Picture this: you’re scrolling through Instagram, and you come across a mesmerizing photo. It almost looks too good to be true. After some careful consideration, you scoff to yourself: “it’s Photoshopped!”
You don’t say it’s edited, modified, or altered. No, the first word that slips out is “Photoshopped.” Do you see what’s happened?
Over time, the Adobe Photoshop software has become so widespread that people now use it as a verb in colloquial language. All other photo editing software can’t hold a candle to the well-established and omnipresent Photoshop.
In other words, Adobe Photoshop has thwarted all its competition by establishing authority. If you want your brand to stand out among the competition, you must do the same.
So, what exactly is authority marketing, and how can you achieve it? Let’s find out.
What is a brand authority in marketing?
To have authority means to have power, influence, sway, or clout— things for which all businesses aspire.
However, in the business sphere, this kind of authority is not something that is asserted but rather gained. Your business or brand will have authority in your industry if your consumer base trusts you (both the brand itself and the face of the brand) enough to effectively solve their problems.
Therefore, having brand authority means that consumers see you as an expert in the industry. As such, they will be confident in your ability, over your competitors, to cater to their needs without fail. This is because you have proven to them, time and time again, that your brand is the most trustworthy among other players in the game.
Brand authority is a step beyond brand awareness. While many people are aware of K-Mart, they’re more likely to shop at Walmart or Target because the latter two have established themselves as authoritative leaders in the industry.
Why is authority essential in marketing?
Well, it all comes down to trust.
Once people recognize that you know what you’re doing, you’ll become their go-to. Every time they want a product, service, or information, they’ll immediately think of your brand.
As such, brand authority accelerates the growth of your company by:
- Increasing lead generation, as potential customers will be more intrigued by your reliable brand.
- Improving your conversion rates, as people are more likely to take desirable action if it’s presented by a trustworthy source (i.e., your brand).
- Increasing customer retention by giving them reasons to remain loyal to you.
- Boosting the number of backlinks to your website, as even other websites will consider you a reliable source of information.
- Attracting the attention of influencers in your industry, who can then help you promote your brand further.
The 5 pillars of authority marketing
There are countless ways in which you can establish authority for your brand, which we’ll get to in a bit.
But regardless of what methods you pursue, it’s all about accomplishing the following five pillars of authority marketing.
1. Brand image
Your brand image is how people perceive you. Hence, you need to provide them something solid on which to base their perceptions. The most effective way to do this is by defining your niche through your personal mission, journey, philosophy, and community.
For example, Rolls-Royce is an automobile maker, but there are countless automobile makers in the industry. What sets Rolls-Royce apart from its competition is its brand image of luxury, opulence, and wealth.
If you’re aiming for authority, your brand needs to have a presence everywhere.
In today’s digital and media-driven world, establishing omnipresence is easy. By making media appearances, increasing your backlinks, and improving your referral marketing, your brand will be the talk of the town. Everywhere people turn, they need to see your brand.
3. Public appearances
People won’t trust what they can’t see, which is why having a brand ambassador is important. You need to show your customers that there is a living, breathing person behind the brand on whom they can pin their hopes and expectations.
As such, you need to maximize your public presence through seminars, events, social media, etc.
If you’re not knowledgeable, why should people trust you as an authority?
Effective content marketing, case studies, research, public debates, books, and even divulging the secrets of your brand can do wonders for public perception about your knowledgeability.
People need to have an emotional commitment to your brand to remain loyal to it. So, how do you draw out this emotional commitment? By allowing your consumers to directly engage and build a relationship with you!
Through things like social media interactions, brand events, and user-generated content, your brand can develop an unwavering connection with its consumers.
4 ideas to achieve authority through marketing
Now that you know the essential pillars of authority marketing, it’s time to put them to use and garner authority for your brand. Here are some ideas to help you get started.
1. Answer questions through on-site content
According to a survey by Hubspot, websites are the second-most popular channels of marketing. In order to extract effective marketing use out of your website, you need to infuse your website with information that people most often seek.
