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.

Are QR Codes A Marketing Gimmick?

QR Codes Are Stupid -- Only If You Use Them IncorrectlyThere are plenty of articles talking about the failure of QR codes. Most with pictures proving their point. My favorite is the QR code on a billboard.   The proverbial wrong tool for the job.

So QR codes are stupid, right? Nothing more than a marketing gimmick.

Let’s not jump to conclusions. Granted they haven’t taken off like some thought they would. And no one will argue that using a marketing tool in the wrong way will every work.

QR codes are only a tool in your marketing toolbox

Not surprisingly, we think QR codes can play a key role in your marketing mix. Especially when used on packaging.

Here’s why: If you have a story to tell to the shopper, and not enough room on you package to tell it, a QR code can help provide critical information.

With the rise of smart phones, QR readers are commonplace. That means that consumers can scan your code if they want to.

Using a QR code is the beginning of your marketing, not the end

QR codes are only a tool in your marketing toolboxMany marketers slap a QR code on and have it point to something easy – like the home page of their website. How’s that helping your shopper make any kind of decision to purchase your product?

Instead, create a micro site for your product that’s designed to be viewed on a mobile device. And have a 15 or 30 second video that’s tied to the product.  An example might be to explain the ease of use, demonstrate installation steps or to add critical details to a complex selling story.

An added bonus is that those simple videos can also be used as rich media content on your A+ pages on eCommerce sites like Amazon.

The micro site has pictures of the product in use, tips and other important points that bring your product to life for the consumer.  All in a quick, simple and concise way.

Using QR codes will impress my buyer!

new-bright-ideaYour buyer will probably not be impressed and is likely to question the strategy. Be prepared to answer any questions your merchant may pose factually. And never underestimate the power of a demonstration in their office.

Share with your buyer the key reasons when QR codes make the most sense:

  1. Limited space on the packaging to bring the product to life
  2. When you have a complex selling story
  3. When a demonstration is a powerful closer

Clarify where the QR code will point and how the content there is relevant and can be re-purposed for eCommerce and in other social media use. In other words, how you plan on using it to drive consumers to their stores.

Share how you plan on tracking click-thrus and be willing to share that data with your merchant. And don’t worry if the numbers clicking are small.

By using QR codes appropriately and as part of your overall marketing mix, your buyer might just be impressed!