5 Steps to Building an Effective Brand Promise

What is a brand promise? It’s also known as a company brand statement. The promise lets customers know what to experience every time they interact with your brand.

It’s also a game-changer for increasing revenue. 64 percent of customers say they need shared values to bond with a brand. Your brand promise is the best way for them to find these shared values.

Wondering how to build an effective brand promise? Read on to learn more.

Building an Effective Brand Promise

  1. Know Your Why

The strongest part of your promise is your belief in it. To build that belief, you need to know why you’re making the promise.

Thought leader Simon Sinek described this ‘why’ in a famous TED talk. In short, he explains that your ‘why’ influences everything your business says and does.

The ‘why’ is what drives you, too. It’s what led you to start or join the business.

Most marketing statements ask you to define what you do and who you help.

So sit down and write down why you do what you do. Use that to inform what you do and who you help.

This first step is crucial in avoiding a brand promise that sounds like it could fit several similar companies.

Other brands might do what you do. But no one does it why you do it. That’s what makes you different.

This is also a great exercise to uncover your brand values. You don’t want to appeal to everyone. Only the people who will align with you.

When you find your values, you make it easier for customers with similar values to choose you. Not your competitors.

  1. Show Your Benefit

Note we say ‘show’ your benefit. Don’t tell it.

This comes from the familiar storytelling maxim of ‘show, don’t tell’. At its heart, all it means is a writer will create a story with more impact when they show the reader what’s happening.

Simply telling them gives the impression of a journalist recounting a story they heard from someone else.

You may need to get creative with this one. But it’s possible.

Let’s look at Nike as an example. Their promise is essentially their tagline – ‘Just do it’.

But what are they showing us?

That it doesn’t matter who you are or what you look like. If you have a body, you’re an athlete. So just do it.

They show us the benefit of choosing them over Adidas or Reebok. Nike cares about its customers, whether you’re Usain Bolt or Bill from the local mini-mart.

  1. Evoke Emotion

Brands aren’t created by companies. They’re actually created by the people who encounter them.

So your brand is how people feel about your company or what you do.

That’s why you don’t want to focus on what people think when you create your promise.

While you can’t tell people what to feel about you, you can guide the process. Making – and keeping – your brand promise is the best way to do this.

Look at the ‘why’ you’ve come up with. Pair this with your ‘benefit’.

Now work out why anyone should care. What will these make someone feel?

Let’s look at Nike again since they’re such a good example.

Say you’re new to exercise. You’ve taken up running because your physician wants you to lose weight.

So you don’t feel good about yourself. Most sportswear is aimed at gym bunnies and fitness fanatics.

But you go into a sports store and you spot the Nike section. This is a brand that introduced a plus-size line when most companies won’t.

They think you’re an athlete, even if other people don’t. Nike believes in you. Suddenly, Nike sportswear seems a lot more attractive than its competitors.

  1. Keep It Simple

Don’t over-complicate your brand promise. If it ends up being several paragraphs, you’ve written a manifesto.

There’s nothing wrong with that, by the way. It’s just a promise is a sentence or two at the most. It needs to be short, snappy, and memorable.

Think of all those catchy taglines the big brands use.

  • Nike: Just Do It
  • Nokia: Connecting People
  • L’Oreal: You’re Worth It
  • Gillette: The Best A Man Can Get

They all show you their benefit while evoking an emotion – in a handful of words. L’Oreal shows you that you’re worth the price of a new lipstick or mascara. You don’t feel bad about splurging on a new Gillette razor because it’s the best.

The best brand promise will get to the heart of your company. Even if you undergo a rebrand in the future, your promise still stands firm.

That’s because your brand is not just your chosen typeface and color scheme. It’s literally the promise you make to your customers.

Click to read more about writing a brand promise.

  1. Keep Your Brand Promise

There’s no point making a promise you won’t or can’t keep.

Use the brand promise to make all your business decisions. If the brand promise doesn’t match a customer’s experience? Your brand loses its value and your reputation tanks.

It’s difficult to recover from that kind of reputational damage.

So instead, think of FedEx. Their brand promise is that they’ll get your package to its destination overnight.

The company delivers on the promise every time. Which is why people use FedEx and not UPS. Customers can rely on them so their brand retains its value.

You don’t even need to tell customers that you’ll keep your promise. Just show up every time and deliver what they’re expecting.

Or go one better and over-deliver. Every time.

What’s Your Brand Promise?

Now you know how to build an effective brand promise. You need to figure out what you stand for and how you benefit your customers.

Then decide how to show your customers that while making them feel something positive towards your brand.

The hardest part is keeping your brand promise. But it’s essential to build your customer base and win more business.

Why not check out our other marketing articles for more tips and advice?