Audiences today are more knowledgeable and more demanding than ever before. They’re more quality conscious and much more value conscious. They are also more skeptical. More questioning. And, yes, less trusting.

To trust your messaging, audiences must first trust your brand as a messenger. As such, a building product brand must be greater than a mere trademark. Instead, it must become a “trustmark”… with value dependent on the degree to which customers trust your unique proposition.

Trust cannot be bought. It must be earned. And growing that trust involves a disciplined, three-step approach.

You are what you do. To deserve trust, you must demonstrate trust. Just saying, “trust me” will not resonate authentically with your customer base. Rather, it’s important to create a pattern of credible behavior. Lead the debate. Don’t stay silent… stand up for what you stand for.

Openness is an opportunity. Transparency is key to trust. And transparency requires truth. Yet, truth and trust are not the same. Truth is a fact. Trust is a feeling. People trust their eyes more than their ears. So — to be worthy of a customer’s trust — audiences need to see the truth. Not just read about it. Being open and transparent is crucial in trust-building efforts. Be a trustworthy source of trustworthy messages. Have a respected third party help to deliver messaging, to better influence perceptions.

Be a good corporate citizen. “Doing the right thing” is the right thing to do. Trust does not come from how big you are. It is a result of how big you act. For example, demonstrate industry leadership in reducing packaging and boosting the use of recycled content. And when you reach that goal, raise the bar even further. Campaigns become compelling when they connect with audiences in highly relevant ways.

Just as customers shift their behaviors and perceptions — marketing also must evolve — as audiences receive and send messages differently… reflecting changing times.

Today, building product brands are doubly challenged. Marketers not only face a fast-paced technological array of multiple media platforms, but they also must find the most relevant positions and messages. So it’s crucial that they reinvent how they market. By creating relevance and leveraging trust, building product brands will be able to maintain better loyalty, regardless of what the channel throws their way.

Content Goes Native

One way to build trust and credibility is through what is commonly referred to as native advertising. Although the term ‘native advertising’ is modern, the method was, in fact, first used by John Deere in 1895. Yes, the business that manufactured plows also published a magazine… that shared advice and tips centered around agriculture and farming. And, of course, the magazine included advertisements for John Deere products.

Today, the explosive growth of the Internet has exponentially expanded the opportunities for building product brands to leverage the concept of native advertising. No longer relegated to only print and broadcast mediums, digital marketing content can be promoted on websites, via email, social media platforms and streaming services like podcasts.

Facebook’s sponsored stories can micro-target the precise audience a building product brand wishes to reach… with impressive results. In fact, an Ipsos survey found that 62 percent of Facebook users became more interested in a brand after viewing it in a story format. The same study demonstrated that more than 50 percent of people surveyed made an online purchase promoted by an advertisement in story form.

The primary appeal of native ads is their more subtle delivery of marketing messaging… helping to make audiences feel like they’ve gained important or helpful information. Without pressure to purchase.

How to Create an Effective Native Ad

Native content allows building product marketers to increase brand awareness, provide value — and thought leadership – by targeting audiences efficiently and effectively. As with any type of marketing, one must first understand the mindset of their target audience. Rather than using a search query for a quick answer — or to narrow down product selection – a prospect who responds to native content typically wants to explore the subject matter in further depth, to discover or learn something.

Following are five tips for developing an effective native ad.

Trust rules the day. Never lose sight of the significance of earning your reader’s trust. While engaging content is vital to holding people’s attention, the message will be meaningless if it is not trustworthy. Make certain to convey authenticity and speak conversationally — in terms that are familiar to each audience – avoiding the use of complicated industry jargon. Remember that native advertising at its best, is delivered with a  soft-sell approach. So resist the urge to be too promotional. Or sales-oriented.

Going to the head (of the) line. These days, audiences are inundated with seemingly endless advertising and other distractions. Which means building product brand marketers must work even harder to get their prospects to take notice. With a little less than three to eight seconds to gain a person’s attention, captivating headlines are essential. Consider that only 20 percent of people who scan a headline will read the associated content. So use action verbs to get more traction and headlines that convey positive emotion. And avoid negative or fear-based headlines.  

Visualize this. Imagery and video, like written content, should be relatable and meaningful. Of course, it should also be eye-catching. While preferable in most cases to use brand-owned product photography, it’s okay to use stock images as needed. Jut avoid using images that are cliché, overly staged or have been frequently used elsewhere… especially those found in your competitors’ content. Visual effects — such as applying spot color overlays on a monochromatic image or adding special effects and animations help to make a brand’s video that much more memorable.

Ask questions. Consider incorporating quizzes or surveys that are relevant to the target audience into your native content. Prospects tend to respond well… as these approaches engage and challenge them. Of course, many of those who participate are merely seeking a quick diversion from their everyday grind. Better for you to deliver that experience… rather than another brand.

Passing the test. Make sure to measure and test your content. Mix and match headlines with different images… trying several visuals with each campaign to see which combinations perform best. For optimal engagement, keep video content under 60 seconds. And ensure that creative is delivered in a way that is most appropriate to the platform being used.

Looking to grow your building product brand with native advertising as part of a robust PR and content marketing strategy? Send an email to to discuss this opportunity in greater detail.