Monday, 10 june 2019 | Redacción CEU
When someone makes a promise, they are expressing their willingness to give or do something for someone. Their commitment does not have to be binding, but the given word always generates certain expectations in interlocutors. While it is true that breaking a promise does not mean the same now as in the era of the ancient knights of the Middle Ages, it is also true that not keeping promises often has very negative consequences. In the case of brands, what is at stake is their own survival: How can customers trust brands that have deceived them? A brand promise is something more than a simple declaration of intentions, it is a clear proof of a brand's credibility and also the starting point to establish a lasting relationship with its target customers.
A brand promise is the commitment that a firm takes on with its customers, what the consumer can expect from it and what reflects its value proposal. It is an inspiring idea that does not have to be explicitly addressed, it can be conveyed in a subtle way (in the design of its logos and slogans, in the definition of its mission and values, in its campaigns in digital media, in its corporate social responsibility, etc). However, for it to be really effective it has to be identifiable and understandable. Likewise, it is important to bear in mind that under this concept it is found everything related to the brand, its reputation and management guidelines. In short, all decisions depend on this promise. So much so that it is considered to be the most important part of the process of creation, continuity and consolidation of a brand.
Although a slogan can help to convey a brand promise, the latter cannot be confused with the simple repetition of a motto. A promise is more than an advertising message. Its mission is to respond to a real need of clients, in the form of benefit and also with the purpose of offering something different. This promise should be consistent with the values, mission and vision of the brand. If it is not in harmony with them, the firm will not be able to fulfill what has been promised as time passes.
For a brand to live up to its word, it has to maintain coherence. This means that both the goals that are set and the different actions of the brand should be aligned with the brand identity. For example, a brand which is inspired by the value of tradition and characterized by maintaining a careful and handcrafted process, could hardly meet the expectations of those customers who want the latest in innovation and trends. That is, a firm cannot promise what it cannot honor. Its promise should always be built on the reality of the product and service.
Companies are always better in some aspects than others, and in most cases they can prove it. The problem is usually that firms do not highlight that difference and take advantage of their competitive factors. This difference is what makes brands unique and a great value proposal. In fact, for a brand promise to be effective it should also be different and authentic. Otherwise, it might be limited to repeating what was promised by other brands and, as a consequence, to being punished with indifference.
Promises should not only respond to the interests and motivations of the target audience, but they should also be held in the rest of the dimensions. That is to say, a company that has a strong commitment to the pursuit of customers' happiness will be breaking its promise when it puts into place abusive formulas that generate frustration and disappointment in the management of human capital. It cannot be forgotten that the members that work in a company are great brand ambassadors and that they also contribute to creating a good or bad reputation for the brand.
Brand promises have to be able to be maintained over time. This does not mean that firms cannot change their strategies at given time, adopt new approaches or evolve as the needs of their clients do. A brand can always change, but it has to keep its essence. If the audience perceives that its nature changes, the trust relationship may be jeopardized.
Trust is an indispensable condition when building relationships. Words have certain weight, but, in the end, acts are the ones that define the brand. Sometimes, consumers might be guided by superficial issues such as passing trends, but sound bonds should never be built on blind trust. When a brand makes a promise and does not act on it, it loses credibility and with it the favor of its audience.
The reasons why a brand may fail to keep its promise are many: excessive optimism, poor communication, the creation of false expectations, etc. The breach of commitment leads to the erosion of trust and may bring about serious consequences for brands such as a loss on sales, customers who bet on competitors, bad reputation and even their inevitable disappearance.
The CEU IAM Business School offers a Master's Degree in Digital Marketing which addresses marketing management through digital media in a transversal way. It is a training with which participants acquire essential knowledge and skills that they need in key aspects of the sector such as marketing plan, digital marketing channels, the use of social networks as a strategy, media management, web positioning and e-commerce. Ask for further information!