Katherine Tsakonas, founder of Gingham & Heels began her company as a creative adventure, designing and selling beautiful clothing in Sydney’s Paddington, Bondi and Glebe Markets. Gingham & Heels quickly turned into an established brand that now boasts over 6 stores nationwide alongside a successful online store accessible to a global customer base. Founder and CEO Katherine Tsakonas tells us her 4 steps to building a trustworthy brand in the online sphere.
Although Katherine was first trading in busy Sydney markets, followed by a number of ‘brick and mortar’ stores, she didn’t hesitate to jump into the world of online sales and social media. Katherine tells us that introducing the digital aspect of the brand so early on was one of the best decisions she has ever made. She says that the digital platforms ‘gave her the power to influence shopping behaviors instantly by the press of a few buttons’.
However, Katherine also knew that she needed to remain trustworthy and true to her core belief of putting her customers first. She has kept her belief alive and gained much of her success through digital platforms. Gingham & Heels boasts 175K website visitors and 1.12 million page views per year, plus outstanding returning customer rates; Gingham & Heels reaches over 2.3 million women annually. Gingham & Heels social media accounts boast 78.K Instagram followers, 227K Facebook followers, and 95K email subscribers – allowing Katherine access to over 400 thousand women.
Katherine shared with us her 4 top tips for harnessing digital platforms to build a successful and trustworthy brand.
Content really is king
You have around two seconds to make sure someone resonates with you on a mobile app. Eye-catching content is a must. Your offerings must always have a clear purpose, and be fresh, vibrant, emotive or sexy – otherwise, people will scroll further and you get missed. It’s important to make sure you are creating emotion from your audience. You can make them relate to your branding by invoking a feeling they want to feel. This should relate to how they expect to feel once they have purchased your product. Will they feel sexy, free, empowered, supported? Be clear about the key emotions you want people to feel from your products and make sure this is kept in the forefront of your mind when planning your visual and written content.
Choose influencers carefully
Role models can have an enormous influence on buying behavior. When you choose your influencers, make sure their core beliefs, reputation, and messages are in line with that of your brand.
Think of your brand as a person with a personality and be 100% sure that your influencer’s personality aligns. Your audience will then resonate with your influencer and feel that by entering into a relationship with your brand, they are aligning with their role models’ personality. Your customers will then be more likely to be emotionally involved with your brand’s identity which helps them engage with your content.
Be engaging outside of your advertising content
Make sure you also communicate with your audience outside of your advertising content. On digital platforms people actually expect you to be even more personal. Acknowledge any comments and shares, encourage conversations, and be real and down to earth with your customer base. Customers will see this as trustworthy because it will feel that your brand is more like a ‘real’ person with soul and emotion, as opposed to simply an advertising campaign. People want to feel included, acknowledged and involved.
How you talk to your customer online is a representation of your brand offline
Your social media communication sets the tone and level of expectation with face to face customer service. At the core of this is trust. Trust is fundamental in business and it starts with you. Trusting yourself and your brand creates trusting and positive relationships with your staff. Your staff will then trust your brand and be able to communicate with your customers with ease, confidence, and honesty. When your team honestly believes in your products or services, they become passionate and emotive, which can be an excellent link between the trust of the consumer in your brand.
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