioned brand names have been around for years, even the newest online businesses can make moves to create a brand identity that customers can’t forget.

Here are four simple steps that can do wonders to establish a trustworthy and recognizable brand reputation.

#1. Eliminate Website Conversion Killers

If a customer were to walk into a store that had broken glass, wires hanging from the ceiling, and an old-fashioned cash register with no lock, as well as rude and unhelpful employees, chances are that they would run away without buying a thing.

In the online world, your website is essentially a virtual storefront. Therefore, every detail must make your webpage visitors feel comfortable and eliminate any worries that could cause them to look elsewhere. There are certain features on a website that can either build or destroy how much a customer trusts your brand.

Things like slow loading speeds, unclear navigation, and overall poor design send a message to customers that your brand didn’t put much effort into the UX. The easiest starting point here is to create a trust-building checkout process – issues with this page are the number one reason that a customer will leave a website without a purchase. The best solution is to partner with a trust platform that offers a secure checkout with SSL certification to encrypt and protect consumer data. Make sure that you clearly display these secure website features to better establish a trustworthy brand perception.

#2. Make UGC a Central Marketing Strategy

In general, most consumers are a little skeptical of branded marketing messages. We understand that businesses are not always totally truthful when it comes to advertising and talking about their products. However, we do believe other people, which is why incorporating UGC whenever possible is a smart marketing move for online brands.

According to Statista’s findings, UGC is extremely influential for consumers to not only purchase from that business, but also engage more with the brand. People find other customers trust-worthy; therefore, if your business proudly displays reviews feedback, and visual content from previous buyers, it will make new customers more willing to trust your brand.

Make the most of your reviews and customer-created content by strategically using them as branding material. Use consumer feedback as copy for your social media and post snippets from comments on your website. You may even want to consider sharing UGC pictures and videos regularly to create a brand persona that clearly cares about their customers’ happiness, like the UGC-based Instagram content from Outdoor Voices.

#3. Build Up a Library of External Links

It’s not just what your brand says about itself that creates trust; it’s what others say about you. That said, gathering recommendations from other trusted sources can greatly influence your brand’s reputation.

But, you can’t bank on other websites just mentioning your business by chance, especially if you are a relatively new company on the scene. Since getting organic mentions is uncontrollable and definitely not a guarantee, there is no shame in reaching out to blogs and offering to create content that includes a brand mention. Submit some relevant content pieces that could be featured on their company blog or suggest a collaboration like a giveaway or social media feature.

You can also pay a small fee (or offer a minimal commission rate) to other online sources to share buyable links to your site. For example, Buzzfeed is a popular (and highly trusted) blog site that will regularly feature brands with embedded links to the product site. These are often paid for by those brands, but since the site receives hundreds of millions of visitors daily, it is certainly a valid way to establish brand visibility and recognition.


#4. Nail Your Brand Voice and Stick to it

Let’s say that you are selling nice athletic socks made for runners. Now, in order to reach your intended audience (athletes, runners, and active customers), you will want to show people that your brand is reliable, trustworthy, and knowledgeable. But if all of a sudden you start advertising that your socks are hip and fun and incorporate humor or a more casual voice, it could confuse people about who you are actually trying to market to.

Inconsistent messaging is going to raise some red flags to customers who are confused about what your true brand voice is. In order to eliminate any confusing or conflicting marketing messages that stir up distrust, it is important to define your brand voice before you create any new content. Come up with clear descriptors of your business’s personality. If your brand was a living, breathing thing:

  • How would it talk?
  • How would it dress? (colors, style, etc.)
  • Who would it associate with?
  • Who is the audience that you want to attract?

Once these questions are answered, you will want to make sure that every single branded message you put out lines up with your established voice. If your new advertisement doesn’t exactly make sense with the overall brand persona, then you will want to rethink it in order to avoid confusion.


Since technology now allows brands to exist completely online, brands have to work even harder to stand out from their competition. While strong SEO practices, good marketing strategies, and effective targeting can build awareness and catch your customer’s eye, good branding is really the secret ingredient to increasing conversions.

Building trust between your brand and its customers should be a top priority. Be sure that your team has a unified vision of what your brand voice is and makes every effort to create a recognizable and trustworthy perception through these methods.

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