Everyone seems to have an opinion about brand authority and what it means for you.
From marketing professionals to personal bloggers, there are quite a lot of ideas about what ‘authority’ and ‘branding’ really mean. Despite the inconsistencies and general topic confusion, it is certainly clear that brand authority is something every successful business must have if they want to remain relevant.
What is brand authority, why do you need it, and what makes this condition so hard to achieve?
What Is Brand Authority?
We’ll start with the easy questions first. Brand authority is defined by professional marketing groups in many different ways, although its core never changes: the customer’s perceived expertise of your business.
This is the feeling customers get when they read your monthly newsletters, scan through your case studies, or like your Facebook posts on their feed. Brand authority has the potential to grow or shrink over time, and is rarely ever stagnant in the marketplace.
Your company’s ability to build legitimacy in the eyes of a patron is contingent on several facets of brand authority, including quality content marketing, business reviews, SEO, and thought leadership. Each of these (and many more) have an important impact on your perceived expertise, and therefore must be carefully curated in order to develop solid authority.
Businesses want brand authority because of the overall leadership and confidence it instills in customers. Not only are patrons more likely to buy from a brand they trust and admire, but they are able to develop deep connections that keep them coming back for more over and over again. Establishing a relationship with your customers on an emotional level is paramount to finding your place in the industry’s niche, no matter how vertical the market is.
Of course, establishing positive brand authority in today’s digital marketplace isn’t just difficult: it’s almost impossible.
Don’t let too much of the doom and gloom get to you, though. There are several principles that, when applied correctly, boost your brand authority and audience credibility over time.
Principles Worth Following For Brand Authority
Your customers want to put their confidence in a brand. They want to know that your products are high quality and produce the outcome expected. They desire to know if they can communicate with your company and speak to patient customer service agents. More, they want to see it all in action.
Here are some winning principles for developing brand authority in your business.
Evaluate Your SEO
Like it or not, all of your online content is rated for authority by search bots and AI programs. Every time a user searches for a topic that your company has digital content competing for, an AI bot will ‘crawl’ through your page looking for an authority rating. The actual algorithm and rating score given to you by tech giants is fairly hush-hush, but the principles of good SEO never has been.
High quality content and relevant backlinks are the two most important areas to consider when competing for content authority. Audit your content and look for ways to improve, beginning with keyword research and graphics. Make sure that you are adding relevant backlinks to pages with authority and credibility to boost your claims.
Vet Your Social Media
There have been more and more social media blunders in recent years, many of which have spelled disaster for brands and their bottom lines. Pick through your social media posts with a fine-toothed comb, searching for inconsistencies, poor phrasings, or distressing content.
Keeping a content calendar on hand is an excellent way to check your posts before they go live. Ensure that more than one pair of eyes is searching the calendar for missteps that could cause your brand authority to weaken.
Boost Your Website Game
While this is relatively common knowledge, it is important to focus heavily on developing a user friendly website for your brand. Not only do search engines like Google check websites for authority and UX design, but customers themselves will bounce from your page at the first sign of unreliability.
Clearly state your address, phone number, contact information, and services on the front page of your website. Claim your Google My Business profile to start collecting reviews and testimonials. Most of all, curate a blog or article repository to catch clicks coming from relevant searches.
Examples Of Brand Authority: The Best And Worst
Every brand has some form of brand authority, and each company has a unique brand authority score that is continuously being modified. From small businesses to national franchises, companies have been doing things right (and wrong) for a very long time.
Let’s take a look at some of the best and worst examples of brand authority management in the global marketplace.
Patagonia Speaks Out
An excellent example of thought leadership and brand authority, Patagonia encourages its platform of outdoorsmen and environmentalists to trust both the brand and its beliefs. All social media posts are relevant, timely, and carefully vetted for inconsistencies.
The company is dedicated to a mix of personal values and motivations, all of which tie into its products. The company donates a minimum of 1% of sales or up to 10% of their profits to environmental campaigns that focus on their beliefs. Their commitment to excellence has not gone unnoticed.
The USPS Shreds Public Sentiment
The United States Postal Service has been struggling to stay afloat and relevant for several years, often missing the mark in terms of their personal brand authority.
The brand often creates social media blunders that mar public confidence and market respect, as well as frequently fail to engage meaningfully with online customers. Their now-infamous Tweet did little to help: “If your child addresses a letter to the North Pole, leave it with us. We do shredding.” This incident alone was perhaps one of the biggest brand authority botches in recent years.
How To Start Developing Your Brand Authority
Armed with the above principles and case studies, you can begin to develop a vision of brand authority for yourself. If you have already established some sort of online presence, it will be imperative to conduct a content audit and social media listening campaign to identify where you stand.
If your digital presence is more limited, it would be wise to begin by pulling a marketing team together for an important conversation about expectations moving forward. Finally, if you have no online presence or brand authority yet, it will be important to start out on the right foot.
Walk forward in confidence with the content solutions you need for brand authority today.