30 Oct 2018
“A brand is a promise. At its core, your brand promise should define your entire business and should touch every aspect of your company”
Nick Westergaard | Author and branding expert
Two young lovers meet for the first time, their eyes catch each other from across the room. Conversation begins along with nervous hair twirling and sweaty palms. Their whirlwind romance begins.
In time, our man of the story, let’s call him Jed, proposes to his wife-to-be, Amelia, and promises he will be an unwavering level of support, commitment, and trust. Amelia proclaims a huge YES!
Two years later, Amelia notices a change in Jed. He’s putting his career before her. He’s openly flirting with other women, and he’s always questioning her whereabouts. She realises “This isn’t what I was promised and this isn’t what I signed up for”. Jed and Amelia are headed for the divorce courts.
Your brand is Jed. It has the capability to maintain a promise or to mislead your customers. A brand promise is what the brand intends to be for their customer. Just like Jed with Amelia. If only Jed had reminded himself of his promise. Maybe they’d still be together? Here’s how not to be like Jed. We’ll explain the 3 vows you should be honouring to keep your brand promise, and customer marriage, alive.
“I do” should hopefully follow this question. But, what makes a customer say “I do” to your brand promise? A strong promise is rich with intent, strength, and direction. It encourages its market to follow its lead. It’s your customers glimpse into a future relationship with the your brand.
Is the promise strong enough for them to buy into? Imagine a promise like “ We promise to try to be good at service”. It’s generic, weak, and open to wide amounts of failure. No-one wants to depend on something that screams uncertainty. With thousands of other brands similar to yours on the market, your customers are likely to hot foot to one of your competitors. One that brazenly demonstrates a strong and reliable brand promise.
Examples of these can be shown from household names, such as;
Disney - Creating happiness through magical experiences.
Amazon - Earth’s biggest selection and being the Earth’s most customer-centric company
These brands exhibit a strongly phrased promise of what they intend to be for their customers. There is no hidden agendas or room for interpretation. They are to the point, and can align every internal department towards a clear, common goal.
Enjoying a coherent, fruitful relationship for years to come can be achieved by delivering on your brand promise. Becoming a trustworthy brand that shows actions speak louder than words, demonstrates your commitment to the customer.
However, what happens if your promise is empty words? It will becoming incredibly apparent to your customers when your product, service, or communications fail to meet the promise you lured your customer in with.
Breaking this trust with a customer can have dire consequences for your brand and the relationship you’ve created. This could either be a tirade of negative social media posts or even a word-of-mouth rumour mill that could devastate a small business in local areas.
We don’t want to throw any shade but we can’t help but look at Chipotle for an example of a broken brand promise. Chipotles promise is “Food with Integrity”, which meant all meat was sourced responsibly and all vegetables were grown within healthy soil. However, a Bloomberg report revealed that most of the menu at Chipotle was riddled with genetically modified organisms. It looks like the food wasn’t just the only thing with reduced integrity. Fortunately, Chipotle have turned it around and returned to sourcing responsibly grown produce but at what cost to their brands reputation?
A Harris Poll EquiTrend study on the top 10 most-trusted packaged goods brands reported that the brands that men and women trust are those with a long history of consistently delivering on their brand promise.
Your brand promise has more weight when it is proven to be truthful on numerous occasions. It reinforces your companies reputation and builds brand equity amongst your target market. This generates a store of goodwill amongst your people.
Inevitably, you may be unable to deliver. You’re only human, right? But this store of goodwill can be tapped into when the customers experience may be compromised. Sure you may fail in delivering your promise on one occasion, but if your track records shows you’ve been pretty consistent in the past, you’re more likely to be forgiven.
Let’s just say hypothetically, your brand promise is “Committed to finding new ways to support our customers”. Brilliant. This could mean the products you sell are supporting them in their daily lives. Or it could additionally mean the service they receive, when they make a purchase, will be supportive.
Buying the product is your customers engagement ring and also a sign of them becoming faithful to your brand. But this isn’t the end of your commitment to the promise. If after the transaction something goes wrong with the product, are you delivering silver service to put it right? Are you providing 24/7 support? Are you indeed “ finding new ways” to support them through your social media? Delivering your brand promise even after a purchase is a clear signal to your customer. You’re saying “ you mean what you say”
Take premium US department store, Nordstrom. Their brand promise is
"Fashion changes. Shopping changes. Our commitment to happy customers doesn't."
And they demonstrate it exceptionally, as evidenced in the clip below.
Throw the confetti, biodegradable please, and hit the bar. You’ve now officially become brand and customer. Destined to ride off into the sunset ablaze with commitment and an everlasting promise that will provide a reliable, outstanding experience to your customer and repeat revenue for you.
We can’t wait for the anniversary party invitation.
Alex is a digital expert specialising in creating copy that engages, entices, and excites our clients. Usually found poring over past issues of Vogue and playing paparazzi to his dogs.
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