Being in the privileged position of guiding our clients through our Quarterly Strategic Review process, every quarter I receive feedback on one of the elements of our strategic planning process. Each quarter we review our client's current reality and methodically help them set their key strategic priorities for the coming quarter.
We also take a deep dive into key elements of their strategic plan. Last quarter our deep dive took clients through marketing elements of their strategic plan. One of the most critical aspects of this is their Brand Promise, and in this article I hope to show you why it's so important.
The Brand Promise
We define Brand Promise as the blunt, overt, compelling offer that you bring to market. It is what you tell your target customer to expect from your company. We talk about your Brand Promise being the right "bait" to attract your target "fish," since you wouldn’t fish for trout using the same lure as big game Marlin.
A Brand Promise is made up of three elements: Emotional, Economic and Functional. "Emotional" is how you make people feel. "Economic" is what your promise offers them in time or money. And "Functional" tells them what job your brand will perform for them.
But be aware you should focus on a maximum two of these to be most effective.
I want to be clear here: if you use plain, simple language that a teenager can understand, making your promise absolutely clear and obvious, studies say you are 75% more likely to succeed.
Functional & Emotional
1‑800‑GOT‑JUNK? does a great job with the Brand Promise you see here: "We make junk disappear."
It is a Functional benefit, but they are also trying to capture an Emotional benefit with the image of the customer they display in their advertising. They are trying to convey the emotion that their target customer experiences after they deliver on their Brand Promise.
Having established your blunt, overt, compelling brand promise it is, in a skeptical world, important to give your target market reasons to believe. The bad news is that today people are innundated with over 4,000 advertising message a day, and so they believe less and less of what they see. Your Brand Promise is confronted with an attitude of ‘prove it’.
Know What's Important
There are several ways of creating "reasons to believe" in the mind of your target.
One of them is to remove risk with a guarantee. For example, "Domino’s Pizza Delivered in 30 Minutes Or It's Free" is a famous example of a powerful guarantee aimed at creating a reason to believe that Dominos is “The World’s Number 1 Pizza Delivery Company.”
Another is demonstrations. TV infomercials have stood the test of time in this regard, because they work. They let serious, potential buyers see and experience how a product matches up to it’s promise.
Data, statistics and graphs can also serve as proof. The maps below tell their own story and give a powerful reason to believe that Verizon has the best coverage in the United States:
Testimonials and Recommendations, of course, are among the very best sources of proof. If your customers have a great experience working with you or using your product, leverage their stories. Get them to tell others that they, too, will have a great experience.
It is the power of testimonials that has been on my personal radar this month. That's because I was recently travelling in Myanmar and came across a compelling, and charming, use of them.
As in many cities there are plenty of tour operators, taxis and guides who want to sell you their services showing you the main tourist attractions. We were approached on the streets numerous times by potential guides, but we didn't rush to a decision.
Then we were approached by Yusef and Rukham. They had the same patter that many of the guides had, of course. But these two had much more.
First, they had a Brand Promise: "The Most Complete Tour in Mandalay."
Second, they had proof. They had prepared photos of the main sights they would take us to. They proudly showed us how well looked after their scooters were.
And, most impressively, they had notebooks of hand written testimonials from tourists from many countries. They were in English, Spanish, French and German. Everyone praised the safety of their riding, their knowledge and the overall experience they provided.
We were convinced. According to numerous strangers, we would have a great time and an exceptional tour. These two entrepreneurs took the time to collect testimonials, and the way they used them really made them stand out from the crowd.
That's the idea. You want your Brand Promise to talk to your target market as directly as possible. To achieve this, keep your focus narrow, your language clear, and give your customer reasons to believe.