The Brand Promise Lowdown: What, Why and How to Craft Yours
Unbeknownst to you, you encounter brand promises every day. Why? Because many brands embed their brand promise throughout their brand strategy framework and make their brand promise a focal point of their brand identity.
Take BMW for example. BMW's brand promise is actually written into their famous slogan: The ultimate driving machine, and their brand identity supports that promise by promising a luxury and superior driving experience.
This works as an effective twofold buying strategy for brands: Brand promises are designed to play to the gratification and satisfaction customers expect to receive from purchasing your product or using your service, which will have first been communicated throughout the brand's persuasive marketing and messaging.
So, to remind consumers of the brand promise so openly throughout slogans and taglines both supports the brand's messaging and continues to encourage customers to purchase by offering an enticing customer experience.
But if this is all new to you, brand promises can seem a daunting task to nail down. What should you include? Should you draw from the mission statement, or the brand's vision? How do you make it memorable, or effective? And why are they so important to get right anyway?
We've got you covered with the what, the why, and most importantly: the how to create a straight forward brand promise that's authentic, genuine and memorable.
What's the definition of a brand promise?
A brand promise is a statement that conveys the brand’s core value proposition to its customers, and it forms part of a brand’s messaging architecture. In other words, it’s a pledge that the brand makes to its customers regarding the type of experience they can expect when they interact with the brand.
To use Hubspot as a great brand promise example: We help millions of companies grow better. It's a short yet simple way of communicating what your brand stands for and what you're passionate about, which is what should ultimately also make it memorable.
A brand promise should be clear, credible and relevant to the customer. It should also be something that the brand can realistically deliver on, which is what makes a brand promise important. It needs to be thought of as a way to make a strong connection with your customers. It should be something that resonates with them and that they can see themselves in.
This isn’t to say that a brand promise should be boring or generic—on the contrary, a bold brand promise should be aspirational and reflect the unique identity of the brand. But most importantly, it should be something that customers can count on the brand to deliver.
The meaning of an effective brand promise
Most companies have a brand promise, but what does that really mean? The true meaning behind a brand promise is its ability to advertise and deliver a unique customer experience that sets both the brand and its offerings apart from competitors in order to win over consumers. It creates customer expectations through the goods or services it promises, and increases the desire for the product or service by advertising it as the key to unlocking the experience.
But beyond that, a brand promise is also a company's way of saying, "This is who we are and this is what you can expect from us." That's why it should also mean something to you, the business owner: your brand promise should reflect something that you're passionate about and that drives everything you do.
Because when you make a brand promise, you're setting the tone for all of your marketing communications and establishing yourself as a company that can be trusted, which is why it's so important for businesses to carefully craft their brand promises and make sure they're achievable and authentic. After all, a brand promise is not only a reflection of a company's values, but also a commitment to its customers.
So, if you're looking to build a strong relationship with your customers, a great place to start is by creating a brand promise that truly reflects your brand's core values.
Great brand promise examples
The best way to start getting comfortable with drawing from your company values and crafting your own brand promise is to get familiar with those around you.
So here are a few examples of brand promises taken from some of the biggest names to get you started:
Apple's brand promise
The iconic slogan "Think different" that began as a nod to IBM's "Think," is widely considered to be the key to Apple's wild success in the computer industry. Apple's brand promise works two-fold: they guarantee to create innovative products that help to see the world differently, and they inspire their consumers to use their products to do just that.
cisco's brand promise
“Helping seize the opportunities of tomorrow by proving that amazing things can happen when you connect the unconnected.”
Cisco's promise is one of the longer examples of brand promises you'll see, but it is impactful. Cisco's brand promise plays directly to the human spirit by threading feelings of empathy and connection to suggest their human touch is what will help companies ultimately attract customers.
Coca cola's brand promise
"Refresh the world in mind, body, and spirit, and inspire moments of optimism."
The Coca-Cola brand promise does something slightly different. It avoids mentioning the product or service and instead aims to promote the mentality held by all of those who work for the company. With just this slight change in focus, Coca-Cola positions itself as a lifestyle brand that is about more than just manufacturing popular - and now globally recognised - drinks. This helps it to maintain both longevity and market dominance.
Geico's brand promise
15 minutes or less can save you 15% or more on car insurance
Geico's entire marketing strategy is built around their brand promise, which has helped them dominate the American car insurance sector. Although a time-based assurance is difficult to keep, it's simple to quantify, and Geico has done an excellent job maintaining their reputation and keeping their word.
Brand promise vs...
Now that we've seen some brand promise examples, it might be easy to see why a brand promise can easily become confused with both brand positioning statements and value proposition statements.
But the brand promise is neither: It just guides, and often, draws from both of these separate things. Here's how they compare:
Brand Promise vs Value Proposition
A brand promise and a value proposition are similar in that they're both one or two sentences that explain to customers why they should select the company's products over those of its competitors. However, a value proposition only emphasises product features, whereas a brand promise states the long-term significance of a brand. An easy way to think of it is that product features change, but a promise won't.
A value proposition is a valuable exercise to do when creating a brand promise because a value proposition should act as a stepping stone on the road to the brand promise. To find your value proposition:
- Examine your brand's features against those of other companies to see how they stack up.
- Identify what product characteristics distinguish your company as the obvious choice and assess the demand for those features in the market.
