Building a brand: the search for trust and authenticity

Brand integrity is the “special sauce” of all marketing. That halcyon place that the consumer relates to, and believes in, a brand and its vision. For any business, authenticity is both utterly intangible, and a lofty goal. Even worse, it is a nigh on impossible attribute for banking and finance businesses. Indeed, in an IPSOS poll last year, one of the least trusted professions was bankers, with 41% of respondents deeming the profession “untrustworthy”. It seems, understandably, that consumers are after a brand, and therefore a business, they can really trust.

Crypto for an extended period of time suffered from an image problem, not helped by illicit activity, poor quality exchanges and bad products. We are now, thankfully, in better times, with better regulatory supervision and credible exchanges with a UK presence. Crypto is no longer the sole preserve of the fringe tech circles, and it is firmly in the mainstream, with a solid investment track record particularly since Coronavirus hit.

It is an interesting conundrum, therefore, and one we live daily, to build a solid relationship between the business and customer, to establish credibility, trust and authenticity, in the crypto industry. This relationship can be considered as ‘the brand’ which marketing teams build in the minds of their consumers.

The customer advocacy report in 2020 found the brands most likely to be recommended were, in order: Amazon, Netflix and Aldi. It is interesting, to note that the top two ‘winners’ were platform businesses, where a purely digital journey has the advantage of being easily scalable. The report went on to say that the leading attributes for recommendation were that the business was seen to be trustworthy, had great customer service, and was better than the competition.  Financial services and technology were the sectors most likely to be recommended.

In crypto, we certainly understand the concept of “social proof”. The FCA’s research note of June 2020 said that 16% of those that owned crypto did so on the recommendation of friends / family member. Marketing teams across all industries will strive for recommendation and advocacy, it’s widely acknowledged as the best source of  client acquisition, and also the cheapest form of lead generation – your customers literally do the heavy lifting!  Dacxi has been very conscious of this, from inception, and the majority of platform users are acquired through recommendation. Dacxi has an industry leading and unique affiliate program. We are also in the process of integrating Trust Pilot reviews to the website.  Customers, rightly, trust the word of peers infinitely over the PR machine of the brand itself. Intriguingly, Trust Pilot’s mission statement is ‘to be a universal symbol of trust’. At the time of writing, they list in excess of 96million reviews, of over 410,000 websites. We aspire to provide the best customer service in the industry, and believe we have more customer service headcount per platform user, than any other crypto business. A poorly run Zendesk service is not substitute to quality interaction with customers. Dacxi also seeks to be truly accessible to its users, via regular live webinars, ask me anything sessions, which again is unique in the crypto industry.

The quest for authenticity is a long and winding road. It would be justifiable criticism to say that few banking and finance businesses show much “personality”. They are often a homogenous blob of faceless corporate babble. Unsurprisingly, there is a huge and growing sense of distrust of financial infrastructure in our new reality.

In my opinion, this must start at the top of any business, with a clear mission statement and a senior leadership team who authentically practise these values. Dacxi, for example, seeks to make crypto easy to understand. We are the leading exchange to assist crypto beginners. That mission must filter down from senior leaders, with authentic leadership: you can see a previous article I wrote on that theme here 

We are entering some strange and uncertain times, and all the economic data points towards an extended recession brought on by Covid19. Retail users are savvy and rightly demanding. More importantly they want to interact with authentic and reliable brands. Crypto is a crowded sector, and in the near term we will see platforms that cannot provide this user experience fall by the wayside.

In next week’s blog: The ‘dark art’ of recruitment

Adventures of a unicorn is a business blog documenting the daily life of tech startup in hypergrowth.  Dacxi is a unique crypto business in the crowd lending space.  

All views expressed in this blog are my own and do not represent the opinions of any entity with which I have been, am now or will be affiliated.

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