Do I Need A Brand Promise?


Why Preserve The Status Quo – Part 3

Have you read the previous posts yet? Click onto the links below for a better follow through of this series that aims to help SMEs identify actionable steps to build stronger brands.

Part 1: Why preserve the status quo?
Part 2: It’s no longer just about differentiation…


Your brand isn’t what you promise it is, it is what others (and Google search) say and feel about you.

Definition: Brand Promise

A brand promise is a commitment made by a company to its audience. Or what you do for whom. It often encourages purchase, and focuses on maximizing value and minimizing risk. A great brand promise fulfils the criteria of being unique, catchy, convincing and credible. It could appear in the form of a tagline, or a campaign name, or be said during speeches, or a line that is long forgotten in the brand guidebook.

Examples include IBM’s Smarter Planet initiative, Coca Cola’s Open Happiness campaign, Apple’s Think Different rally and Nike’s (were you thinking Just Do It?)To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world, *if you have a body, you are an athlete.

Who Is The Brand Promise for?

Who is it for exactly? The internal or external stakeholders? The answer is: both.

As a guiding principle for your brand, it is easier to remember than your mission statement, or the string of values. Helping employees and customers understand what you do, and for whom, makes the commitment real, relatable and relevant.

Why Is It Necessary To Be Real, Relatable And Relevant?

It’s tiring to pretend to be someone you are not. In essence, having a brand promise is not just a single promise. Just like signing on the marriage certificate as proof of a couple’s commitment to loving and being faithful to each other for the rest of their lives, it signifies something greater. A brand promise is a signal to your stakeholders that you are interested to build a strong relationship with them.

Humans are emotional beings and creatures of habit. We feel for brands, brands that we love. The feelings are built over time and it defines us. We relate to certain tech companies, food chains, retail stores (like Apple, McDonalds, Zara I absolutely adore) and even in the workplace (don’t say it’s not the same for B2B) – from the manufacturers/suppliers we like to source from, to being particular about the brand of sticky notes that we use, to the photocopier rental company, and of course the partners we collaborate with on a long term basis – these are brands who have made promises and eventually gained our trust and affection.

So, furthering the question of whether a brand promise is necessary, I would urge you to think of the next question:

 How Do Brands Build Relationships With Their Stakeholders?

  1. Think of your stakeholders as humans, not numbers.
  2. Understand their motivations, likes and dislikes.
  3. Decide what a relationship success looks like.
  4. Meet them where they are at (events, search engines, social media, advertising channels, newspapers or other publications, etc.)
  5. Create (free) tools and content that would delight them.
  6. Help them with tasks that they need to complete.
  7. Use analytical tools to understand what works and what needs to be changed.
  8. Keep conversations alive.
  9. Continue integrating the online and offline channels till they flow seamlessly.
  10. “Stay hungry, stay foolish.”


– Brainstorm with your management team what a good brand promise should look like, taking into consideration your industry, company culture and target audiences.

– Read comments from past feedback forms, forums, or anything you can find about your brand on Google – is there a pattern that can be established? Did sentiments grow more positive or negative over time? Are there any issues that are hurting your brand reputation?

– Think of the current process of building relationships with your stakeholders. How can it be adapted to incorporate change? Make a list of the platforms and methods to ensure that the brand promise is real, relatable and relevant.

– Set relevant KPIs to ensure that the methods are measurable and results are tracked. Depending on your objective, it could be acquiring Likes on Facebook, or the engagement level with your customers, not everything can be pegged to sales figures!

– Get past the inertia. Get started!

Posted on April 4, 2014 in Articles

Share the Story

Leave a reply

Back to Top