When we research the competitors with our brand we’re “conditioned” to see 3 things:
- Business value: “We help you increase revenue”
- Functional benefits: “We help you reduce costs”
- Business outcomes: “We help you retain customers”
Now have you considered that the words you use to describe your company are probably the same words that are being used by your competitors? And while the goals might be sound, that they offer little in terms of differentiation.
Corporate branding & identity
Selling to your prospective customers (or your existing customer base for that matter). Often has little to do with how much functional advantages we can offer them. They’re persuaded by our ‘brand persona’. People tend to buy from people they like. Now replace people with companies and we’ll have arrived at the core of this article. Companies buy from companies because there’s a certain likability they won’t find anywhere else. But how do we create brand likeability?
People buy emotionally first and justify their purchase logically afterward
(Neuroscience proves: we buy on emotion and justify with logic (with a twist) & HBR: When to sell with facts-and-figures and when to appeal to emotions)
Of course, you will find multiple views on your organization across your organization; but the question is. Which point of view would you like to reinforce? And how would you? It often boils down to:
What is branding? But to deliver on your brand’s promise
“A brand is a promise delivered. A contemporary brand promise articulates an idea that goes beyond the rational benefits that worked in the past, and extols a higher-order emotional reward. A brand promise is not a slogan or advertising headline. It is not, by definition, a public statement (though it can be as long as your brand truly lives up to it). Finally, it is not a “unique selling proposition”. Indeed, its uniqueness and differentiating power comes not from what it says, but how it transforms the way your organization creates strong and meaningful connections with people.” www.emotivebrand.com
Treacy & Wiersema defined three value proposition types based on business models:
- Operational excellence
- Product leadership
- Customer intimacy
It’s no coincidence that those exact value proposition types can be translated into brand promises. Because even though you might always deliver. And deliver on time, the way that you deliver and interact with your customers impacts your brand. Because even though your product might be bleeding edge today. You’ll never become a successful company without the necessary customer-centricity. Which easily translates into acquiring their feedback and processing it. Because creating intimacy with your customer. Building up your relationship with them doesn’t necessarily mean that they understand your company’s vision. Nor that they understand that your goals mean long-term benefits for them. So how do we go about crafting the correct brand experience?
It’s all about creating value for the customer
In the lean methodology exists the theory of the “moments of truth”. Though It’s mainly focused on continuous improvement processes. There is another point-of-view that is often overlooked. That when you craft a new brand experience, you have to start by adding value in every interaction with the customer. It becomes more than delivering what you aim to deliver through your product. It becomes an opportunity to demonstrate your core values and the image you want to perpetuate with your (potential) customers.
The brand promise:
Going beyond the mission statement
Your brand statement is basically your mission statement as a company. Crafting brand promises ask you to set create an (often internal) statement in which you detail how you want to come across as a company. The brand promise has to resonate in everything you do. Just as your mission statement gives you a guideline for making the correct decisions for your business. The brand statement entails the way you handle customer interaction at every moment of truth.
Creating a brand promise
A brand promise should be the stimulus for a deeper conversation on what the brand stands for. It defines how a company “feels”. The character of the company if you will. If you’re crafting such a character. One should consider the history & reputation of the company. Companies often start describing what their organization does, the products or services they sell. And forget that they should look at the benefits these products & services provide. Preferably from the point of view of the stakeholders.
Compare the company to similar companies or competitors. There might not be direct competitors (those that sell the same products as you do). But consider other companies that offer comparable products or services. Like the local swimming pool might find a competitor in the arcade down the street. If you consider the goal to be “entertaining children”.
How does your company differ from theirs? What feels or which character can a customer only experience when they buy from your company and not your competitors? That experience, that is your very first brand promise.
Resonating brand promises
Having crafted the brand promise. Knowing what type of experience you want to generate for your (prospective) customers is one thing. Offering it to them is another. The most important thing is that it actually starts to shine through in the customer experience. This means a lot of training your employees, making sure they’re saturated with your brand promise. And putting in place some level of quality control in the delivery upon your brand promises.
Need a consultant to help you with your branding efforts?
Digital Interaction Design helps companies like yours think about their brand strategy, craft brand personas, and brand promises. Feel free to reach out to us on our freelance marketing consultants page if you have any questions.