Secrets of the 10 Most-Trusted Brands: Nike

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7. Can-do attitude: Nike

On its website, Nike declares its mission to “bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world,” adding, “If you have a body, you are an athlete.”Emineo Media nike-just-do-it2

It’s that aspirational message and mainstream appeal that connects the athletic apparel company to consumers worldwide, according to branding consultant Kevin Lane Keller, professor of marketing at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. “Nike’s always been extremely customer-focused, with a broad access point that makes the brand relevant to elite athletes as well as the everyday person,” Keller says. “It’s about self-empowerment and being your best, and the brand really does invite everyone to ‘Just Do It.'”

Nike’s constant product development, including introducing technologies such as Nike Air cushioning and Dri-Fit fabrics, is one of its biggest strengths, according to Keller, who says that consumers tend to equate innovation with expertise.

“When you’re innovative, consumers are more trusting, because they think you really know what you’re doing,” he says. “Nike’s first product was just the first step on this journey that’s allowed them to completely transcend their roots as a quality running shoe to be everything athletic, all over the world, in all kinds of sports.”

Keller says Nike gains trust points because celebrated co-founder Phil Knight is still involved with operations, a fact noted by one survey respondent who claimed to be “confident that [Knight’s] company would always behave responsibly.”

Notes Keller, “When the founder is still there, people respect the brand in a way that doesn’t happen when the reins have been handed down over and over. Having his voice and persona still associated with the company keeps it closely connected to the consumer.”

Source Entrepreneur

Secrets of the 10 Most-Trusted Brands: Ford

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6. Stay consistent: Ford

In an era when the only thing that seems certain is change, Ford’s consistent branding has established the company as a beacon of reliability.

The Blake Project’s VanAuken points out that from its simple, one-syllable name to its iconic logo and emphasis on founding father Henry Ford, the company’s brand identity stands the test of time.

“Everyone knows and admires the Ford story,” he says. “Of the three Detroit-based automakers, Ford has the most consistent brand, product strategy and execution.” Emineo Media ford

Ford also listens to and acts on its customers’ needs, VanAuken adds, noting that CEO Alan Mulally is actively involved in interacting with customers through social media.

Those attributes forge a strong connection: The brand ranked high for stability and dependability, and respondents gave it the strongest average ratings for concern, specifically for behaving responsibly and caring about the well-being of employees and customers. Several respondents cited Ford’s refusal to take government bailout money as evidence of the company’s integrity.

VanAuken emphasizes that consistency needs to reach all corners of any business. “Changing the logo, tag line and messaging on a frequent basis will ensure that nothing about your brand sticks in your intended customers’ heads,” he says. “Once you have developed a unique and compelling value proposition for your brand, repeat it again and again.”

Source Entrepreneur

Secrets of the 10 Most-Trusted Brands: Target

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5. Design an experience: Target

It’s easy to forget that Target is a discount store. With its sleek, stylish ad campaigns and collaborations with high-end designers who create limited-edition merchandise that sends fashionistas into a frenzy, Target’s public face often belies its mass-merchant status.Emineo Media bullseye-target

Further distinguishing it from its superstore brethren, Target consistently delivers an exceptional retail experience–from store design to merchandise selection to price and customer service.

“Target makes a real effort to provide an enjoyable shopper experience, but you still get quality merchandise at a good price,” says branding consultant Rob Frankel. “As part of their brand persona, they make an effort to be warm and human, and that resonates with people and drives them to embrace it.”

Thanks to easy-to-maneuver layouts and a consistent design, Target’s retail outlets are easy and intuitive places to shop, giving customers confidence they will be able to find what they want, even on a vast selling floor. “It’s not only more pleasant than their competitors; people actually enjoy being there,” Frankel says.

Target customers also appreciate the brand’s ability to design attractive yet affordable merchandise–most notably, an ever-changing array of trendy clothing and home accessories. “Target says [it’s] going to give you a decent alternative that can hold up against more expensive fashion brands,” Frankel says.

Customer service is friendly and consistent, as several survey respondents noted, from the way “cashiers look for people in line and direct them to a less crowded line,” to the perceptions that “they always have enough employees in the store at one time” and that “their customers are considered guests.”

Frankel says businesses should recognize that providing a warm, human experience will foster the kind of trust that lets them command higher margins, drive traffic and enjoy better brand perception than their competitors. “No matter what you sell, if you don’t give people a reason to go, they’re not going to figure it out by themselves, because price alone just doesn’t do it,” he says.

Source Entrepreneur