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Brand Promise Explained With Examples

Updated: Feb 23

A message reading "deliver on your promises", which is the main idea behind brand promise

This article is a short and concise guide on what brand promise is, it's importance, examples from well known brands and the basic steps involved in creating a brand promise.

Table of contents:

[Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, meaning we get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through these links at no additional cost to you.]

What is a brand promise?

A brand promise is delivering on a pledge in terms of values or experience that a customer expects from a brand every time such as delivery of pizza within 30 minutes of ordering. The closer the brand is on delivering on a promise, the higher the brand value in the minds of customers.

If the values conveyed by the brand is different to what customers experience will lead to a brand disconnect and will be detrimental to the business in the long term, if they cannot deliver on what they promise customers.

The difference between a brand promise and a mission statement

A brand promise and a mission statement often get confused as being the same thing, which they are not. A mission statement is internally focused in stating what the brand actually does in order to motivate everyone involved in the business, while a brand promise is more external with the brand being accountable on delivering on a promise to ensure the customer experience is at a high level across every brand touchpoint.

Why is brand promise important?

Brand promise is important as it sets expectations and helps the brand differentiate itself from the competition, it’s more an assurance in being the brand’s unique selling point through making it more relevant and appealing to their target audience. This could be a money back guarantee for purchase of products like buying a car (30 days).

It is vital that a brand is able to deliver on what it promises, otherwise there will be unhappy customers if they fail to deliver, leading to lower customer retention, poor brand perceptions, bad reviews and a lack of trust especially concerning any future marketing communications.

Therefore, on the other end of the spectrum when the promise is delivered successfully through a positive customer experience (CX) there is a stronger likelihood of higher customer retention rates, better brand perceptions and positive recommendations to others. The possible knock-on effects of this will be more business and higher market share.

5 examples of brand promise

There are a number of examples of brand promise, below are 5 examples from different sectors of well-known brands to get a better understanding of this area.

1. Walmart: “Save money. Live better”

This pretty much sums up what Walmart is all about in selling a variety of items at low cost, where consumers can easily pickup many of the items they need under one roof, so the additional benefit for customers of convenience at low prices rather having to go to different stores to cover various parts of their shopping basket.

2. H&M: “More fashion choices that are good for people, the planet and your wallet”

H&M’s brand promise is all about sustainability and clothes at affordable prices, where they try to use sustainable materials in their low-priced fashions items in order to meet their aim of sustainable fashion.

3. eBay: “To be the world’s favourite destination for discovering great value and unique selection”

eBay’s brand promise is to do with being a credible trading platform, where this giant eCommerce brand allows individuals and businesses to trade a vast number of different products globally at a reasonable price, whether it be second hand or new products. Customers have the security of knowing this is a safe and secure platform in which to shop, helped by the fact there is a money back guarantee on most purchases.

4. Marriott: “Quiet luxury. Crafted experiences. Intuitive service”

Marriott’s brand promise is all about providing their customers with a consistent high level of service, care and hospitality that their customers can experience every time no matter wherever they are in the world, whether that’s a Marriott hotel in Europe, North America or in Asia.

5. FedEx: “Your package will get there overnight. Guaranteed”

For a while the brand promise for FedEx was delivering packages and parcels overnight regionally, where it originally exploited the slow delivery processes of traditional mail services by offering faster next day deliveries, whether that is important documents or sold items.

How do you write a brand promise?

There are 4 basic broad steps involved in creating a brand promise, which are:

Step 1: Place the emphasis on your target audience (purpose and value)

The core principle of the brand purpose should be focused around serving the needs and wants of your target audience that your brand can deliver on. So, there should be a key purpose of your brand in serving these needs and desires by looking at the values of the brand and the brand attributes you have available and use this to highlight the value of your brand.

For example, McDonald’s with “Inexpensive, familiar & consistent meal delivered in a clean environment”

Step 2: Keep it clear, unique and simple

There should be no ambiguity in your brand promise, where it should be clear and simple without trying to overcomplicate things and making it longwinded. Also, the brand promise should help to differentiate your brand from others, so how does your brand stand out? What does it offer? Any key benefits that sound compelling?

One such example is Lego with the promise of “Endless play”.

Step 3: Make it measurable

If possible, make the brand promise measurable, otherwise how else are you able to track the success level of your brand delivering on its promise via brand research. The things that you can add to your brand promise to make it quantifiable are around savings, time, quality, distance and emotion.

For example, the FedEx’s promise of overnight delivery or learn something new in 10 minutes for an app.

Step 4: Test and proofread the draft promise with others

The final step will be testing and proofreading the brand promise you have drawn up and checking this with others in the business to ensure it stays with the core values of the brand, it’s compelling and that the rest of the business understands and can follow through with it.

How do you improve a brand promise?

If you already have a brand promise, you can improve it by following these 3 points:

1. Keep it clear and concise

Need to keep the brand promise concise and clear, so it’s understandable and compelling to customers but also to people in your organisation to draw inspiration from.

2. Ensure it follows the same direction as your brand strategy

By ensuring it follows the same direction as your brand strategy, so keep mindful of your target audience, you can try aligning your brand promise with a particular value proposition, which is part of your brand strategy.

3. Reduce your emphasis to a single expected customer experience or value proposition

By restricting your emphasis to a single expected customer experience or value proposition rather than various things, which will also make it more identifiable to your audience.

There are online templates to help you create or improve brand promises, the following are sources of brand promise templates you can use or draw inspiration from - Next Level Growth Strategies or Circular design guide.




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