Often when people think about business brands they focus on image and things like logos. Mention Nike and their famous “swoosh” comes to mind. Talk about Apple and the image of an apple with a bite out of it is often the first thing you think of.
It’s not enough, however, simply to be recognized or known. You need to be known for something. Nobody buys a “swoosh.” What people buy is quality equipment that promises to help them pursue their fitness goals. Nobody buys an image of an apple. What they buy is innovation that promises to make working on a personal computer easier and better.
Your brand isn’t just a logo—it’s a promise. What is your company’s brand promise? Here are five questions to ask about your image and the promise you’re making to prospective customers or clients.
1. What’s the most compelling reason that a prospect, a client, or a customer would purchase your goods or services? What do you offer that nobody else offers? Are you better or faster? Most of all, do you solve your customer’s problem or help them meet their goals better than anyone else?
2. Can your company make a promise that’s meaningful and relevant for your market or niche? If your business is sophisticated security systems for ultra-high-end homes, your brand promise isn’t going to focus on offering the lowest price. It’s going to focus on security, discretion, quality, and dependability.
3. Are you willing to back up your promise? Promises—especially brand promises—are easy to make. Are you willing to back up your promise 100 percent? If not, your promise is worthless. You may land a few initial clients, but once word gets out that you don’t stand behind your promise (and it will get out) you’ll never get repeat business or referrals.
4. What’s your plan for evaluating your brand promise? It’s great to have a clearly defined and articulated brand promise, but how will you know if you’re living up to what you promised? You also need specific and measurable key performance indicators (KPIs) that provide you with real data on how you’re doing. Measurable is a key word here. You can’t rely on anecdotes or a feeling that you’re hitting your goals. You need to be able to prove it to yourself (and maybe your board).
5. What do you need to do to get your whole company to support and fulfill your brand promise? You need to clearly communicate the vision (every employee ought to be able to tell a complete stranger what your brand promise is). You also need processes in place that enable employees to deliver on the promise. You can’t promise “24/7/365 Service” if you don’t have the personnel, the equipment, and the expertise (training) to back it up.
So next time you pause to admire your company logo, ask yourself: “What does that logo promise, and are we delivering on that promise?”