Julian Hooper

Four Elements of Trust: Authority

Make sure you’re viewed as the best option in your niche by building authority. If people trust that you know what you’re talking about, they will trust your business and want to engage with you.

Having authority means that you have credibility in your field, and command respect because of that. This could be as simple as listening deeply to what your customers want and delivering that particular thing better than anyone else.

Authority does not necessarily mean you need to have market leadership, but it does mean that you should be recognised as standing at the forefront of your niche and being a viable choice amongst competitors.

Let’s see a couple of examples:

Authority can stem from history

Colgate is the market leader in the category of toothpaste. Owned by Colgate-Palmolive, it is found globally and available in some 200 countries. As a market leader, its strategy is defensive and it deploys multiple new products segmented across different aspects in order to block competitors. For example, there are toothpastes for whitening, tartar control, enamel restoring, and more. Colgate was the first collapsible toothpaste tube in the world. This history gives it authority. Its advertising strategy, as a market leader, is to remind and reinforce to customers that they have made the right decision.

Position yourself well to build authority

The Paracetamol brand Herron began as recently as 1982. The company chose a niche segment and positioned itself as an Australian-made product for Australians. Priced comparatively with the market leader, Panadol, Herron Gold used gold and green packaging and was able to tap into a national ‘Made in Australia’ campaign. At the time, many Australians were anxious about the current account deficit (the number of imports compared to exports) and a perceived looming threat of costing Australian jobs. Celebrity endorsement came from former Prime Minister’s wife, Hazel Hawke, whom the public felt to be highly credible. This endorsement gave the Herron brand a shortcut to Authority. As a result the founders say the product resonated and was “an instant success”.

Police authority in Vancouver
Photo by Nic Amaya on Unsplash

Your authority can come from different avenues:

  • Your reputation and awards
  • Statistics around service quality, performance, and/or efficacy.
  • Reviews
  • Ownership
  • Satisfaction Research
  • County of origin
  • Media mentions, published articles, interviews
  • Endorsements and forms of industry recognition
  • Offering solid Guarantees and Warranties

There are many ways to build authority. You could be the first in a category, the market leader, or use endorsements, statistics, or solid evidence of supporting a tangible unique selling point. Displaying evidence of authority throughout your marketing communications helps build trust with an audience.

Julian Hooper

Julian Hooper

I help medical and healthcare businesses do better using badass marketing and communications. And by badass I mean high-performing, flawlessly positioned and customer-centric.

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