Your brand values are a promise.
A brand value is a promise to deliver a product or service or both, that meets your customers expectations.
Historically, marketeers were able to significantly influence brand perception. Take Guinness for example, they managed to convince the consumer that ‘Guinness is good for you’. Another great example is Avis, with their ‘We try harder’ slogan because communication and messaging were controlled.
In the past, brand perception was largely determined by affordability, price and the retail outlet the goods were purchased from. However, the Internet changed all that forever.
In today’s fragmented digital world with “cynical message battered consumers” your brand is more a reflection of how your customers engage with you at every point of the customer journey. Rather than something you tell is true and which they are then expected to believe.
So in terms of ‘promotion’, it is vital that every aspect of your customers experience reflects the brand perception you want to create. Websites, social media , literature, messaging , personal interaction, blogs, white papers etc.
Let’s take a look at RyanAir, the thing their customers value most is their low prices. Which is why, the more RyanAir get criticised about every aspect of the service they provide (except price) the more successful they appear to become. For them, the phrase ˜all press is good good press” rings particularly true. However, this is definitely the exception not the rule.
The matrix of influencers and touch points is complex. The example below for BT from Forrester highlights that.
So how do you deliver a brand promise?
It’s actually very simple to implement. You pay a Brand consultant £50,000. They borrow your watch, ask you the time, you tell them and they give you your watch back.
You then pay an advertising agency loads of money to ˜promote your brand” which is the justification for ˜awareness dollars”. It helps you to reconcile the amount of money spent versus the lack of measurable return and if you are a middle manager it keeps you in a job. If it doesn’t work you appoint a new agency.
If you are a CEO say like Thomson you “rebrand” to TUI, spending millions of dollars in the process of ˜repositioning the company” and you give the impression to the shareholders you are doing something about what is in reality Airbnb, Uber, cheap flights and Google Maps/Trip Advisor disrupting the travel sector forever. You can’t do anything about it but it keeps you in a highly paid job for a couple of years and if you are really skilful you can implement an M&A strategy that earns you millions in shares. Too cynical? Maybe.
So what can you do really or more cost effectively?
1/ Ask your customers how they perceive you.
You can do this really quickly simply asking them, or using tools like survey monkey to do a quick survey
2/ Determine how you wish to be perceived.
This is a little harder but you should be able to identify 3 adjectives you feel you should portray your company. A client of mine just came up with integrity; cooperation and trusted which sums him and the company he wants to own and develop perfectly. It cost him nothing.
3/ You have to have 3 things people are capable of remembering.
Something that is now integral to the Dominic Cummings playbook on messaging: Stay at home; Protect the NHS; Save Lives.
4/ Ensure every aspect of your communication and customer/prospect interaction reflects those values and the message is displayed appropriately.
All email signatures, internal communications and interactions should reflect those values and you just repeat; repeat; repeat.
Keeping it really simple.
5/ Use remarketing.
Present adverts back to all your website visitors
6/ Measure on a regular basis
Measure the extent to which your company and team reflects those values say quarterly with a promotion audit; staff/ customer survey.
7/ Work like crazy to ensure your business, product and service achieves that end
8/ Make sure you personally live by those values
If you want to go to the advanced level of the brand promise look at Simon Sineks Golden Circle. His Ted Talk in ‘What is your why?’ is legendary and if you are anything like me in the last 10 years you’ve been asked about your “why” more than once.
So in the case of my client if his “why” truly is to have integrity, be trusted and have cooperation at the centre of building his business and he believes it to his very core; conveys it in everything he does and promotes it throughout his organisation “he’s on his way”.
Ultimately he will attract people who share his beliefs and want to do business with integrity and in a cooperative and trusting way because they too believe and they will be doing it for themselves not for him.
Now that is a powerful brand promise.