In earlier posts, we looked at the importance of developing a brand strategy as part of a comprehensive marketing strategy. Further to this, we took a look at identifying features and benefits – and the difference between them – and from this foundation we can begin building your brand promise.
Your brand is fundamentally a promise. Meaning that when your brand is well understood and recognized by the target customer (amongst others) it will be associated immediately with a promise. For the consumer, this link between the brand (intangible) and the promise (concrete and tangible) forms the basis for brand preference and ultimately purchase.
A familiar example of this link is the Volvo brand. You are already thinking “safety.” At the core of Volvo’s brand strategy was a fundamental understanding of its product. On the product design and engineering level, Volvo pioneered the use of a variety of safety features (such as side airbags) that provided the occupants of the car with a greater degree of protection from injury due to a collision. The benefit is obvious: safety. The promise, decoded in basic terms, is: Because of Volvo’s use of side airbags, amongst other unique safety features, you and your family are safer using our cars than our competitors.
Volvo took it one step further to create the tagline “Volvo. For Life.”
Other great brand promise examples (that Toronto folks will no doubt recognize.)
- Pizza Pizza: “40 minutes or it’s free.”
- Eatons: “Goods Satisfactory or Money Refunded.”
- Tim Hortons: “Always Fresh”
- My company, cōjent. marketing + communications brand promise is “better marketing for your business.”
Now, on to the 4 marketing secrets as promised in the headline of this post. Hopefully, you can use these as best practices, or guiding principles, as you start to think about what brand promise will be for your business.
1. Strong brand promises are short, simple, and direct. There is neither space nor time nor consumer patience to grasp a mission statement. (I think mission statements should be a brief elaboration on your brand promise, nothing more. But that’s for another post.)
2. Strong brand promises are consistently demonstrable. Westjet doesn’t promise luxury travel. Harley Davidson doesn’t promise low prices. Your brand promise has to be consistently deliverable to your customers and potential customers. Otherwise, it’s no good – it’s not a promise.
3. Strong brand promises are easy to remember. Lofty promises are difficult to keep and lack credibility. It is also difficult for most consumers to relate to vague or grandiose statements. “40 Minutes or it’s free” is a tangible, easy to remember promise. Thanks Pizza Pizza! Remember you have about 3 seconds (or less) to communicate the brand promise.
4. Strong brand promises capture the core benefit you provide the consumer: Your product or service may offer many different benefits to different consumers at different times. What is the one strongest benefit your customers get?
Ok, that should have your wheels turning. Next post: the checklist for building your brand promise.