When most people think of the word, “brand” they think of the Nike Swoosh, Ford “blue oval,” McDonalds Golden Arches, or the “State Farm is There” jingle.
But a brand is a lot more than a logo, icon, or memorable slogan. As catchy as it may sound, it isn’t the “brand” in the true sense—and it certainly isn’t what makes the brand valuable.
A company’s brand is a promise. And successful brands consistently deliver on their promises, which is how they create brand value.
What’s a Brand Promise?
A brand promise is what the company commits to the people who interact with it. It’s not a description of what a company does in a literal sense. It’s a description of the company’s character. To some extent, it’s a mission; it’s how the company creates and delivers value. Also, it’s the feeling the company conveys to its stakeholders. Two restaurants, for example, may have similar menus, but provide different atmospheres, different associations, and different customer experiences based on their brand promises.
To illustrate, here are the brand promises from three highly successful, world-wide brands:
- The NFL: “To be the premier sports and entertainment brand that brings people together, connecting them socially and emotionally like no other.”
- Coca-Cola: “To inspire moments of optimism and uplift.”
- Virgin: “To be genuine, fun, contemporary, and different in everything we do at a reasonable price.”
Interesting. In none of the above cases does the brand promise describe what these companies do or provide. The NFL’s brand promise says nothing about football. Coca-Cola doesn’t talk about providing the best soft drinks in the world. And Virgin’s promise goes a lot farther than seating passengers in airplanes. Good brand promises, like these, talk about what these companies promise to be for you, the consumer.
At the Bill Marsh Automotive Group, the company my brothers and I own and operate, our brand promise says nothing about cars and trucks. It is:
To be the gold standard of customer service… by striving to create positive experiences…every customer, every day.”
This promise impacts every decision we make. It compelled us to create a company-wide customer service training program that delivers over 1200 employee-hours of annual classroom training in customer care. Crafting this brand promise seven years ago permanently changed the culture of our entire company.
You are no different.
Just like these companies, the strength of your personal brand has everything to do with the promise you make to your target market. This could be your customers, co-workers, family members–anyone you interact with on any level. The more value you deliver and the more consistently you deliver it, the stronger your personal brand.
Here’s how author and personal branding consultant Susan Chritton describes a personal brand promise:
“Your brand promise is your unique promise of value you make to your target market that your brand will fulfill. It is the essence of what you have to offer and guides you in how you will live your personal brand. It clarifies and communicates what makes you special–what makes you different from other people. Crafting this promise requires understanding your values, interests, strengths, and personal qualities and using them to distinguish yourself.”
If you’ve never taken the time to clarify your brand promise, I encourage you to download my personal branding profile guide. It will require a commitment of time and thought, but if you are serious about building a strong personal brand, I guarantee you it will be well worth the investment.
Here’s a question: As you reflect on these three examples of corporate brand promises, what about you? What description do you want to make about your character? What feeling do you want to convey to the people who matter to you? How do you want to be remembered? I’m curious to know…post your comments.
A person of integrity willing to go the extra mile to help anyone in need.
Good! My advice would be to “unpack” this statement. For example, what
does it mean to be a person of integrity? (List the specific behaviors).
Write down some examples of “going the extra mile” for people; they
coud be examples from the Bible or other references, from people you
admire, etc. The more clear you are about who and how you aspire to be,
the more it will engage your mind and heart.
As a leader, I want the people with whom I work to know that I will do whatever is needed for them to perform their job duties with excellence.
As a leader, I want the people with whom I work to know that I will do whatever is needed for them to perform their job functions with excellence.
Well said, Terry. According to Dr. John Maxwell, one fhe biggest “leadership landmines” is losing touch with your people. According to Maxwell, the age old leadership axiom, “It’s lonely at the top” is one of the dumbest, most destructive ideas any leader could embrace. Successful leaders can sometimes withdrawl from the very things that made them successful, especially serving their people.
Very well said….agree with each word..:)
brand should hold and keep customer happy
but want to know the techniques how to build trust / faith of new brands to customers..
I am interested in finding my brand promise but do not know how to phrase it. I love to write personal, meaningful stories to inspire people. I also love to create videos/documentary about the world around me.
This is very well thought out and well-planned. You are a unique thinker and bring up great individualized points. Please continue discussing wise points to remember about a brand promise.
Thank you for your kind feedback, Jerome.
Great blog you have here but I was curious if you knew of
any user discussion forums that cover the same topics
talked about in this article? I’d really love to be a part of online community where I can get feedback from other
knowledgeable individuals that share the same interest. If you have any suggestions, please let me know.
What a wonderful post! I spend a couple of minutes on reading, and I’m so excited
by the information I received, by the way of writing it reminded me this page https://whatswhatcollective.com/things-more-likely-than-winning-lottery/. It is actually tough to find
something precious on that topic. But this author
seems to be a genuine professional because there’s
a special style in his writings. I’m going to subscribe to
his new books, just to not skip anything. This post worths
its own reading.
Thank you for your kind feedback, Janice! I’m going to check out the website you mentioned!