The 7 Secrets to Keeping Your Brand Promise

Updated: Feb 16


The 7 Secrets to Keeping Your Brand Promise

Making a promise and keeping it are two different things.


Making a Brand Promise to your customers and keeping it can make all the difference between a successful and a failed brand. Here are seven secrets to ensuring you and your team keep those promises.


#1 Understand the Brand Promise and its Value


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.


Brand Promises are Important


Brand Promises matter to customers; it’s what they count on every time they have a brand experience. When promises are kept, trust is developed both with consumers and employees.


When Brand Promises are kept to customers:

  • It makes it easy to get behind your brand, become brand advocates and spread the word.

  • They are more likely to purchase and repeat purchase more services or products from a brand they recognize and trust.

Brand Promises also help the company as they:

  • Simplify and clarify the mission to provide unique customer value for all stakeholders.

  • Unify a company on how to deliver the best brand. This may be demonstrated as exemplary service, unique experiences, speed, accuracy, innovation, something that inspires, a value or purpose-driven efforts.

#2 Delivering the Brand Promise is challenging but worth the hard work


The successful delivery of brand promises has a profound impact on business. A brand promise is nothing if it’s not followed through with action. With many companies, this is a problem.


The global analytics and advice firm Gallup found "that companies are largely failing to make good on their agreements." Gallup surveyed 18 million customers and found,


only 50% of customers strongly believe that the companies

they do business with always deliver on what they promise

However,

The highest-performing companies in Gallup's database

deliver on their brand promise 75% of the time,

according to their customers.


#3 Have a Brand Alignment Plan that delivers on the Brand Promise


Brand alignment is the practice of ensuring your brand is delivered as planned and as promised by all your employees and partners to all customer touchpoints and experiences.

  • Have a clear understanding of your Brand and your Brand Promise.

  • Understand the emotional power of your customer's feelings as a result of each Brand experience.

  • Makes sure your brand promise is something you can deliver. See my blog, "Are you keeping your Brand Promises?"

  • Be authentic

  • Create a plan and a strategy that maps out how everyone in the company understands the brand, embraces it and delivers the Brand Promise and your brand as you have planned

Creating a brand strategy


#4 Leadership must have complete buy-in


Leadership should own the brand promise and understand the value of putting the Brand Alignment Plan and processes in place to ensure their brand promise is upheld. They need to create and support a working brand alignment environment that can best inspire the attitudes and behaviors of the employees that deliver the Brand Promise and the Brand. They need to do whatever it takes to deliver that promise in the short and long run.


Leaders who truly understand, embrace and are committed to executing their organization’s brand promise typically better anticipate and respond to brand issues and competitive challenges.


#5 Engage & train employees to deliver


Making sure your employees “do” what you say you are going to do has a profound impact on your business either way. The Customer Experience Impact Report (CEI) says:


The Good News

55% of consumers recommend a company

because of its customer service.

66% of consumers said improved customer service

would encourage increased spending.

The Bad News

Over 82% of consumers have stopped doing business

with a company as a result of a negative experience.


Through positive leadership and effective training, you can instill in each employee the importance of their role in delivering on the Brand Promise. Each employee needs to embrace and own the brand. If an employee cannot fully understand your brand promise, how will they fulfill it?


Engage the employees in the branding process and help them understand they’re part of something bigger than themselves. Help them know that keeping the brand promise can make a company soar or sink. It depends on them.

Engage & train employees to deliver your brand

Tips to help employees deliver on your brand promise:

  • Include employees in brand decisions, asking for ideas on how to improve initiatives, and answering the “what’s in it for statement, brand story and mission statement

  • Articulate what it means for employees to “live” your Brand. Prepare and document your brand message's action plan to give your staff more clarity and help them make the right choices. Include your Brand Promise and other brand statements applicable to your brand strategy. They can include vision, values and mission, or your brand story

  • Empower Problem Resolution: Make problem-solving central to your employee's role. Empower them with decision-making power to deliver on your promises. And that includes personalized and effortless issue resolution.

  • Focus on consistency in words and actions. Inconsistency in branding messages and actions can weaken the organization's culture, confuse employees, and negatively, and offer ongoing training.

  • Train, engage and retrain. Be sure to have consistent training and reinforcement of your brand promise, even for current employees.

Trust is not earned in grand gestures but in small meaningful increments.


#6 Ensure Brand Consistency


Make sure your Brand Promise and your Brand messages are stated and delivered consistently. Consistency breeds trust and trust is critical to building relationships with long-term clients. HuTrust found when people trust a brand:


83% will recommend it to other people

82% will use its products frequently

50% will pay more for its products and services than the competitor.



