Back in March, I wrote a piece on change and on how I believed CEOs aren't interested in change. Last week, I wrote about how CEOs are the brand champions and how the buck stops with them. I followed that up with a post asking CEOs if they put themselves out there, if they stand behind and in front of their brands. As of this moment, I have only received one response to that challenge.
So now I want to know, what about your brand promise? Are CEOs talking about it? Is it guiding and driving strategy?
I've written about brand promise many times in the past, but today I want to know some brand promises and which companies broadcast their promises to their employees and their customers.
What is a brand promise? It is a promise to your customers. Everything you do should reflect this promise. Consistency is key. It sets expectations and defines the benefits customers can expect to receive when they engage in your services or use your products, when they experience your brand.
The CEO understands the power of strong brands and uses the brand promise to align all of the activities of the organization; that promise guides people, processes, products, systems, etc. Everything you do must support and reinforce the brand promise: every product, every person, every interaction, every touchpoint, all of it. Every time.
"A promise, for example, is meant to inspire. It creates alignment. It serves as the foundation for your vision, mission, and all business strategies and it must come from the top to mean anything. For without it, we cannot genuinely voice what it is we stand for or stand behind." -Brian Solis
What a brand promise is not? It's not a mission statement. It's not a brand position. It's not advertising. It's not a tagline. (Though I have noticed that some companies do make double duty of their brand promises and use them in their advertising.)
Is a brand promise meant for customers or for employees? It's meant for both. Employees at all levels, frontline and behind the scenes, deliver on the promise. But in order to deliver on it, it must be clearly communicated. Is that happening in your organization? Do you know your company's brand promise? Employees can't live the promise if they don't know it. Communicating and socializing the brand promise also helps to attract the right kind of people to support your culture.
Let's take a look at some of the brand promises that I was able to find online. (Some may be outdated; feel free to update me.) Forgive me if I got some of these wrong. It's not like you can go to a company's website and easily search for it or simply find it right there on their home page. And why not? Is that too much to ask?
- Starbucks: Providing the highest quality coffee, exceptional customer service, and a truly uplifting Starbucks Experience is the same around the world.
- Zappos: Superior customer service; delivering happiness.
- Harley-Davidson: The pursuit of freedom.
- Walmart: Save money. Live better.
- Ritz Carlton: Ladies and Gentlemen serving Ladies and Gentlemen.
- Southwest Airlines: Dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit
- Nordstrom: Exceptional customer service, every time. Offer the customer the best possible service, selection, quality, and value.
- JetBlue: You above all.
- Trader Joe's: A place where value, adventure and tasty treasures are discovered, every day.
- Ford: Go further.
- McDonald's: Simple, easy enjoyment.
- Nike: To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.
- Signature Worldwide: We promise to be inspiring and fun, to be results-driven, and to provide you training that sticks.
- Geek Squad: We'll save your ass.
- Umpqua Bank: To make your stop at an Umpqua Bank the best thing you did all day.
- Telefonica O2 Europe: Helping customers connect. We're better, connected.
- Honest Tea: Strive to create healthy and honest relationships with its customers, suppliers, and the environment.
- Virgin: To be genuine, fun, contemporary, and different at everything we do at a reasonable price.
- Affinity Medical Group: Delivering personalized care to patients by listening, treating them with respect, and putting their needs and interests first.
- Google: To provide access to the world's information in one click.
What is your company's brand promise? Is it proudly displayed for employees and customers? Is it communicated to you, the employee, regularly? Is it woven through the fabric of your organization? Share your stories and thoughts!
A brand is a promise, but a great brand is a promise kept. - Muhtar Kent