Today’s guest post is written by David Horne.

You want to build an incredible brand. This is one reason you became a marketing professional or started a company in the first place.

Who doesn’t want to create the next Google, Apple, Nike, or Coke?

Who doesn’t want to drive an incredible brand, one people love, that affects lives, and changes the world?

 “We are no doubt in the Great Age of the Brand.” – Tom Peters

Before you can build a brand that has market ubiquity, fosters loyalty, and promotes advocacy, the proper foundation must be set.

That foundation is credibility.

Credibility is defined as “the quality or power of inspiring belief.” There is no way to build an incredible brand without trust.

All great brands do this. They inspire us to believe. We trust them.

There are two types of credibility: Current credibility and past credibility

Current credibility is earned by delivering on promises. Take Zappos (cliché, I know, but hang in there) for example. They have current credibility because they inspire customers to trust them with their promise and delivery of amazing service.

You can also look at Evernote. They have current credibility because they provide an application that helps people remember stuff. It does what it says, and the story they tell is true.

Past credibility means trust has been built during the course of years or generations. This doesn’t make a brand exempt from staying relevant to its audience, but it gives them stored equity in the trust bank of our minds. Proctor & Gamble is a great example of this. They built credibility years ago with Tide, Crest, and Ivory, and have carried it through for decades.

On a smaller scale, in my hometown is a place called El’s Drive-In. For more than 50 years, they have served hamburgers and shrimp burgers. Even though all the chain burger joints have popped up, they still have packed crowds from credibility they earned since the sixties.

And then you have established credibility. From this foundation you can build an incredible brand in three parts:

  1. Instill confidence.
  2. Show competence.
  3. Be consistent.

1. Instill Confidence

To become incredible you must instill confidence with your audience.  Apple makes stuff that works. Chanel gives people a sense of class and sophistication. People must have confidence in the brand and in what it will do for them. Marketers mistakenly tout features all day long but instilling confidence is a product of the benefits.

2. Show Competence

Let’s face it, if your product or organization doesn’t perform, it will starve. Beyond that, incredible brands can do something better or at least in a more unique way than the others. Southwest Airlines showed how an efficient airline should be run.  Google showed that search engines can find what you are seeking. There is no room for a brand that doesn’t deliver what the market wants.

3. Be Consistent

Like the company or not, McDonald’s built an incredible brand on this principle. Consumers like predictability. They want expectations to be met or exceeded. Tiffany and Co. executes this with their blue box. Starbucks executes it with espressos and coffee. Continuity must be present in every interaction with the customer.

“Any damn fool can put on a deal, but it takes genius, faith, and perseverance to create a brand.” – David Ogilvy 

We have talked about laying a foundation of credibility. And have looked at three steps to moving from credible to incredible by instilling confidence, being consistent, and showing competence. Now, focus your marketing efforts on contributing to one or several of these elements. Everything you do should move you one step closer to becoming incredible.

What are you doing to make your brand incredible?

David Horne blogs at  He is the co-founder of the marketing firm West Hall Media. David is also an adjunct professor of marketing and social media at Greensboro College, event speaker, and former professional golfer.