Trust in your brand promise

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Okay, we lied. It sucks, doesn’t it, being promised something and then let down? It’s why your brand promise shouldn’t be taken lightly.

In life, people who care for their reputation work hard to honour promises they make. Keeping a promise earns trust and respect. But breaking a promise damages reputation. The same is true for brands.

The brand promise matters because it’s often the most direct and meaningful expression of value to your audience. And what they are most likely to remember about you.

The brand promise succinctly expresses your relevance and worth to key audiences. It summarises the value they can consistently expect.

Keeping a promise earns trust and respect. But breaking a promise damages reputation.

What brand promise looks like

The brand promise is usually only seen by an audience when it’s expressed through the brand’s positioning phrase or purpose. But thinking about the brand promise as a standalone statement is useful to clarify your brand’s explicit value.

An effective brand promise is a stated offering that appeals to something highly important to its audience. The promise must be compelling. Your audience must think and feel positively about what your brand claims to believe it. To differentiate your brand, study your competitors’ promises. Then promise something that they don’t.

Single-minded promises are easier to understand and easier remembered, therefore are more likely to resonate with your audience.

One big thing

The most successful way to articulate your promise is to be single-minded. Rather than promise a range of benefits, it’s more effective to focus on the most meaningful, relevant benefit your brand can deliver on. The fact is, people are unlikely to remember much about your brand. Audiences will typically associate you with only one or two things in their minds.

Volvo promises safety. 7-Eleven promises convenience. Coca-Cola used to promise refreshment, but its audience’s priorities shifted. Now it promises happiness.

Single-minded promises are easier to understand and easier remembered, therefore are more likely to resonate with your audience.

Justify your promise

We often get promises from people and businesses we don’t know very well. We trust them by seeking reasons to believe (RTB). When developing brands we explicitly list RTB as evidence that your promise can be trusted.

RTB come in two types, emotional and functional. Emotional reasons focus on how an audience will feel fulfilled. Functional reasons present desirable, tangible proof points of the brand’s value, such as product features, quality, attitude, influence and uniqueness.

Seek balance between reason and emotion to express this promise in a persuasive, engaging way.

Getting promise right

It’s tempting to exaggerate the truth of your RTB, and stuff all the brand’s benefits into your key proposition. But this can make the promise unclear, difficult to fulfil, and can irreparably damage your credibility.

Wholehearted brand builders focus on only the strongest, leading benefit to articulate promise. They seek balance between reason and emotion to express this promise in a persuasive, engaging way.

A business that consistently delivers on brand promise earns trust, builds its reputation and attracts customer loyalty. Promise is at the core of wholehearted brand building – attract an audience with a compelling, realistic promise that solves a problem or offers delight. Then respect your customers by consistently fulfilling that promise as faithfully as possible. Because a promise kept is a customer earned.

Key takeaway: A promise kept is a customer earned

What does your brand promise? Ask us how we engage various stakeholders with compelling, believable promises.

What does your brand promise? Ask us how we engage various stakeholders with compelling, believable promises.

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