Brands that stand out do so because they stand for something. And they stand for something different. It’s this sense of purpose that drives them. Yet so often you find brand promises that are insipid, sloganistic or merely some generic phrase that any of your competitors could easily claim. The reason for this is that many organisations equate ‘the marketing tagline’ with the brand promise itself.
So what is a brand promise?
A high-level brand promise (sometimes called brand essence) is an articulation of what target customers can expect from their experience with an organisation. It describes the experience and the value that this represents to the customer.
But is that all an organisation need do? Is creating a catchy promise that has appeal for target customers enough?
Not quite. Now comes the hard part.
The brand promise represents the decisions made by managers about the value the company will deliver to its target customers in order to earn their loyalty. As with other statements of direction, management must create the brand promise, own the brand promise, and relentlessly drive it to completion.
The brand promise drives all of the company’s actions and investments in people, processes, products, technology and delivery channels. It creates a laser beam focus that provides clarity and cohesion to the firm’s many and disparate activities. For that reason, its main audience is internal, unlike the bland tag-lines loved by copywriters that are designed solely for the external audience.
To define your brand promise, begin with your target customers’ value drivers ie those expectations that drive attraction, retention and referral of your most profitable customers. (A good customer experience research process will have enabled you to determine these drivers). From these you can then define a brand promise that communicates what your best customers can expect from you. This provides a firm foundation for designing your customer experience.
What makes a brand promise work?
It must be of value to target customers
It must be different from competitors’ promises
It must be simple
it must be actionable
It cannot be made lightly; it has to be delivered
We discuss these in more depth in our guide on delivering your brand promise, but if you’d like help defining your own brand promise, take a look at our brand promise workshop.
Customer Experience Strategy