We are ladies who own a business focused on growing sustainable brands and we built a methodology that goes against marketing tradition. Yeah, “authority” isn’t generally our favorite word to throw around. Until you start talking about brand authority.
Growing the authority of a sustainable brand is one of the only times we’re cool with the active pursuit of gaining authority because it’s actually one of the best ways to support your audience in the long run. And not in that weird “do what I say” kind way.
What is Brand Authority?
In the plainest sense of the word, “authority” is having the power to make decisions or offer guidance that affect the lives of other people.
Having brand authority means that when shit hits the fan (like, oh say, a pandemic) your customers and your audience are likely to come looking to you for guidance on how they should behave.
This is another way of looking at brand trust.
In general, brand trust and brand authority go hand in hand. Often times, authority comes first because you’ve shown that you have expertise in a subject matter. When a new audience member learns that you know your shit, they are more likely to trust your overall message and become a loyal customer.
Brand Authority is Subjective
As a brand, you aren’t going to become the end-all, be-all decision maker in someone’s life (that would be weird, and probably super unhealthy).
The sphere of influence you have changes depending on the type of authority you have. Most people don’t want to hear about business finances from their skincare brand because money stuff isn’t where the brand voice holds weight. This is true, even if the skincare brand is WILDLY successful. It’s kind of strange, right? But that’s how it works.
When you start to think about the person you’re serving, not just the two-dimensional customer. The people that like your posts, listen to your emails, and follow your accounts have other voices in their heads too. You’re contending with bosses, spouses, peers, family members, the media, influencers, and other brands for authoritative space in your audience’s decision making process.
7 Ways to Grow Your Brand Authority
1 – Take your time.
This is arguably the biggest part of authority building. It just takes time. You have to stick with it and keep spreading your message. If people keep bumping into you and hearing your voice, they’ll eventually give you the chance to show them what you’re made of!
2 – Build a real relationship.
When someone gives you a chance and listens to your message, build a relationship that you care about and they’ll care too. Be grateful for the chance to share what you know, and don’t begrudge an audience member for not holding your voice above everyone else in their life. You’re not the center of their world, and they will appreciate it if you keep that in mind too.
3 – Brand authority comes with consistency
You have to earn the trust of the people that come into your sphere of relevance. Email and post on social media consistently, have a solid grasp on your branding guidelines, and don’t change your message all the time. If you’re a skincare brand, talk about skincare and self care – not how to balance your checkbook.
4 – Learn how to leverage your voice
There are so many voices out there shouting for attention that getting louder (making more) can make you easier to ignore. Instead of adding more noise to the fray, find the cracks of uncertainty in your ideal customer and add some leverage. You only need one in, so research your ideal customer and find where they feel uncertain within your scope of expertise.
5 – Create really valuable content in your niche.
One really solid post a week is better than 7 subpar ones. Go deep and get specific. Creating brand authority is about being the voice that your customers hear in their heads when they are making choices that relate to your niche. To do that, they have to trust that you have the answers they need. If you’re giving them surface level stuff, you aren’t going to be an AUTHORITY in your space.
6 – Create valuable content in connected niches.
This is an unpopular opinion, and it should be utilized with care. BUT once you start to see traction in your own niche, reach out and touch a related one with your content. Your goal isn’t to build authority in the side niche, it’s to gather attention from related topics and funnel more people into the niche that you do own. This also provides extra value to your loyal customers and it shows that you’re as well rounded as they are. For instance. We work with sustainable brands – so we decided that instead of just marketing content, we would also build sustainability content through the EnvironMental Podcast.
7 – Just be the brand authority.
Fake it till you make it. You’re not going to build your authority base overnight, that’s not how this works. But you can start creating content like you’re already an authority in your niche right now, so do it. You’re not going to gain traction or recognition in your line of work until you start acting like the mature, responsible brand you want to be seen as.
Want to talk about how to build the authority in your business in particular? Send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.