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Brand Strategy: The Brand Promise, Part 1

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People can be inspired to action by great marketing that Rings True, and conversely, become jaded by marketing rooted in hyperbole and spin.

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Influence fuels the profession of marketing. People can be inspired to action by great marketing that Rings True. And conversely, they can become jaded by marketing rooted in hyperbole and spin. This divide defines our profession and our brands, for better or for worse.

At its core your brand represents a promise to prospective customers. Creativity, innovation and emotion are all important ingredients of effective marketing. But if your promise isn’t kept you are wasting your investment.

Best-selling business author Stephen Covey famously put it this way:

You can’t talk yourself out of what you’ve behaved yourself into.”

In basic terms, a Brand Promise articulates what the customer gets when they choose a company, product, or service. It is a covenant inherent to any transaction, and its currency is trust. Keep your promise and trust is built. Break your promise and trust erodes.

When you weigh the importance of building trust with your customers, identifying a Brand Promise that Rings True to your business becomes a critical endeavor. So where do you start?

Effective Brand Promises are built at the intersection of your customer’s unmet needs and your ability to meet those needs. This is the place that transforms businesses.

DKY has had the privilege of guiding a variety of businesses and organizations through a process of strategic brand development. Identifying a Brand Promise is the pinnacle of that positioning work. Based on our experience, here are some guidelines to help you find a powerful Brand Promise:

  • Start with the customer. Go beyond demographics and work to understand your customers’ deeper needs and motivations.
  • Take an honest assessment of your strengths and weaknesses. You can’t be everything to everyone. Thoroughly audit where you are at your best and where you fall short. Play to your strengths.
  • Find a positioning that differentiates. Review your market and competitive offerings. “Me too” will get lost in the shuffle – plant your flag where you can own your advantage.
  • Get customer feedback. Once you’ve narrowed your Brand Promise options to a few candidates, sit down with your customers and get their assessment. Is it relevant? Is it unique? Is it true?
  • Incorporate your promise into every area of your business. Your Brand Promise should be clearly communicated and experienced at every stage of the customer journey.

Hyperbole and spin is the lazy way to market. Don’t waste any more time and money on thin claims that erode trust. Instead, base your marketing on a Brand Promise that defines your customer experience and transforms your business.

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