One of the most powerful aspects of branding is the brand promise. This promise highlights your competitive advantage, differentiating you from your competition and attracting customers from your target market. This differentiation is based upon a limited number of key benefits which promote your competitive advantage and allow your brand to establish a market leadership position.

There are two main traps to avoid when it comes to a brand promise.

Trap #1 – Not Having One

“What our brand stands for is so obvious we don’t need a specific promise.” In the absence of an overt promise, customers will assume a promise and set their expectations accordingly. The obvious danger of forcing customers to guess at your brand promise is that they may not get it right. If their guesses are inaccurate you will end up with some very disappointed customers. As well, they may not be aware of your competitive advantage, therefore making a poor choice between your brand and your competitors.

Trap #2 – Failing to Deliver

You fail to deliver if you establish an overt brand promise and then don’t keep your promise. Have you ever purchased a product or service and found the experience to be significantly less than advertised? I believe we have all had that unhappy experience (see fast food image), and it creates distrust at a minimum, and can irreparably damage a brand.

What to do?

First, based on your competitive advantage (you know what it is right?), select the one or two key benefits that will resonate most powerfully with your target market, and establish a promise. Do this with as few words as possible (less than twelve), and build all of your brand marketing and sales messaging around this promise. People choose brands whose promise resonates with their needs, because they perceive the brand is offering more of what they are looking for – in other words, value.

Second, ensure that what you deliver lives up to this promise. Constantly gather customer feedback, and work on continuously improving your ability to deliver. Promises do matter– if you don’t deliver, you risk becoming irrelevant in the marketplace.

Make sure your brand is creating raving fans and building powerful brand loyalty, not telling a whopper of a lie.

Article: John Leduc