Branding for Bucks: the brand promise

Crystalize your brand promiseOkay, we�ve gone through the process of creating a brand platform � check out the series starting with Branding for Bucks: what entrepreneurs should know � so now we�re ready to fashion the first externally oriented branding element, the brand promise.

I really feel it�s more than a promise, though. That�s what most branding experts call it, but I think it�s stronger than a promise. I would rather it be know as the branding vow – as in marriage vow.

The branding vow is an assurance that your brand will fulfill a stated need in a way no other brand does. It�s a long-term commitment to a consistent but unique (read differentiated) approach to solving a need or satisfying a desire.

From it emanates your brand story, your tagline and your on-going messaging. It also sets the tone for naming your business or product; designing logos, labels and signage, and creating additional sensory-compelling attributes and communication elements.

So how do you create your branding vows?

By assimilating the various branding platform planks and crystallizing all those elements:

  • Vision and mission statements
  • Corporate culture
  • Desired competitive position
  • How you differentiate your business
  • How you deliver your goods and services
  • A determination to make decisions based upon this branding platform�

into a few phrases, sentences or paragraphs that can be used internally as inspiration and direction, and externally as the basis for building and growing relationships with prospects and customers.

Ideally, you can compress all these elements into a single phrase which can also become your business tagline. It�s difficult, but many successful brands have managed to do this, and their brands are stronger for the effort.

Several examples:

  • Secure Dreams: Retirement plans empowered, energized and enriched (financial advisor)
  • Translogic: Delivering World Class Manufacturing (materials handling systems)
  • MAP: turning knowledge into profit (management asset planning software)
  • Turning Point Consulting: Helping with the people part of change (HR consultant)

Note: there are several other terms that can and have been used in place of �brand promise� or as I like to say,�branding vow�. The most used synonym is probably �unique selling proposition�, or USP, a term coined by Rosser Reeves, the CEO of Ted Bates Advertising in the 1950�s. And after Al Ries and Jack Trout introduced positioning in the 1970�s, the term �positioning statement� was coined. And while both are based upon differentiating your enterprise from your competitors in a meaningful way, neither really addresses the longevity and consistency required of a vow or promise.

So, once your brand vow has been created and approved by management, and reviewed by a group of customers who understand it and embrace its intent, you�re ready to move on to the single most important branding element for any organization or product, the brand name.

Catch you next time.

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