Don’t Tell a Story, Make a Brand Promise

If you run a business, or you own/manage a brand – you are responsible for that brand’s identity. This identity comes with a value proposition or ‘story’ about what that brand stands for, and what makes it unique.

This story can be created you, your business partners (e.g. your team, suppliers etc), your customers, and/or your competitors. It often starts with the words and images you choose for your website, then continues onto social media. In fact, it is made up of every piece of communication you share, from business cards, press releases, and promotional materials, to videos, talks, and many other touch points.

But rather than thinking about it in terms of a story, it’s actually more useful and effective to think of it as a Brand Promise. That’s because when you commit to a promise, the emotional energy you transmit is far more powerful than when you merely tell a story.

And when you consider that people buy emotionally and intuitively, not rationally – the power of a promise becomes even more important.

A promise comes from the heart, not from the head. It’s more authentic, genuine and real – and it is received by your audience in the same way. By making a promise, you commit yourself (and your team) to going the extra mile, to standing behind what you believe, and committing to your customer that you will make a difference to them. It’s not semantics – it’s palpable. You can feel the difference between a story and a promise.

So how do you go about creating a Brand Promise?

I recommend asking yourself five questions:

  1. What problem am I / are we here to solve for my/our customers?
    By this I don’t mean that you should list all the problems your customers have that you could solve, but the one problem that you, your organisation, and/or your people are expert in solving. This could be based on what you stand for, your unique skills, experiences and/or your Purpose.
  2. What do I/we stand for?

This is critical information to share with your prospects and customers, because this how they decide if they can trust you to deliver on your promise. When answering this question, think about what you believe in, as it relates to the problem you solve for your customers. This is the foundation for your ‘why’ or Purpose statement.

  1. How do I/we make a difference?

Every brand has the potential to make a real difference to its customers, and indeed to all its stakeholders. This is about thinking big – what difference can and will you make?

  1. What outcomes do I/we deliver?

Having thought about the ‘big picture,’ it’s now time to list the practical benefits and outcomes you give your customers.

  1. How do I/we deliver in our own unique way?

Finally, think about how you (and your team) go about delivering your product or service in a way that is unique to you as a brand or organisation. This is the hallmark of what makes you naturally unique. It’s what helps you stand out from your competitors in an authentic and genuine way.

I provide two alternative services if you need help defining and articulating your Brand Promise in an authentic way, so that it attracts the right customers and business partners.

Alternatively, please get in touch directly with me to arrange a chat.

Justin JG Cooper is a Brand Consultant and Purpose Coach, the founder of
Brand Purpose .Co, and the author of Marketing is Dead, Long Live Purposing.