The Brand New You (Your Personal Brand Promise)

“Your most unhappy customers
are your greatest source of learning.”
Bill Gates

Often, your customers are unhappy because your brand promise doesn’t match your delivery of that promise. In other words, your actions don’t match your words. Said another way, the company is not a ‘man’ of its word, sometimes exposing Enemies Within deep in the heart of the organization.

First, the traditional definitions of ‘brand’ and ‘brand promise:’

Brand: Contrary to popular belief, brands are not logos. For sure, brands include logos, but brands encompass the entire range of a company’s recognition from its name to its products to its image, as well as the emotions the name and logo conjure up. The logo might be considered the leading foundation of the brand, but could also include elements such as the business’ physical atmosphere, marketing materials and word-of-mouth commentary.

Brand Promise: The general concept of a brand promise is the intended feeling and relationship customers have while interacting with the brand. Highfalutin concept, yes, but at its core, the brand promise leads to customer expectations. Customers expect an entirely different experience at McDonald’s than they do at an upscale restaurant, for example.

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Often, a company’s brand promise is not literally stated. For example, BMW offers the promise of the “highest quality engineered” vehicles in the world, while Volvo promises the “safest” vehicles on the planet. But baked into each of their promises is also “excellent customer service.”

Delivering On Your Brand Promise

When a customer has a bad interaction, many times it’s because their expectations were not met. Often, this is because the brand promise did not live up to the customer’s expectation, not necessarily based on how much they paid for the product or service.

At McDonald’s, we don’t expect to be waited on. What we expect is the food to be prepared, packaged and taste exactly as it has in the past, each and every time. At high quality sit-down restaurants, on the other hand, we expect to be greeted by a host, waited on quickly and to have the food delivered, matching with the price we are paying. The higher the price paid, the higher the value.

The responsibility of your customer’s expectations falls on your brand promise and your delivery of that promise; they must at least match, while the best companies deliver more than they have (brand) promised.

Why is it important to consider both your promise and your delivery of that promise? Because..

WITHOUT A BRAND PROMISE,
YOU ARE SELLING A COMMODITY.

Your local insurance broker or dry cleaner probably doesn’t have a unique brand promise.

And,

WITHOUT A DELIVERY THAT
LIVES UP TO YOUR BRAND PROMISE,
YOU ARE MERELY SELLING AN IDEA
WITH NOTHING TO BACK IT UP.

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Consider “Progressive” auto insurance who promises unbiased insurance quote comparisons. If you received only one much higher comparable quote, would that feel “progressive?”

For many customers, the experience that comes along with the product purchase is essential to how they feel about the company itself.

In most cases, the customer service received is how customers actually view their relatedness to a brand. This customer service experience is a major factor in how they make future purchase decisions. When your company’s brand promise and service delivery don’t sync up, your customers will figure it out.

It turns out, customers are pretty savvy that way, and they vote with their dollars.

Your Personal Brand

Whether we like it or not, we all carry with us both a ‘personal brand’ and a ‘personal brand promise.’

Our ‘personal brand’ can be thought of as that lasting impression we leave with others. It’s the image in others’ mind that they have of us: visual, audible and emotional.

Our ‘personal brand promise’ includes the expectations that others have of us – she’s funny, he’s straight forward, she’s always late, he’s a know-it-all, etc. Whether you like it not, everyone has expectations of us, based on our words and our actions.

Any action that involves other people is analogous to your delivery of your ‘personal brand promise.’ You are actually providing ‘personal service’ when you interact with others.

YOUR PERSONAL BRAND PROMISE AND
YOUR HONORING OF THAT PROMISE
MUST ALWAYS MATCH.

Otherwise, you are not a ‘man’ of your word.

This is a reason why, for example, that if you are always on time for appointments and you are suddenly late without notice, others might think there is a problem. They have always relied on your punctuality and even view it as part of your brand promise.

Consider your ‘personal brand’ and ’personal brand promises.’ They can always change and evolve. They may be different in a business environment than they are in a social one. But, know this to be true – your actions must match your words – your ‘brand’ promise is your promise.

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