What is Your Brand Promise?

Think back to when you conceived your business. Way back before you’d produced a single product or hired your first employee. Chances are you were motivated by a desire to do something better. Or go about things differently. Or build a business model that had never been done before.

No matter what you were thinking, you were setting the groundwork for a promise you could build your brand upon. Companies that articulate this brand promise clearly are more likely to succeed. Those that don’t risk the kind of employee and customer attrition that comes from being brand vague and inarticulate.

Not sure what your brand promise is? The following tips can help you find out.

1. Take a close look

If you held your business up to a mirror, what would you see? Would it reflect a culture that’s service oriented? A model that thrives on innovation? A business that puts savings and value first and foremost? Does the mirror reflect a single attribute that’s an authentic representation of your company, or does it show a foggy combination of a lot of things?

If it’s the former, you have the beginnings of a brand promise that’s legitimate. All you have to do is articulate it clearly and employees and consumers will buy in. If it’s the latter, however, you’ll need to think long and hard about what your brand stands for. If you don’t know yourself, go on to step two.

2. Ask around

One of the quickest ways to identify your company’s brand promise is to ask your employees and customers a simple question: “How would you describe this business in ten words or less?” All it takes is a simple survey to reveal answers that may or may not surprise you. For instance, if you’re under the impression your business is value oriented, yet your customers are saying your prices are high, perhaps it’s time to change your pricing or set your sights on a target that’s not motivated by perceived value.

If your employees are describing your restaurant business as locally sourced but your suppliers come from out of state, a brand promise to “serve only the freshest ingredients” won’t fly. In either case, your promise isn’t aligned with your true business “self.” If this is the case, go to step three.

3. Conduct a brand profiling study

Many business owners find themselves too close to the situation to correctly identify their true brand promise. Or they try to live up to a promise they can’t possibly fulfill. If you feel you’ve lost your sense of objectivity, engaging a consultant or agency to help you do so can be money well spent. A typical profile will not only lead to a brand promise that’s authentic, it can also help you identify your brand’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to it (called a SWOT analysis). Knowing these will help you see where your brand really stands, and that’s a huge step in landing a promise.

Like promises you make in life, brand promises are strongest when you keep them. Make sure your promise is a true indicator of your business and you’ll never break yours.

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