A brand promise is usually one or two sentences that accurately communicates what a consumer should expect when interacting with a brand. When a business creates a brand promise, it is making a declaration of assurance. Brand promises are often seen as extensions of brand positioning statements that explain why a business exists. A brand promise then tells the consumer how a product is service is better than those of a competitor.
Understanding brand promise
Brand promises can be overt in nature – with courier company FedEx being a prime example. The company motto “when it absolutely, positively has to get there overnight” is a public promise which the company has never compromised.
Brand promises can also be less overt. McDonald’s delivers on familiar, consistent, and affordable meals without incorporating making specific promises around these characteristics. Instead, the brand promise of McDonald’s is the less tangible ability to help families take the guesswork out of choosing a restaurant.
Three steps to creating a successful brand promise
1. Define the promise
The most successful brand promises will combine the personality, mission statement, values, and USP of a business into a succinct and deliverable package.
Combining these important elements ensures that a business creates a brand promise that is not only authentic but unique.
Here, the brand promise should be written down for clarity. But the promise itself must also be present in a less tangible form. That is, the promise should be reflected in every aspect of internal and external business culture.
2. Deliver the promise
Next, determine how the promise might be delivered. FedEx’s promise of overnight delivery seems simplistic on paper, but tremendous buy-in from employees and other relevant stakeholders is consistently required to make this promise unbreakable.
At this step, it’s important to remember that cutting corners and making promises do not mix. Businesses who promise to prioritize consumer needs without first determining what they need are doomed to failure.
3. Track and adjust performance where necessary.
While it is true that there is some degree of art in developing a brand, businesses still need a trackable strategy in place. Engagement metrics will provide clear insights on whether a brand is resonating with its audience or whether marketing needs to reconsider its approach.
Surveys and questionnaires are also a great way of determining whether consumers understand a brand. Indeed, carefully worded questions can reveal a range of insights around the credibility and authenticity of a brand promise.
Some more examples of companies with successful brand promises
- Apple – who give consumers a chance to own the trendiest, sleekest, and most technologically advanced electronics.
- Lynda.com – offering affordable and convenient high-quality training on a range of topics.
- Nike – with an all-encompassing promise to bring inspiration and innovation to world athletes.
- Coca-Cola – whose beverages promise to instill a mindset of fun and optimism through refreshing and uplifting experiences.
- Brand promises set expectations for the business to consumer relationship. The promise should permeate every aspect of a business and be authentic, unique, and consistent.
- Brand promises can be tangible and overt in the sense that they are explicitly stated. But they can also encapsulate specific experiences that consumers come to expect when interacting with an organization.
- To develop a brand promise, businesses must combine aspects of their values, mission statement, values, and USP. Importantly, there must be no potential for the promise to be broken through inadequate due diligence or a lack of employee buy-in.
Other related key concepts connected to branding
Create brand awareness
Over time, build up brand equity, one of your most important assets
Position your company and product so that people can identify with your brand
Define your ideal customers and work hard to get them
Communicate what makes your product unique to generate a strong commercial use case
Tell your business story, and make it part of your offering and philosophy
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