Create a Brand Guideline


Create systems and processes to ensure consistency. A simple way to control the brand is to create a Brand Guideline, a set of rules and parameters that outlines and controls how your company and others apply your brand.


As the number of media possibilities grows, it’s increasingly difficult to manage your brand messages and elements across all touchpoints. Include the visual ID: logo and usage, brand names, trademarks, service mark, brand architecture, messages, tone, look and feel, color palette, photography and key graphics.


Have the Brand Guidelines available to everyone from employees to partners to the media. If it makes sense, add your Brand Guidelines and critical brand messages on your website.


Check out MasterCard’s Brand Center “Brand Guidelines”:

Brand Guidelines-Ensure Brand Consistency

#7 Measure & Monitor all aspects of the brand’s ecosystem and touchpoints


Create mechanisms to regularly “listen” to your people to learn exactly how well you’re delivering on what you promise – and do better. Monitoring and establishing early detection and effective risk management helps organizations turn potential brand threats into opportunities to deliver on their brand promise and strengthen their Brand.


Without consistent monitoring, the brand promise can become obsolete. It’s easy to establish policies, but it takes time and effort.

  • Measure and Monitor Your Customers: When consumers are aligned with a brand, they give it twice as much share of wallet as those not aligned with that same brand. Seek feedback, conduct surveys and regularly “listen” to your customers. Is your brand delivery in line with your brand promise? Keep abreast of your customer changing needs. Loyalty is the ultimate sign of brand alignment. If your customers are loyal, they often advocate for you, share the word and refer their friends?

  • Measure and Monitor Your Employees: Initially seek feedback from employees on how they resonate with the brand promise and, if not, why. Measure performance on how well you deliver on your brand promise and create standards that operationalize it. For example, a company may create a policy that says every inquiry must respond within 24 hours, or every phone call must be answered in less than five minutes.

  • Measure and Monitor Internal Systems: Map out your Customer’s Lifetime Journey. Look for bottlenecks, blocs, inconsistencies, and where you can improve. Apply technology, data and AI for customer-centric intelligent design. Use the multi-experience (MX) design concept to enhance personalization and engagement with customers and employees.

  • Measure and Monitor External Forces: Watch your competition: Make sure your promise is unique and not infringed upon by competitors. Ensure partners and channels deliver your promises.

Examples of successful Brand Promises based on Brand Alignment


These companies have greater levels of customer engagement, which enables them to surpass their competitors in terms of share of wallet, profitability, and revenue and relationship growth.


The Lexus Brand Promise

Lexus branding

Toyota's Lexus has been consistently ranked by consumers as one of the top-ranked and adored automobile brands globally. JD Power has repeatedly recognized Lexus for its outstanding customer service. The brand, its products, and its communications are centered around edginess, excitement, sustainability, luxury, and individual expression. These attributes are aligned with its stakeholders and drive Lexus home as an enhancing, engaging and fulfilling brand.


How Lexus Delivers their Brand Promise


They put the US IN LEXUS

  • Live and Breathe Craftsmanship: Lexus plant workers in Japan follow the principles of Takumi or master craftsman. Takumi is the foundation on which Lexus builds everything from its brand promise to its products. Takumi refers to the meticulous modus operandi of a passionate artisan.

  • Rooted in Hospitality: Lexus focuses on a uniquely Japanese approach to hospitality, Omotenash. This principle takes pride in anticipating and fulfilling people's needs in advance, leading to a better understanding of consumer needs and responding to them.

  • Relentless Pursuit of Perfection: The Lexus slogan, "The Relentless Pursuit of Perfection," came about after a US image consulting firm visited Lexus designers in Japan and noted their obsessive attention to detail.

  • Raise the Bar by Reducing their Footprint: Lexus claims that all its models will be electric by 2025.


The Marriott Brand Promise

Marriott Branding

Marriott, a world leader in hospitality, started as a root beer stand in 1927. Marriott has grown to over 7,000 properties, 30 brands in 130 countries with over 730,000 associates.


With those numbers alone, one can understand what a challenge consistent and thoughtful customer care can be. However, Marriott has maintained its core value of supporting and developing its associates so they can deliver on its Brand Promise:


To enhance the lives of our customers by creating

and enabling unsurpassed vacation and leisure experience.


How Marriott Delivers their Brand Promise

Founders J. Willard Marriott and his wife Alice have firmly believed that if Marriott took care of the associate, the associate would take care of the guest, and the guest would come back again and again.

  • Applying technology to deliver a more personalized service: Marriott International’s Global Chief Commercial Officer Stephanie Linnartz says, “Guests share a lot of information with us, and they expect us to use it to create highly personalized experiences. They offer a personalized travel concierge with their new mobile app based on extensive research and member feedback.

