Have you ever heard the old adage, “What you don’t know can’t hurt you”?

When trying to build out your brand, it’s important to always keep that in the back of your mind.

There is a reason why a consumer walks into a grocery store and pays $2.00 more for a box of Kraft macaroni and cheese, when the no-frills brand right next to it on the shelf has the same exact ingredients.

That reason, is called brand awareness.

But wait, doesn’t the no-frills brand have the same ingredients? Yep. Isn’t it $2.00 less? Yes, it is, but there’s a problem — people aren’t familiar with the off-label brand. They pay $2.00 more for the same product because, initially, they have an awareness of who Kraft is, and well, the box looks a little prettier.

At what moment in time though does that brand awareness become brand trust?

You did know that they aren’t the same thing didn’t you?

(Aside: Identifying that mechanism or moment in your sales or service process that turns awareness into trust is absolutely crucial.)

What exactly is brand trust?

In order to achieve brand trust, it’s important to know exactly what it is.

Customer’s trust your brand when their experiences with your products or services consistently meet or exceed their expectations.

Back to the adage , “What you don’t know can’t hurt you”.

If you are not prepared to meet or exceed customer expectations, don’t even step up to the plate. What the customer doesn’t know can’t hurt them.

It’s better that they have no experience with you at all than a bad experience. It only takes one bad experience for someone to completely write you off and move on.

People tend to remember the negatives longer than the positives. If good news travels fast, bad news travels faster.

It’s crucial to understand the different ways to gain trust as well.

There’s trust you can earn, and trust you can buy.

Companies that can do both are the most successful.

Buying trust

Kraft has been around for a long time. They run ads in popular food magazines, and on the radio and television. Most people know who they are.

To a large degree, they have purchased our awareness through their paid, main-stream marketing efforts. Their consistent exposure to us begins to wear on us, until we become very familiar with them. This familiarity eventually leads to a sense of trust.

As a society, when it comes to purchasing goods and services, we fall into this trap a lot.

We trust people and brands for the wrong reasons, simply because we know who they are — we’ve heard of them. Does that mean they are better?

Of course not, yet we often base our entire purchasing decision on familiarity.

This is something that you should try to take advantage of. More on that in a moment.

Earning trust

When you’re starting from scratch and well before you are in the position to buy trust, you first need to earn it.

Kraft Foods was founded in 1923. Do you think they came out of the gate with trust from their buyers? Of course not. They had to get noticed and earn it, and it took years to do it.

You see where I’m going with this? First you need to get noticed, then you earn the trust, and then you buy it. It’s a cycle that has proven to be the backbone of success for multiple Fortune 500 companies.

Getting noticed

Before you can buy trust, or even earn it, you have to make an entrance into your space. Kraft Foods is at the point now where they don’t necessarily need to make a splash, but if you’re a startup, or  jumping into a competitive niche, you’re going to need to do something to get noticed.

Not that long ago, a buddy of mine Robert Neu over at AuditWP took this literally, and although it was met with some criticism, in my opinion it was genius, and to be honest with you, it’s almost necessary when you are trying to bootstrap a company in a competitive space.

Here is a tweet they sent to well known SEO consultant Neil Patel:

There were several other tweets like this aimed at various other companies and bloggers. There’s two ways to look at this approach — you can either say they called Neil out, or you can say they did him a favor.

I tend to agree with the latter. Personally, I would be thankful that someone pointed something out like that to me. If my fly was down, I’d want someone to tell me asap, even if it was in a public forum.

That’s me though. Some people get offended by stuff like this.

AuditWP isn’t the only company who has done something out of the box like this to generate some buzz. In fact, a lot of people do it.

Look at GoDaddy. Their number one marketing strategy over the last decade has been to advertise half naked pictures and commercials of Danica Patrick.


Of course, this approach isn’t for everyone, and/or every type of business, but the fact remains, that you have to at least have awareness to give yourself a chance.

That said, if you aren’t into making splashes like this, or getting naked, here are some other ways to get your brand noticed, offline.


Regardless of how you go about it, it’s important to recognize the difference between awareness, and actual trust.

Awareness is when people are familiar with you, and give you an opportunity because of that familiarity.

Trust is when people love you, and go out of their way, or pay more, to do business with you only.

Realizing and capitalizing on the mechanism that turns that awareness into trust is what will take your business to a whole new level.

What are you doing (or not doing) to build trust with your clients and customers? Have you found something that’s been working?

Just remember, trust = money.

Let’s talk about it.

Published by Chris Langille

Hey I'm Chris, the creator of Structrd. We're on a mission to help business owners evolve with digital marketing services and coaching.

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