When marketers of professional services turn to branding as a way of differentiating their product offerings, they would do well to consider the subtle power of success stories.

Why?

Because brand identity is largely about building trust, and success stories—or marketing cases—are credible testimonials that demonstrate how your firm has lived up to that brand promise.

In their 1996 paper titled “Sales Training to Build Trust in Buyer-Seller Relationships,” University of Alabama at Birmingham professors Richardson, Swan and Bowers identified five elements of trust: dependability, honesty, competence, customer orientation and likeability.

They found that one of the best ways to convey each of those elements was with “proof sources,” or customer testimonials.

Even though these elements of trust reflect many of the underlying values of an effective branding campaign, a Google search on “brand development” yields an endless stream of marcom sites stressing the importance of logos, company names, Web site designs and clever taglines.

Although these are all key aspects of an identification strategy, branding is really about how customers feel when they hear and see that creative collateral.

Naturally, the primary objective of a series of client testimonials is to clearly demonstrate how your firm has “done the job and done it well.” In addition to spotlighting particular areas of expertise, though, cases can also provide an excellent venue for expressing brand emotions.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Carl Hedberg Carl Hdberg is a business writer who specializes in success stories, business school teaching cases, and other interview-driven projects. Reach him at carl@wordwrite.net