We help brands and businesses “Act With Certainty” so they can earn attention and trust while creating meaningful change for themselves and society. As a brand planner, I believe that acting with certainty starts with intention. Starting with intention is also the best way to earn trust in any relationship, whether it be personal or for business.
If people know what a brand’s intentions are with its most precious resources – money and time – then they are better able to determine if it is worth it for them to trust the brand more than its competitors.
Brands need to determine what their “why” or purpose for existing is and how that purpose can best serve communities by supporting the initiatives people are already taking to serve themselves.
Planners are in the business of advice, and our knowledge is our currency. Our remit is to offer clients transformative ways of looking at the world, so they can be there for people when it matters. The best advice I can give to marketers on how to position their brands to better serve the public is to get out of the office. Forgive me for sounding glib, but your next best idea may not be found inside a brainstorm, but rather outside the walls of your office and outside the walls of your mind. Consumers are more than personas in decks or data points.
If you’re a marketer who wants to build trust for your brand, then you must know what matters to consumers. For me, this starts with listening and observing. I learn best by immersing myself in the subcultures and communities that my target audience cares about. As marketers, the best thing we can do is to identify groups that aren’t being heard and amplify their voices.
Instead of ideating on how to get people to support our branded initiatives, we should prioritize supporting organizations and initiatives that are already doing good work at a grassroots level. We don’t have to force people to recreate a wheel that’s already in motion if they’ve already developed it. We should use our resources to make it roll faster and further for the people who have been slowly pushing it along on their own. That’s how to be there when it matters.
Anuli Akanegbu is senior brand planner, Brand, New York, NY.