For example, if you’re a clothing brand, you should provide an elaborate clothing size chart on your website.
Here’s the catch, though: if you search up “clothing size chart” on Google, you get over 603 million results. But the one that comes out on top is by Grivet Outdoors, in which they provide 12 different size charts.
So, in order to stand out, you need to go the extra mile to be the brand your customers want by covering size charts across genders, countries, and types of clothing (casual shirts, dress shirts, junior sizes). Don’t let your customers leave your website with any questions on their minds. Otherwise, they will turn to someone else— someone with more authority.
2. Make guest appearances on podcasts
In 2021, there were 383.7 million podcast listeners all over the world. Not only that, but the average podcast listener subscribes to at least six different shows. If you can make a guest appearance on even a handful of popular podcasts, that’s a lot of prospective customers you can reach.
Participating in podcasts is a casual yet effective way to get your name and, by extension, your brand’s name out into the world. When you appear on podcasts, you have the perfect context to show listeners and viewers that there is an actual, ordinary yet knowledgeable human being behind your brand.
Take, for example, Elon Musk’s appearance on Joe Rogan’s podcast.
Granted, the episode did spark up a controversy owing to Musk’s recreational indulgences on the show. However, it ultimately allowed audiences to connect with Musk as he showcased his far-reaching knowledge, disclosed his life experiences, and endorsed his mission.
Who knew that behind the robotic, aloof facade of an unsociable billionaire was a grounded, funny, and impressively intelligent man? Even people who were initially critical of Musk admitted that the man knew what he was doing; they acknowledged his authority.
3. Host a brand event
Hosting events is a form of experiential marketing whereby customers can engage with businesses in real life. By participating in brand events, customers can develop a lasting relationship with brands— something they can’t do through commercials or newsletters.
In other words, brand events bolster customer loyalty.
A well-executed example of experiential marketing through events is the athletic apparel retailer Lululemon’s Proud and Present campaign. The campaign was in celebration of Pride Month, calling forth the community, as well as its own employees, to reflect on issues relating to the LGBTQ+ community.
Following this weeks-long reflective process, Lululemon then fashioned an art installation at the Hudson River Park, in which they displayed the responses. Passerbys would then peruse and contemplate these issues while also participating in a community-based yoga activity.
The effect of this campaign was multifold. It helped establish Lululemon’s brand image as an ally, created user-generated content, and increased brand awareness.
4. Publish your own case studies and research
The quickest way to establish authority in your industry is by presenting yourself as a knowledgeable and scholarly source of information.
By dispensing your far-reaching knowledge about subjects related to your niche, you can garner a lot of customer confidence in your brand. Plus, there’s also the added benefit of media coverage, backlinks, and referrals for your brand.
Take, for example, Charles D. Epstein’s book, “Paycheck For Life.” While there were plenty of competitors in the financial industry, Epstein made his company stand out from the crowd by literally writing the book on finances.
Of course, not everyone has the time, resources, or skill set to write a successful book.
Not to worry, though; you can still easily pursue case studies, surveys, and other long-form content to showcase your unique take on a subject. Not only that, but they will also attest to the effectiveness and value of your products and services.
Authority equals trust
Among the hundreds, if not thousands, of other brands offering the same products and services as you, why should people swear their loyalty to you? What makes you so special?
If you have authority, you have the allegiance of your customers based on your brand image, sound knowledge, and involvement in the community. Just as some people identify themselves as an “iPhone person” or a “PlayStation person,” they could identify themselves as an insert-your-brand-name-here person— if you play your cards right.
In case you need help with establishing your authority through various marketing channels, give Point Visible a call and see how they can get you there.
Wesley Cherisien is an industry-leading speaker, trainer, entrepreneur, and tech investor who has penned hundreds of articles, books, and training guides for organizations in the Fortune 500, consultants, and authors spanning across multiple industries. Chief Editor of wesleycherisien.com, Wesley is a creative and highly innovative thinker with 10+ years of experience writing for online publications.