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“Customer experience is the last source of sustainable differentiation and the new competitive battleground.”

Tiffani Bova, Gartner

Decoding Modern Marketing

3. THE BRAND PROMISE

GALLUP RESEARCH FINDS THAT EFFECTIVE BRAND PROMISES ARE:

Compelling: delivers an important and differentiated value proposition.

Connecting: consistently connects emotionally with customers.

Credible: fits the brand's identity.

Every time any of us interacts with a brand, we are either in the process of receiving a brand’s promise, or experiencing if it’s being delivered. A brand promise describes what a customer can expect to get from a company. It is made up of both specific, quantifiable promises, and intangible promises. It reflects what the company believes in and stands for, (it’s purpose and values), the value proposition of the product, and the differentiated position of the brand vs. the competition, all packaged into a compelling story. Parts of it will change over time, but the foundation will not. These promises are not just overt promises, although some can be, but are also impressions made every time consumers interact with a brand. The sum of these impressions create perceptions about what to think, believe and expect.

A BRAND PROMISE IS A PROMISE FOR A BETTER FUTURE.

To continue the personification idea, the brand promise is the hope and expectation that a new friend creates. Let’s say you’re an enthusiastic, beginning rock climber. You meet someone with experience who offers to help you. He is friendly, a lover of the sport, just like you, and you both share a passion for the joys of the great outdoors. This is a new friend, someone with knowledge and experience you value, someone who shares your interests and passions, and someone you want to trust and believe in. It’s the beginning of a relationship. Everyone has been in this position. What happens next is the difference between this new person turning out to be a genuine and valued friend, or a flake. It’s the same with brands.

A brand promise is a promise for a better future. It creates an expectation that the product will make things better, in some large or small way, than they are today. The trick is to make sure that the ideas behind your promise are credible and meaningful to your target audience. People are assaulted by messages and media 24/7, so they need to believe before they remember and care. Vague promises that feel like they cannot be experienced, evaluated or measured, like “We’re the best!” are worthless. People are looking for brands that are confident enough to put themselves on the line in some way or another.

MEASURE US AGAINST OUR PROMISES IS A VERY POWERFUL POSITION TO TAKE.

Consumers are experts. They have been the recipients of marketing for years. What they are looking for is truth and authenticity, and it has a feel. I believe people can actually sense the truth of a company and if their commitments are real, or only on paper. Promises, therefore cannot be made lightly. That’s why creating your brand requires evidence-based insights. You need to truly understand the behavior and psychology of your prospects and customers, your competition and your own organization. The process outlined previously in Chapter 1 – Develop the Plan will give you most of the answers you need.