Purpose-driven brand building.


How visible is your brand?


Branding might seem pretty simple. Pick a name. Pick a logo. Apply at will. But audiences have exceedingly higher expectations and it takes a lot more to earn their trust.


Those expectations are often tied to the core of your offering rather than the surface-level design and they become acutely important in the digital space.

Three factors that aren’t immediately visible are critical to building and maintaining trust; security, performance and transparency.

  • Security – Are you doing everything you can to protect information that your audience shares with you?

  • Performance – Does your digital experience respond efficiently?

  • Transparency – How much information do you and your audience share?

You audience expects a secure environment.

Are you doing everything you can to protect information that your audience shares with you? Consider the benefits of HTTPS and blockchain as well as the perils of third-party apps.

  • HTTPS – Your website must use Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure to ensure that your audience has secure access to your content. HTTPS has become the norm–web browsers flag sites not using HTTPS and search engines penalize content from sites not using HTTPS.

  • Blockchain – Blockchain distributes data across a series of computers to reduce the risk of data breaches and provide secure transactions. The technology is now used by a variety of start-ups like Civil, which is building a sustainable platform for journalism.

  • Third-party AppsHeard of any Facebook security breaches lately? Through the years Facebook has opened its platform to applications built by third parties. These third-parties have in turn gained access to an unprecedented amount of personal data. While sites that have used Facebook as a third-party log-in tool have had the data of their users compromised through Facebook’s own vulnerabilities.

Your audience expects efficiency.

Does your digital experience respond efficiently? Your audience expects immediacy and a laggy experience signals a laggy brand. Optimizing your digital experience, providing usage controls and anticipating the need for offline access will go a long towards ensuring that you’re meeting your audience on their terms.

  • Optimization – The speed at which your website loads has a significant impact on the length of time your audience is willing to engage with your content. Efficient code and compressed graphics are just the beginning when it comes to website optimization. Check out this article on how the BBC tackles optimization at scale.

  • Usage control – Ever get tired of looking at an endlessly spinning loader? You can’t be certain that your audience has the best bandwidth in the world but you can provide options to mitigate the issue. Streaming services like Netflix vary video quality to reduce potential load times while providing options for users to self-select that video quality that they prefer to receive.

  • Offline access – Your audience might always have a device in hand, but they aren’t always connected. Apps like Google Maps and Lonely Planet take this into account and allow users to download maps ahead of trips that may take them offline and out of cellular reach.

Your audience wants to know what you know.

How much information do you and your audience share? You likely collect some amount of data from your audience while increasingly audiences expect to receive more information from the brands they trust.

  • Data Collection – Your site probably collects some amount of data about your audience through the use of cookies. You must clearly signal when personal data is collected. Being less than transparent is misleading. In fact, in Europe, it’s illegal. Privacy legislation known as the Cookie Law requires user consent before storing personal information.  

  • Data portabilityFeedly is your friend. Your content is published to your website. If only your audience stopped by everyday. Sophisticated audiences use news aggregators to access the latest content from their favorite sites. Structuring your content to be accessible through RSS is critical. The increase in brand awareness far outweighs any potential loss in site traffic.

  • Accountability – How much information do you share with your audience? Non-profits like World Wildlife Fund showcase operating costs to highlight their responsible use of donor dollars while brands like Everlane share clear breakdowns of product costs to highlight the distribution of money across the supply chain as well as the profit the brand generates from each purchase.


Security, performance and transparency are critical to building trust with your audience.

How well does your brand deliver on these factors?

James Early