Despite what you might have heard, credibility marketing is about marketing your brand, company, mission, and yourself. Credibility marketing is not about directly promoting your products and services. And it is certainly not about the hard and quick sell. Credibility marketing is about investing and reinvesting in your company brand, message, and mission.
Credibility marketing is about developing and enhancing your presence, stature, authenticity, and respectability so that when you (or your company) has something to say, potential customers and clients will not only listen, they will believe you with minimal skepticism.
Often, this is about sharing information about your mission and what values you stand for. You are also measured by the authenticity (believability/honesty) of the message you convey and portray. Authenticity can sometimes be hard to determine but listeners look to their gut to determine if someone is authentic. However, it is true that good acting can deceive others into thinking that you are authentic when you are not.
Closely aligned with authenticity is congruency. You will also be measured by your congruency. Congruency is the measure and appearance of how you (and your company) behave, act, and respond as it relates to your public message. Are you company actions and responses always consistent with your company’s mission, brand, and messaging? If not, how often are you inconsistent? If your congruency factor is low (less than 70%), your company may be perceived as inconsistent or, even worse, hypocritical. The polar opposite of congruency is hypocrisy. Many have a high distaste for hypocrisy. It is the fastest away to kill credibility marketing efforts.
I believe a powerful way of enhancing and building credibility is the willingness to acknowledge imperfect aspects of yourself and your company. A willingness to express humility, self-deprecation, and imperfections can greatly enhance your credibility. It humanizes your company in the face of other marketing campaigns that say they are “perfect, flawless, the best, the greatest, etc.”
I am not subscribing to openly sharing your critical weaknesses and Achilles Heel so that competitors and others can take advantage of you but showing that you have an ongoing philosophy to self-improve can be an asset to building credibility.
Another powerful way of building your credibility is through education. Educating others is about sharing expertise, knowledge, wisdom, and empowering others with valuable information so they can make an informed decision even if that decision means not buying your company product or services. Short-term, you may lose a sale but in the long-term, you will create goodwill and be remembered favorably for the next buying opportunity.
People who educate place themselves as an authority and expert figure when they teach, train, and instruct others. As a teacher, trainer, instructor, and expert figure, your credibility is almost automatically enhanced. People are listening and learning from you. They are opening their minds to you. They are more receptive to you.
One reason I am a huge proponent of publishing books and audio programs is that authors are often considered experts and teachers in what they write and speak about. Of course, that is not true in every case and every person. But in the professional and business world, authors are still much fewer in number than college graduates. In fact, for most “average” people, their chances of personally knowing someone who is an author (even an unknown one) is much lower than they knowing someone who is a college graduate.
Becoming an author is one of the best ways to build, enhance, and even jump-start your credibility. Holding a book you authored and published in your hands is a powerful symbol that shows your expertise in a subject matter or field.
As I often say, writing and publishing a book is like getting a GED for the college degree. Depending on the subject and quality of your book, it may be like you getting a Bachelor’s, Master’s or even a PhD degree. The difference is that it takes far less time, money, and effort to write a book than to earn an academic degree. Becoming an author is a worthwhile investment for any high-achieving business professional, entrepreneur, consultant, and CEO.
In closing, I am a huge advocate of Credibility Marketing. Large or small business, if you don’t have credibility, people will not believe what you have to say or sell.