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  • Leslie Horna

Delivering Your Brand Promise: Where Do You Fall Short?

Updated: Mar 23, 2020

Your company has a strong integrated marketing plan and audiences are positively responding to the content and activities you propose. The calls, meetings, and emails are flooding in with requests for partnership, product purchases, and new business opportunities. It’s a call for celebration! But wait…Is your company ready to handle such success?

How you manage these outcomes speaks to your brand promise and the business strategy for acting on that commitment. A brand promise is your company’s unique value proposition, your purpose. Customers, employees, vendors, and community partners develop expectations of your company’s products and services without even knowing the brand promise. These audiences interpret the brand promise based on their experience with your brand – interactions, observations, word of mouth, media stories, and other such encounters. Expectations then may vary based on individual experiences so you’ll want to explore how to establish and manage expectations accordingly. A recent survey by Clear asked 34,000 global consumers about their experience with 225 brands across eight industries including automotive, hospitality, media, retail banking and insurance among others. The survey noted that 74% of U.S. consumers would stop using a brand if it no longer offered what it promised. Consumer faith in brands is in decline, costing brands millions – between $460M and $860M in lost revenue according to the survey –to market and acquire new customers instead of building loyalty within.

When developing the company marketing and communications plan, you established strategies, goals, and objectives to achieve company priorities and address expectations. However, do you know why you selected each strategy, goal, and objective? In theory, these should be the best means for achieving the results your company desires so you shouldn’t be surprised when you reach or even surpass your goals. “Best” is defined by what your goals are designed to achieve and the variables that may influence their progress, such as increasing efficiency, save on costs, or expand brand awareness. Company processes and past performance measurements, industry trends, target audience analysis, and competitive insights should inform your planning process. Take the time to talk with other departments inside your company to gain perspective on their challenges, opportunities, and new ideas as that department works toward their goals. Each department’s goals are interrelated so success in one area of the company will have an impression on another and awareness of those factors helps you to plan ahead. Avoid specifying goals that are too low where you’ll be underprepared for overwhelming demand. You also don’t want to set unrealistically high expectations.

This makes open communication crucial to establishing and managing expectations. Before you finalize the company marketing and communications plan, be sure you, your team and related departments or vendors know how to respond to projected scenarios. Planning for every potential issue is nearly impossible, but you can review how to manage manufacturing concerns, customer demand flow, and other such issues. Clear’s recent study highlights five introspective questions (pictured right) that can help your company identify if you’re delivering on your brand promise and if not, where you can improve. If your company is selling a new pair of sneakers, make sure everyone involved in the customer delivery process shares the same understanding of the brand experience. What does the shoebox look like? What should each salesperson know about the sneaker? Does the online order experience mirror the in-person experience? How many pairs of shoes can we sell before more are delivered or manufactured? Who will tell advertising to stop running the television commercials featuring the sneakers if supply is back ordered? There are many questions to consider before you set and act on your intentions.

Customers seek consistency in brand experiences so it’s important for you to provide the same high-quality experience at every customer touch point. Today’s ecosystem is evolving with customers now connecting with brands through mobile, social media, advertising, automation, and personalized experiences. It’s essential to break down company silos and integrate data, technologies, and systems to streamline the customer experience. The best brand strategy is an integrated approach to connecting with and servicing your customers. Clear's survey findings (pictured right) give way to five ways to better live and deliver your brand promise. As we head into the fourth quarter of 2018, you’re likely preparing 2019 budgets and operational business plans. We’d love to hear about your favorite planning exercises and tools that empower you to express, enable, realize and measure how your brand delivers on your brand promise.

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