By Chris Christoff, co-founder of MonsterInsights

When you own a business, the first step is creating a relationship of trust between you and your audience. Without that, you’d never see any brand growth or return on investment (ROI) coming in. Your audience is what keeps your business running, so it’s important to create a brand story that’s centered around them and what they need.

According to Harvard Business Review, one of the best ways to gauge a customer’s passion for a brand is whether or not they trust it. However, doing so isn’t always as easy as it sounds. It’s difficult to come across as authentic if you aren’t real, upfront and honest about the background of your business and why you started it in the first place. It’s your brand’s core values and beliefs that make up why people gravitate toward it in the first place.

Let’s look at a few different ways you can create an authentic brand story to help you build trust with your audience.

Tell the story.

Go back to the very beginning of your business venture. The details of your start are a crucial part of your brand story because they make up the answers to why your company exists and who it caters to.

Focus on how your business helps its target market. The best way to create a brand story that resonates with people is to focus on the people themselves and how their problems are solved or their lives are improved because of what your business offers. It’s best to avoid making your brand story all about how amazing it is and like no other on the planet -- that doesn’t tell your audience much about what it can do for them.

Think back to what motivated you to start your business. It can’t just be because you wanted to make buckets full of money, as most people will tune out immediately. People need a deeper reason to connect with your brand and boasting about yours isn’t going to help. What’s your mission in having your business? How are you trying to help your audience? Include these important details in your brand story.

Understand your audience.

It’s impossible to create a working, effective brand story without knowing your audience like the back of your hand. They should be the reason behind why you do what you do, which is to help your target audience and cater to their needs.

The best way to know who you’re marketing to is by creating buyer personas of your ideal customers. These are profiles of your customers laying out the details about their lifestyles, pain points, problems and interests. There are many ways to gather information to create buyer personas:

  • Send out customer surveys or questionnaires asking your audience about themselves.
  • Email your existing subscribers encouraging them to reply with answers to your questions.
  • Use social media to figure out what your target audience currently needs or is interested in.
  • Look at the audience of competitors in your niche to see what they’re saying, buying and having issues with.

Once you’ve gathered enough information about your ideal customers, you’ll be able to create a marketing strategy centered around them. This will help your business efforts because you’re catering to your customers and encouraging them to stick around and trust your brand.

Keep it consistent.

Why would anyone stay loyal to a brand that says one thing and then does something to completely contradict that statement? If you want to create an authentic brand story, you need to make sure your business values stay consistent through every strategy, post and product. You’re compromising the relationship you’ve spent so much time building with your audience if you don’t hold your brand to the beliefs and standards you’ve already established.

The better you are at keeping your brand message consistent across all areas of your business, the better chances you have at being authentic and letting that resonate with your audience. The more you show this quality as part of your business, the more people will trust you and invest in your company. Showing inconsistent, wishy-washy values is a good way to lose customers fast.

Wrapping up.

If your business is going to grow and achieve the goals you’ve set in place, you must first establish a relationship of trust with your audience. Without it, there’s no foundation to create an authentic brand story that encourages people to choose your brand over its competitors. Be consistent in your mission and values, learn about your audience and share your story with the world.

Chris Christoff is the co-founder of MonsterInsights, the leading WordPress plugin for Google Analytics.

Published on: Jul 18, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.