  • The J. Willard Marriott Award of Excellence honors the company’s finest associates who represent the characteristics of the award: achievement, character, dedication, effort and perseverance.

  • Training, Training and More Training. Marriot managers participate in over 20 different management training programs. Their associate training includes a program called Poise and Grace, developed in conjunction with the Chicago Joffrey Ballet. It focuses on body language and how it relates to service, marketing and communication.

branding for Platypus Wine Tours™

The Platypus Wine Tours Brand Promise

Platypus Wine Tours™, an acclaimed wine touring company, has successfully delivered authentic and idyllic winey experiences for over 17 years in Napa Valley, the Sonoma Valley and the Russian River Healdsburg, CA area, and beyond. Platypus does it right with almost 5,000 reviews with a 4.9/5 rating through Trip Advisor and Trust Pilot.


They have been a success because their hearts are in the right place for what they do, and by delivering on their Brand Promise:


We promise a fun & friendly,

thoughtfully crafted

and truly memorable experience at back-roads wineries.

You have our word on it.


How Platypus Delivers their Brand Promise

Branding and Core Values
  • Platypus hires and retains gregarious, experienced, well-trained and wine-knowledgeable guides.

  • Their Guides are great storytellers and take their guests to wineries off the beaten path for unique backstage-pass-type experiences.

  • Platypus ensures their Brand Promise is delivered using their Platypus Core Values as the backbone for the operation, employee orientation, training, and reviews.

  • The Platypus Core Values and weekly meeting guides employees on how best to deliver the brand promise with reminders of the Platypus Mission, Mindset and MacGyver‘tude.

These guidelines could be a model for any hospitality company yet is unique to the Platypus Wine Tour brand.



The Trader Joe’s Brand Promise

Trader Joe's Brand Promise

Trader Joe’s, a national chain of neighborhood grocery stores, has been transforming grocery shopping into a welcoming journey full of discovery and fun since 1967. Their Brand Promise demonstrates that.


We are committed to providing our customers outstanding value

in the form of the best quality products at the best everyday prices.

through our rewarding products and knowledgeable, friendly Crew Members.


How Trader Joe’s Delivers their Brand Promise

TJ’s pays off this promise with outstanding customer service, a fun and friendly atmosphere and happy, well-cared-for employees. According to Forbes, "Trader Joe's is not only a leader in customer satisfaction and employee engagement but one of America's top employers."

Platypus Wine Tours™

Platypus Wine Tours™

Toyota's Lexus has been consistently ranked by consumers as one of the top-ranked and adored automobile brands globally. JD Power has repeatedly recognized Lexus for its outstanding customer service. The brand, its products, and its communications are centered around edginess, excitement, sustainability, luxury, and individual expression. These attributes are aligned with its stakeholders and drive Lexus home as an enhancing, engaging and fulfilling brand.


How Lexus Delivers their Brand Promise


They put the US IN LEXUS

  • Live and Breathe Craftsmanship: Lexus plant workers in Japan follow the principles of Takumi or master craftsman. Takumi is the foundation on which Lexus builds everything from its brand promise to its products. Takumi refers to the meticulous modus operandi of a passionate artisan.

  • Rooted in Hospitality: Lexus focuses on a uniquely Japanese approach to hospitality, Omotenash. This principle takes pride in anticipating and fulfilling people's needs in advance, leading to a better understanding of consumer needs and responding to them.

  • Relentless Pursuit of Perfection: The Lexus slogan, "The Relentless Pursuit of Perfection," came about after a US image consulting firm visited Lexus designers in Japan and noted their obsessive attention to detail.

  • Raise the Bar by Reducing their Footprint: Lexus claims that all its models will be electric by 2025.


In Conclusion

Not all brands articulate their brand promise. However, based on the company’s actions, customers make assumptions of promises made. Therefore you must define those promises and do whatever it takes to deliver on them. And that thoughtful care and delivery of your brand promise can make all the difference in your business.

# # #


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.


#1 It’s time to take stock & rethink your Brand:

#2 Is your Brand Purpose-driven?

#3 Crisis & Consumer-Driven Innovation?

#4 10 Ways to Stand Out from the Crowd

#5 What Messages are in your Brand Toolbox?

#6 Have you been keeping your “Brand Promise?

#7 The 7 Secrets to keeping your Brand Promise

Upcoming:

#8 Why you need an updated Brand Strategy?


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Brands That Deliver™ and Laurie Pillings Rinker, a brand-driven marketing strategist.

Laurie Pillings Rinker- Branding expert

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, deliver on their promises and develop marketing programs while encouraging social good.

You can reach Laurie at BrandsThatDeliver.com