Updated: Feb 23
Welcome to #6 in the branding series, "It's time to take stock and rethink your brand."
Promises, Promises. What's a Brand Promise?
A brand promise is a commitment you make to your customers that should be paid off with every experience. It should be customer-centric, value-driven, compelling, truthful, and unique.
The brand promise is one of the most important factors impacting the success of a brand. It involves an authentic brand promise, engaged employees that bring the promise to life, and consistently meaningful customer experiences.
Brand Promises are Important
Brand promises matter to customers. It's what they count on every time they have an interaction with your brand. The successful delivery of a brand promise has a profound impact on business success. Brand promises are also valuable because:
When a promise is kept, trust is developed. This trust is not won in grand gestures rather is gained in small and consistent meaningful increments.
It unifies a company on how to best deliver the brand.
It simplifies and clarifies the mission to deliver unique customer value for all stakeholders.
Makes it easy for a customer to get behind your brand, become a brand advocate and spread the word.
The successful delivery of a brand promise has a profound impact on business success. Gallup shares:
"the highest-performing companies in Gallup's database deliver on their brand promise 75% of the time, according to their customers.
These companies have greater levels of customer engagement, which enables them to surpass their competitors in terms of
How to Create a Brand Promise
A great brand promise reflects careful consideration, courage, and creativity.
The brand promise comes out of the critical brand positioning work used to set your business apart from the rest. Positioning thoughtfully defines your target, niche, competitive differentiator, and key and compelling consumer benefits. (Read more on positioning in my recent blog, What Messages Are in Your Toolbox?)
Along with your positioning and point of difference, consider your company's GPS: vision, values, mission, leadership's personal purpose, the story, and brand personality.
Mapping out your customer journey to carefully identify all the touchpoints to ensure the brand experience goes right. Developing a customer journey may also highlight weak areas in your company where the brand delivery may go wrong.
Sometimes the brand promise is obvious and shows up on the website or revealed as a "promise to deliver" on a company mission, vision, values, or it may also be revealed in the tagline, brand statement, story, or campaign headline. However, these are not “officially” promises until the company commits to that promise, both in words and actions.
If you are clear on your promise and can guarantee you can deliver, then sharing your brand promise leaves no doubt in your customer's mind about what to expect from you.
You can have one or a few brand promises. Just make sure you can keep those promises.
Regardless of the number of promises you make and what you decide to use as the vehicle, the brand promise must be:
Simple, clear and memorable
Meaningful and compelling
Authentic and credible
Defined in a way you can measure it
A focus on the experience helps
Manageable through your partnerships and channels
Shared consistently across all channels
Something you are confident you can deliver and will make every attempt to do so
Examples of Brand Promises
Airbnb: "Belong anywhere." They promise to transform the way people travel, enabling them to explore the world, not as a tourist, but to truly “Belong Anywhere.”
Geico: “15 minutes or less can save you 15% or more on car insurance.” A time-based promise can be tricky to keep. However, it’s easy to measure. Geico has done a great job at maintaining their image and keeping their promise.
Lego: Play Promise- Joy of Building. Pride of Creation. Planet Promise- Positive Impact. Partner Promise- Mutual value creation. People Promise- Succeed together.” Lego promises more than play. They consider all their stakeholders and their impact on the planet.
Life is Good: "Grow the Good." Recently I attended a Conscious Capitalism presentation featuring Bert Jacobs, Co-Founder of Life is Good, an apparel and accessory company. Their mission (and promise) is to “spread the power of Optimism.” And they do.
They also spread “good vibes; raise awareness and funds, and help kids overcome life-threatening challenges. They do this on an ongoing basis and especially during Covid.
McDonald's: ” To provide Simple Easy Enjoyment to every customer visit.” Promises the simple experience of “enjoyment.”
Nike: "To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world." Nike tells the consumers how they think and that their vision is on a much larger scale than sports clothing and equipment.
Patagonia: "Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis." And they consistently pay this off.
SpaceX : "1. Put things into space. 2. Reduce cost of space travel. 3. Colonise Mars." Includes objectives, a benefit and a big vision.
Walmart: "Save money. Live better." It delivers the promise of low prices with the emotional benefit of a better life.”
Whole Foods Market "promises" to live their values, and as a consumer, I hold them to it. (However, now that Amazon owns them, delivery on their promise may have weakened.)
Are you next on this list?
How to Keep Your Brand Promise. And, it’s Not Easy.
A brand promise is nothing if it's not followed through with action, and most companies miss the mark.
Only 27% of employees strongly agree
that they always deliver what they promised.-Gallup
The success of your brand promise depends on employees' ability to understand that promise and deliver on it consistently. Once you have a defined brand promise, create the structure, processes, and key activities to ensure it can be delivered consistently.
Keep it simple, and don't make it too complicated.
The promise shouldn't take too long to be fulfilled.
Make it part of the company culture.
Make it inspiring to your employees.
Help your employees embrace and own it.
Make it a pillar of your customer service.
Include it as part of your employee orientation and keep it alive.
Audit and measure the success of your promises.
Keep abreast of your customer changing needs.
Watch your competition: Make sure your promise is unique and not infringed upon by a competitor.
Over-deliver whenever possible.
Keep delivering on your promise over and over and over again.
Promises that are kept strengthen.
Broken promises diminish.
So what is your Brand Promise? Are you doing what it takes to ensure it's delivered and delivered well?
If you don't have a Brand Promise consider adding it to your brand arsenal to help further engage your customers and stand above the crowd.
Are You Ready to Take the Next Step With Your Brand?
If you need support, reach out to Laurie at BrandsThatDeliver.com
Look for Laurie's Next Article in the Series: It’s time to take stock & rethink your brand.
#7 Are your employees brand-aligned, and do they deliver your brand promise?
#8 Do you have an updated brand strategy?
Order the full series “Time to Take Stock & Rethink Your Brand” in an e-book for Spring 2021 delivery.
Brands That Deliver™ and Laurie Pillings Rinker, a brand-driven marketing strategist.
Laurie is a consultant, author, speaker, and podcaster. As principal of Brands That Deliver™, she works with large to small clients to get focused and transform their brands and revenue. We help companies define their brand, engage customers, and deliver on their promises and develop marketing programs while encouraging social good.
You can reach Laurie at BrandsThatDeliver.com