Consumer trust: it's every company's bread and butter. Yet you may be damaging that profit cornerstone in ways you aren't even aware of, causing unnecessary dips in your bottom line.

Subtle mistakes in misreading your audience or larger issues with the way your organization does business can have an unexpected impact on how well you do with the next marketing campaign you launch.

The good news: research shows that there are out-of-the-box solutions to these problems. Try these surprising strategies to reboot your rep — and see your sales increase:

Don't promote too much.

A study from the University of Georgia found that overhyping a product by using too many superlatives about it in campaigns will hurt your entire company reputation with your target audience.

This is because consumers may believe your huge claims at how great the product is initially but will experience a feeling of betrayal if their expectations after purchase aren't met. Be realistic when touting a product's benefits, instead of just focusing your message on how "super" or "amazing" or "awesome" it is.

Watch how your team smiles in promotional photos.

Intriguing research from the University of Kansas found that marketer photos in which company representatives smile widely often create the impression that the company rep in the photos is warm and friendly, but not so competent. Conversely, a slight smile in these photos is often interpreted as a sign of great competence, especially in ads for legal, medical or startup companies.

Instruct your team strike the right balance between friendliness and professionalism in terms of the physical impression they give.

Don't lean on consumer comparison strategies.

Researchers at the University of British Columbia's Sauder School of Business have reported that the concept of using envy as a tool in marketing is much less effective than many companies believe.

Consumers with lower self-esteem who see a specific product being worn by someone they know — say, a cool new sneaker style — may want the product but ultimately reject it if they perceive that the person they know looks better than they would wearing it, for example. Broadening that sneaker's appeal by focusing on how it looks great on everyone who wears it is a much safer bet.

Address your debt.

A study from the American Marketing Association found that a business with a lot of financial leverage, or debt, is much less likely to spend on key long-term intangibles like advertising — yet advertising is precisely what your business needs to thrive.

Work with your financial team to eliminate or reorganize debt if necessary so you can direct cash to this important aspect of your business.

Do good.

A new study from the University of Technology Sydney found that consumers are willing to spend more for goods made by ethical companies — up to an approximate 9 percent premium, in fact.

Companies dealing with scandals, leadership trouble, and corruption fare worse with consumers than companies dedicated to environmental and social responsibility. Focus your energies on fair business practices — your audience knows and appreciates that it's always the right thing to do.