10 Sep 2018 20:15 IST

Ensuring a sound rationale behind brand promise

The right brand positioning should effectively convey a company’s core attributes and purpose

Strong brands are credible, relevant and distinctive. Most importantly, they live up to their promises every day. But digital innovations and social media advancements have changed the way we look at brands. Now, anyone can publicly broadcast their opinions about a brand, immediately impacting its image.

Given this reality, how can one strengthen their brand identity? The answer is simple: with trust. The execution, though, is far more complex. To begin with, people should be able to trust a brand, and this starts with the employees. This requires a shift in mindset of those who lead the organisation.

At the same time, it is important to prove a company’s core purpose. Trust is the lever here and the market has to trust a brand. A person is likely to value a brand more if they hear good things about it from people around them, especially family and friends. In this hyper-connected world, a positive message travels quickly but a negative one probably spreads faster. Therefore, keeping a brand’s promise in focus, and mapping how it delivers on it will be key to brand positioning.

With this, let’s analyse the rationale behind a brand’s promise.

Show, don’t tell

The brand promise reveals what a brand stands for. It is one of the most significant reasons for a stakeholder to choose that specific brand. Often, this unequivocal promise is communicated through a slogan or tag line. However, it can also be conveyed tacitly through behaviour towards key stakeholders.

A brand’s success is the outcome of a relevant promise that is the DNA of the organisation. This was voiced by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs in 1997: “To me, marketing is about values. This is a very complicated and noisy world. You are not going to get the chance to get people to remember much about you. You have to be very clear on what you want them to know.” As a matter of fact, a brand is constantly in contact with its stakeholders and it must give them the true look and feel of the brand at all times. This means going all out to consistently keep the promise.

Memorable brand experiences

The least a customer can expect from a brand is that it lives up to the promises it makes. To prove the brand promise, everything has to be in place. Customers ought to experience this through various channels: face-to-face interaction, in stores, on smartphones, the website, and other digital channels.

With social media, it is imperative for a brand to prove its promise in all communication. As consumers become more assertive, if a brand promise is not in accord with the experience, credibility can be destroyed. Nowadays, the brand promise is regarded as the fundamental driver of purchase behaviour. The exterior focus of the brand, coupled with attractive TVC and ad campaigns, allow one to see the governing principle of not just the brand but the entire organisation.

The front-runner

Starbucks is a fitting example of a brand with consistent promise and proof. Employees are welcoming and responsive, and the overall aesthetics is inviting with contemporary furniture, pleasant aromas, and tranquillity. The range of products is similar across the stores globally. The company is sensitive towards people and the environment. Remarkably, the way it communicates its brand promise is exactly the same everywhere — not just in the stores, but also on social media, the corporate website and other channels. It is friendly, provides quick service, and it is evident that it is truly passionate about coffee.

It’s clear that a brand interacts with its customers, employees, partners, and other stakeholders through various touchpoints, be it online or offline. It is only when these touchpoints align to exhibit the same promise that the strength of the brand is effectively conveyed and stays with the consumer.