What are your 3 brand promises and how will you keep them?

leadership Sep 21, 2022
What are your 3 brand promises and how will you keep them?

Think of a brand you really love. One you spend money on, enjoy having and don’t mind people knowing you’ve splashed out on. It might be a computer brand, a luxury hotel you get away to, an amazing restaurant, a clothing or make-up brand, a car.

What do you love about that brand? What does it do for you? What do you know you can rely upon if you buy that brand?

I’ve heard people mention their Apple iPhone, Adare Manor, Starbucks Coffee, St. Tola Goat Cheese, The Farmers Journal, Ferrari.

Now think about your business brand. Have you ever thought about what people might say about your brand? What is it about your brand that they would feel an emotional connection to, would want to be a part of with you? When they buy from you, what is it they know they can rely on?


Why Make Brand Promises?

Finding the answers to these questions is about thinking deeply about the promises you want your brand to make.

Until you get serious about your brand - not just your logo but your whole brand - your brand will evolve without intention. It’ll kind of just happen. Your business will still mean something to visitors and clients but it may be vague, unclear and may not at all be what you want it to mean.

By becoming intentional about it, you step up and take ownership of the narrative. You take responsibility for managing what people say about your business when you’re not in the room. You can carve out a really strong identity for yourself and own a really unique space in the mind of the visitor or client. Ultimately that’s what branding is about – building a reputation and identity that is clear and consistent to others.

Brands are emotional. People identify personally with brands. They have emotional feelings about them (like love and hate, trust and distrust, loyalty). For the ones they like, they feel safe in knowing what to expect, they know what the brand stands for and like to see a little bit of themselves reflected in it.
The promises your brand makes are in fact personal promises.


Understanding Brand Promises

Branding is about knowing your target market and setting out to own a small piece of the mindspace for a small section of that market. The key lies in picking a niche and owning or creating the words in the mind of the people you want as your core customer.

Have a look at the two brands in these pictures. They sell similar things, they are in the same overall market of breakfast health drinks but their brands are radically different. Think about what they mean to you, how they present themselves, how they look and feel.

Yakult is about delivering proven and solid health benefits that are backed up by science. That’s its promise. Innocent is about letting you be a little bit healthy every day while you may otherwise be a little bit naughty sometimes! That’s its brand promise. One is serious and the other is a little cheeky.
They each have a very clear brand identity based on a clear promise that appeals to different niche segments of the same overall market.

Your brand promises are your differentiators. They are what distinguishes your brand from somebody else’s in the same space.

Let’s consider two airlines: Ryanair and Emirates. What do they each promise their customers?

Ryanair’s branding is so strong and clear that almost everyone can repeat it pretty instantly – low fares, no frills. Emirates, on the other hand, differentiates itself by offering a touch of luxury and comfort – it’s particularly well known for the inflight entertainment and its ultra modern fleet.

Both brands offer the same basic service of passenger transport by air, but they make different promises to their customers and then deliver on those promises consistently.


The 3 Big Promises You Make To Your Customers

So what promises do you make to your visitors? What promises do you make to your trade partners? When they close their eyes and think of you, what do you want to instantly pop to mind for them? How do these promises differentiate you from anybody else in the wider tourism space?

The clearer you are about this yourself, the easier it will be to occupy that mindset in the mind of your visitors.

Only you can really know the answer to this. If you’re not fully clear on them right now, embrace a process of discovery for yourself and your organisation. Here are a few tips:

  • Aim to have just 3 brand promises with perhaps one that leads the list.
  • Avoid using platitude words like quality, value and service.
  • Load your promises with meaning and use everyday language. For example, Ryanair’s ‘no frills’ captures so much – frills are nice but not necessary and we all have a sense of what this means. ‘Low-cost’ is much more powerful than ‘value’ because it’s an everyday word that people use and really resonates.


Brand Promise Guarantees

As in real life, a promise holds no weight if you don’t keep it. Everybody in your business must know what your core promises are and must be tasked to deliver on them. If you don’t deliver on your promises, really the pain for that should be felt by you and your team, not your visitor or client. It should hurt to break a promise.

Are you prepared to put your money where your mouth is? In our business for example, we offer a a 100% money back guarantee on our own training and coaching products. No questions asked. This reduces any fear of buying from us and gives complete reassurance to the customer of our belief in the quality of our own product. If the product isn’t top class then it will cost us rather than them.

Other businesses promise to match any comparable quote. Others build it into their customer service policy and go above and beyond when dealing with customer complaints or disappointments. We’ve all had experiences of being let down by a business but being delighted with how the business dealt with that, just securing our loyalty and retaining our faith in them.

I would strongly encourage you to build some kind of brand promise guarantee or process into your business, if for no other reason than to alert your team and yourself that you don’t take your promise lightly. It makes it important to deliver on your promise every single time and to take it very seriously in the cases where you don’t.


Tina O'Dwyer

Tina is a Certified High Performance Coach specialising in tourism. She has extensive experience in sustainable tourism, regenerative tourism, food tourism, networks, clusters and collaborations. On the 28th of September 2022 we will be commencing The Tourism Business Accelerator Programme where branding will be a main topic. The deadline to enrol for this 12-week group training and coaching programme is Monday, 26th September 2022 at 12pm Irish Standard Time. Learn more here.

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