‘What is a brand promise’ isn’t a new question. But it’s one that’s so often answered incorrectly that we thought we’d write a quick post to clear it up for the world, once and for all.
Let’s start by saying that a brand isn’t a logo. It isn’t pictures. Nor colours. It’s not a brochure. Or a website. A brand goes much deeper than an organisation’s visual elements; it’s a promise, or a set of promises, that you will give something of value to the customer.
It’s relatively easy to talk about ‘brands’ in the context of globally renowned organisations because they have spent untold amounts of money creating and delivering their brand promise. In the case of Apple their brand promises that they will think differently when making products for their customers and their products will help their customers to think differently too. Others may be more straightforward. Tesco, for example, promises to serve their customers a little better every day. And Disney is about ‘imagination and fun’.
This post provides a list of the world’s most valuable brands with the usual suspects heading the pack:
• Apple – US$ 145bn
• Microsoft Corporation – US$ 69.3bn
• Google – US$ 65.6bn
• Coca-Cola – US$ 56.0bn
• IBM – US$ 49.8bn
So a brand isn’t about what you sell, it’s about what you as a company promise to do for your customers.
Create your own brand
When creating a brand for yourself, start by deciding what it is your company promises to deliver its customers. Is it: low prices, great service, high-quality products. Or does it go deeper than that? Perhaps; delighting customers with every interaction, making customers safer, inspiring customers to do something or to be better?
This ‘customer promise’ needs to feed into everything your company does; from the service it delivers, to the products it creates right through to the messages and design of the website and printed collateral. It’s a good idea to have a brand guidelines document designed, outlining what your brand stands for and how any material created for your company should look. This post from Logo Design Love has a great list of brand guidelines from numerous successful companies.
A good way to start thinking about your brand is to create a short sentence that perfectly encapsulates what you promise to your customers. Then develop the statement into a series of additional descriptors that articulate the different elements of what you do for customers and how these fit with the umbrella statement. Depending on the complexity of your organisation, you may need to break this out even further but the aim is to end up with a clear brand statement / promise in a format that people – internal and external – can understand how it applies to them
Communicate this information to your employees first. The brand and its meaning need to be clear so the promise can be delivered through the way staff behave and serve customers. Your marketing effort will further support the brand by delivering appropriate messages through your website and other communication materials.