A Brand Promise is not a slogan. It’s at the core of everything you do, and everything you stand for. It’s a promise to deliver something emotionally compelling to your customers that you stand by every day. And it needs to be credible.
Deciding on your Brand Promise starts with a deep understanding your Core Customer.
“Determining a brand promise is a fateful moment in the life of any company. Choose the right one – the one your customers respond to, the one you can track and execute day after day – and you win. It’s truly that simple. Choose the wrong one, and you’ll probably flounder for years, never quite hitting your goals,” says Verne Harnish.
The Brand Promise is at the heart of an effective strategy for differentiation. You’re looking for what really matters to your customer, that also demonstrably differentiates you from the competition, and can help you maintain a price premium over your competition, too.
Start by asking, who are your ideal customers, the customers that are core to your success, that value what you do and are prepared to pay for it?
Your core customers have their own unique desires, hopes and fears. What can you promise that will be emotionally compelling and really matter to them, make you stand out in the marketplace? And importantly, how will you measure your success?
Consider these three memorable examples from Apple, Walmart and Nike…
Apple: “Think different.”
What started as a shrug to IBM’s “Think,” Apple’s brand promise is arguably the most famous slogan of all time and the key to Apple’s wild success in the computer industry. Apple’s brand promise is two-sided–their guarantee to create products based on seeing the world a little differently, and their promise to inspire their customers to do the same.
Walmart: “Save money. Live better.”
By combining the obvious promise of low prices with emotional benefits, Walmart offers its shoppers a better quality of life with easy access to the necessities.
Nike: “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.”
This brand promise doesn’t even mention Nike products, but instead tells the consumer how they think and what they aim to do on a much larger scale than sports clothing and equipment.
Once you’re clear on your brand promise, your next step is to really bring it to life, everywhere – from the boardroom and lunchroom to uniforms, vehicles and building signage. You need to keep that brand promise front and centre, so everyone can see exactly how you are bringing it to life in your day to day.
When your brand promise truly lives in your business, every staff member, every customer and every prospect will know what you believe in, and what you’re promising to deliver.
Looking for further reading? Check out the great Jim Collins’ article for HBR in 1999 here https://hbr.org/1999/07/turning-goals-into-results-the-power-of-catalytic-mechanisms