3 Ways to Make (and Keep) Your Brand Promise

clear, relevant, differentiating and compelling brand promisesWhat promises are you making to your customers?

To motivate customers, a brand promise must meet the following three goals:

  • It must convey a compelling benefit
  • It must be authentic & credible
  • The promise must be kept, every time

A brand promise is not a tagline telling customers what they should expect from your business.

Strong brands possess clear, relevant, differentiating and compelling brand promises. Even more importantly, they fulfill these every day.

3 Ways to Make (and Keep) Your Brand PromiseA company’s brand is its promise. And successful brands consistently deliver on their promises, which is how they create brand value.

The questions a company must ask to create a brand promise sound short and sweet, but effectively answering them requires intense and lengthy discussion about what the company means on the deepest level: how it does what it does, what the feel of working with the company is, and what kind of character the company has.

The goal is to develop a brand promise that is:

  • Clear
  • Relevant
  • Differentiating
  • Compelling

Equally important, is that a brand promise ensures that employees, channel partners and consumers can all answer the deceptively simple question of “Why Our Brand?” In fact, it will also allow your team to create marketing communications that inspire and motivate and enable consistent brand messaging throughout all our brand’s customer & partner touch points.

Ultimately, you need to describe how the brand delivers on its promise. A promise, however, is good only if it’s kept. If a company doesn’t deliver on its promise the majority of the time, its reputation—and sales—will likely decline.

The brand vision is the road map to a strong brand

The brand vision is the roadmap to a strong brandCore to the brand promise is the brand vision.  The brand vision is a plan that aligns all customer/shopper based initiatives to make more effective decisions across all business functions. Its purpose is to drive revenue and profits through the development of a strong, differentiated brand.

The brand vision…

  • Defines the company purpose
  • Provides metrics to measure business decisions
  • Identifies who the target audience is
  • Provides framework for new product development
  • Focuses messaging and the voice/tone to communicate with
  • Establishes an architecture for the brand
  • Identifies appropriate channels of trade

Although it seems intuitive, strong brands make for strong businesses

Strong brand are products and services in which consumers believe there are no substitutes.

strong brands make for strong businessesStrong brands…

  • Command premium prices
  • Create barriers to competition
  • Are not commodities
  • Inspire confidence and trust
  • Are products and services consumers connect emotionally with

A brand vision brings together 5 key elements

A brand vision brings together 5 key elementsThe five elements of a brand vision are:

  • Purpose − A single statement that embodies the company’s mission and desired perceptions.
  • Positioning − The benefit we deliver to the marketplace.
  • Character − How we want to be perceived.
  • Personality − The attributes that define the brand.
  • Brand Strategy − The masterbrand architecture that defines the relationship
    of your brand to other sub-brands, product brands and services.

Where it all comes together is the brand guide

brand-touchpointsThe brand guide is an interactive document that provides standards for brand management. It is a visual identity system that many refer to as brand guidelines.

These guidelines are the design standards for managing the brand, complete with examples of do’s and don’ts of how to use the library of logos, imagery and typography that creates the brands look, tone and feel.  It covers everything from letterhead and signage to packaging, advertising and web design standards. In short, all the places that the brand can come to life.

What does success look like?

Brand Promise Creates RelevanceThe questions involved in developing a brand promise look easier on paper than it is in reality Brand promise development is hard work that generally takes multiple brainstorming sessions, lots of competitive and market research, and extensive investigation into the true nature of the company. It’s exhausting work.

And yet, as with most things that are difficult, it’s invaluable. Companies that have clearly defined brand promises and values and attributes have strong frameworks for decision-making, and using these frameworks helps develop the brand’s strength and worth to the organization.

And the prize at the end?

  • A simple, differentiated brand essence and position that you can own.
  • Clear articulation for consumers, customers and employees of “Why Our Brand” above our competition – no matter who they are!
  • Brand identity that breaks through the clutter, is difficult for our competition to copy or has proprietary elements.
  • Can be translated to product, packaging, merchandising, advertising, web, and national promotions – a whole cadre of marketing and communications vehicles.
  • Articulation of essence, promise and identity into messaging and graphics that make consumers want to take action to buy our products NOW.
  • Creates value for retailers because consumers are coming to their brick & mortar or online establishment to look for you exclusively.
  • Capitalizes on employees’ pride to work for you making superior products and providing top-notch customer service and support.

Good Selling!

Greg Bonsib is an author of the new Mighty Guides Ebook Data Disruption.

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Is Your Sales Team Asking The Right Pricing Questions?

Is Your Sales Team Asking The Right Pricing QuestionsMake no mistake; no customer buys anything just because they like you.

Truth is, you either bring a great deal of value to your customers or they take their business elsewhere.  Your products and capabilities must provide customers an opportunity to achieve greater returns on their business.

The nature of price competition

Competition In BusinessIn sports competition, the more intense the process, the better the game.

The key to success is to put you heart in the game and play it as hard as you can. In sports, the ultimate goal is to WIN.

In price competition, the more intense the process, the worse the game.

The key to success is to weigh thoughtfully the cost of each confrontation against the likely reward. In business, the ultimate goal is to PROFIT.

When pricing, don’t get constrained by tactical thinking

When pricing, don’t get constrained by tactical thinkingTo achieve the greatest profitability, a sales person’s job is to ask strategic pricing questions.

Do Not Ask:

“What price do we need to cover our costs and achieve our profit objectives?”

Ask:

“What changes in our prices or product mix would increase the contribution available to cover our costs and increase our profits?”

Do Not Ask:

“What prices are the buyers willing-to-pay?”

“What level of price will enable us to achieve our market share objectives?”

Ask:

“What level of market share can we most profitably achieve?”

“Which portions of the market can we profitably fight for (with what weapons?) and which should we yield to the competition?”

“How can we minimize the adverse effects of price competition in pursuit of sustainable profits?”

Managing price competition without undermining profitability

Don't THink Tactically About PricingThere are only two ways to prevent price competition from undermining profitability:

  • Develop competitive advantages
  • Manage the competitive process

The ultimate goal in managing price competition is to create stable competitive environment in which you can earn the best possible sustainable return on investment.

Recognized market leaders are likely to initiate price increases but often do not initiate price cuts.  Often, the price leader role is filled by a firm that has technical leadership and low unit manufacturing cost.

The market leader often has the largest and strongest distribution system. Market leaders generally also have technical leadership. Customers are anxious to maintain relations with suppliers who are in the forefront of technology.

As a sale person, your goal must be to implement a pricing plan that provides leadership to the industry and communicates your desire to stabilize the markets and capture your value. It should incentivize your customers to trade up and earn you a reasonable return.

That’s a win-win for everyone.

How do you communicate your value and pricing with your sales team and customers? Let us know.