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Are You Delivering on Your Brand Promise?

A brand promise is the single thing that customers can expect your company to deliver each time they do business with you.  Your ability to deliver that promise is what creates brand believers, advocates, and hopefully, evangelists.

It’s gotten to be a bit of a game in my office–a game that I play by myself during the lunch hour 2-3 times a week.  I go online and order a sandwich, Diet Coke and chips from Jimmy Johns and see how long it takes from the time I hit submit to the time it’s delivered to our front desk.  The record is 5 minutes… the longest is 8 minutes.

With the tagline “freaky fast”, Jimmy Johns gets my business time and time again because they are consistently delivering the one thing they promise me they will– freaky fast service.  The Jimmy Johns experience is so consistent that I love doing business with them.  It’s fast, it’s reliable… it’s, well, freaky.

The great experience is due to the fact that Jimmy Johns delivers on its brand promise.  A brand promise is the single thing that customers can expect your company to deliver each time they do business with you.  Your ability to deliver that promise is what creates brand believers, advocates, and hopefully, evangelists.

Delivering on your brand promise is important because it tells customers whether or not they can trust you.  Are you going to do what you say you’re going to do?  Human nature leads individuals to desire consistent experiences that meet expectations.  No surprises.  Sounds easy, right?
Well, although it’s easy, we all too often see companies failing at this simple task.  Whether it’s the fast food restaurant whose burgers look twice as big in the advertisements as they are in real life, or a hotel that’s not nearly as nice as the pictures online make it look.  If you need a little help in delivering on your brand promise, do these three simple things:

1.    Walk the walk… literally
Map your processes to get a crystal clear understanding of what it is your customers are experiencing.  Every time you interact with a customer, you have an opportunity to either keep or break your brand promise. Take a day and walk through all of the processes your customers would go through and take note of any areas where your company is not representing itself the way you promise.  How’s your phone message?  Your website?  Your sales brochures and business cards?  Do all customer touch points give your customers the impression that your business is trustworthy and does what it says it will do? If not, make changes.

2.    Don’t overpromise
It’s easy to exaggerate when selling your products, services and brand to customers.  You embellish to get the job and win the business… that’s nothing new.  However, if you aren’t able to deliver on what you’re promising, you’re going to have a hard time building customer loyalty.

Let’s revisit the Jimmy Johns example I mentioned earlier.  Jimmy Johns doesn’t overpromise.  It does not claim to have the best sandwiches in the world.  They promise that they will be fast.  I order from them because that appeals to me and they consistently deliver on that commitment.   That’s not too hard, right?  Make sure you can do what you say you’ll do.

3.    Live your brand promise
This one’s big.  Create a culture that’s focused on delivering your brand promise.  Your brand promise is only as good as the front line employees who are expected to deliver it.  Hire people who are passionate about delivering your promise to customers and incentivize them for being successful.

Without being too familiar with Jimmy Johns’ operations, I would bet that they pay their delivery drivers and employees based on the number of sandwiches delivered.  They have built a culture that encourages employees to be freaky fast.  If you’re not fast, you don’t work there.  Simple as that.

The good news is that this isn’t rocket science.  Simply do what you say you’re going to do and be maniacal about delivering a great customer experience.  Make sure that you are always authentic and meeting expectations.  If you need a first hand example, take a trip to Jimmy Johns.  I think what you’ll find when you put extra energy and attention into delivering your brand promise is that the results will be, dare I say, freaky.

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