- Check how unique or protected your product or service features are. I.e: what's stopping your competition from recreating the same product or offering the same service?
Brand Promise vs Brand Positioning
A company's brand promise is an extension of its brand positioning. To put that into context, brand positioning serves as the foundations for a brand to build on, whilst the brand promise serves as the building atop the foundations. It's the tangible, physical thing that makes the entire plot of land desirable and enticing to audiences.
Another way to think of it is that at an audience level, the brand positioning statement tells your audience about the unique selling points of your brand which differentiate it from competitors.
Whilst on the other hand, the brand promise suggests that rather than just benefiting from those USPs, customers will receive an experience that accentuates and highlights those unique differences. E.g: In the example of BMW, the USPs of their vehicles may not differ drastically when compared to other luxury sedans, but it is the experience a consumer will receive from driving the vehicle that will highlight why their unique features in particular matter.
Your brand promise template: How to create your own brand promise
To write a brand promise, it's best to start by brainstorming what you want your brand to stand for. Then, once you have an idea of your brand's core values, you can start to craft a specific and realistic promise that resonates with your target audience.
Keep in mind that your brand promise is not something that you can change on a whim - it should be a long-term commitment that you are prepared to stick to. With careful planning and execution, your brand promise can be an essential part of building a strong and successful brand.
Use these branding agency approved prompts below to form a template that should start bringing your brand promise together.
1. Choose a differentiator
There are hundreds upon thousands of different brand promises, not only because there are hundreds upon thousands of different companies in the world, but because each company has something different about it.
And it's that difference which sets apart the most successful companies from their competitors. That key difference will be highlighted not only in the brand's messaging, but throughout its brand promise and its brand identity, and it will be evident in the brand experience. Kapferer’s brand identity prism is a great place to start if you’re unsure of which identity your brand aligns with.
Your brand or business has something that makes it unique - so drill down into what it is. Your company's customers want to know why you're important. Because you probably compete with many others in the same industry, emphasise an aspect of yourself that sets you apart from others. Use authenticity as a foundation for your brand promise.
2. Highlight your purpose
Make your brand promise represent who you are, what you do, or what makes you unique. There should be no marketing without a purpose. This is your chance to get across something important about your experience, goods, or beliefs. Whatever message you're conveying, make sure it tells a lot about who you are.
3. Make it measurable
You can't measure or improve what you can't quantify. As a result, strive to express your brand's promise in terms that are measurable and readily understood, such as:
- Emotional benefits
- Cost Savings
4. Answer the "why"
The goal of your goods should be to create a sense of wonder and desire in your consumers. To what extent are you focused on the “why” of your items? What is your ultimate objective? What feeling or accomplishment could people count on you for? What is the life-enriching purpose of your products or services? Do you provide peace of mind? Happiness? A competitive business edge?
Be clear about what you want and expect from employees, customers, and others. Make sure you are on the same page about your staff availability, presence, completion of tasks, and following up on their duties and responsibilities. Develop a personal code of conduct to live by—a set of values that will shape your interactions with the world.
Your brand promise should be more than simply descriptive or aspirational. Customers want to know that your product, service, or experience is worth something to you. Not every firm delivers value in the form of cost savings. This is your chance to convey the intangible value of what you do. Remember without value, your brand promise is no more than another slogan.
5. Talk directly to your customers: Not everyone
Brands are not intended to prove that you're everything to everyone. Make some assertions and take a position that turns off a few people. You'll thank yourself when your core consumers become brand advocates as a result of your efforts.
Harley Davidson are a brand who have regularly changed their brand promises in line with the different types of consumers that they are targeting, so it doesn't matter if your most recent brand promise needs to change to communicate directly with the people you need it to - especially if you are moving from a general audience to one that is niche.
Consider what your target consumers care about. Why do they want you around? What makes them tick? What are they concerned about? You can speak to the essence of whatever that is just by using your brand promise.
6. Ensure there is consistency
Another key element to consider is consistency. What's the real message of your entire brand that you want to consistently deliver?
A brand promise is a statement that reflects the brand's core values and identity. It is a pledge to customers that the brand will deliver a certain level of quality and service. In order for a brand promise to be effective, it needs to be consistent. That means delivering on the brand promise consistently over time, across all touchpoints. When customers encounter a brand, they should always know what to expect. Consistency builds trust and creates loyalty. It also reinforces the brand's identity in the minds of consumers.
7. Keep it simple
It may seem ironic after seven steps and a lot of thought, but the best brand promises are those that are simple.
The simplest approach in crafting a universally-understood concept is to utilise simplicity, brevity, and clarity. This idea is even more essential if your brand itself is about simplicity.
You don't need adjectives to complicate your message if you're selling simplicity. So avoid them. It's excessive if it takes more than one breath to say it. Even though your message is a little more complex, stick to 10 words or less.
So, to summarise
Creating a brand promise may seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. At Huddle, we can help you to find and develop your authentic brand promise.
By understanding what makes your company unique, developing a message that resonates with your customers, and using language that is genuine and memorable, you can create a powerful statement about who you are as a business.
So don’t be afraid to take the plunge – crafting a brand promise is an important step in building a successful marketing strategy. Get help with yours: brief us. Or, view the work we’ve done previously.