4 Genuine Ways To Execute The Brand Promise

By Julie Rains on 11 November 2011 (Updated 22 November 2011) 0 comments
Photo: Yuri_Arcurs

I have witnessed the brand promise of a prominent local corporation executed flawlessly at one location and fumbled ridiculously at another site. For years, face-to-face, phone, and online experiences fell far short of perfection. Its tagline—meant to imprint a positive message in the minds of community members—made me smirk more than smile.

Because of the company’s domination in my local market, I repeatedly found myself in the undesirable position of having to access its services. On one occasion, rather than search for another source, I resigned myself to close supervision in order to prevent disaster. However, I was astonished and pleased to see genuine execution of the brand promise.

Having seen what works (and what does not), my starkly different experiences made me think about how businesses can keep their brand promises. Successful execution starts with the mindset that the promise is meaningful and relevant for the long haul, not empty words that keep shareholders and stakeholders happy for a fleeting moment. After the foundation has been laid, take these actions to keep the promise alive.

1. Precisely Determine the Brand Promise’s Affect on Day-to-Day Activities

Relate the brand promise to common interactions and scenarios. Let everyone, customers and employees alike, know what to expect when they initiate transactions, respond to requests, and perform certain tasks. Design protocols for these customer touch-points, and communicate them widely via your website, in-store signage, employee manual, etc.

Specific areas to cover might include:

  • Response times for certain types of inquiries;
  • Lead times for order processing, product deliveries, and project completions;
  • Product return policies;
  • Timing and frequency of communication alerts.

Having highly visible operating standards can be scary, but such communication helps customers and employees discern between unreasonable and reasonable expectations. Plus, managers can readily distinguish an actual service failure from a perceived sleight, and take appropriate action quickly.

2. Embed the Brand Promise in Employee Documents

Make sure the brand promise appears in key employee documents—job descriptions, training materials, performance reviews. Trust that employees will commit to memory each of the specific deliverables that the brand promise encompasses. But don’t stop with statements posted on the website or engraved on a plaque at the office. Integrate actionable items into communications with employees about their job duties.

Spell out the brand promise in ways that employees can apply on a daily basis using these methods:

  • Develop job descriptions that detail position requirements and performance standards consistent with your tagline. As a result, employees can focus on doing their work tasks correctly, rather than trying to remember and follow brand-promise guidelines that may not seem relevant to their job functions.
  • Train employees to interact with customers, vendors, and colleagues. Conduct role-play sessions to illustrate how you would like your promise to be interpreted and applied in various situations.
  • Design performance evaluations to measure adherence to work standards, which should be synced with your brand promise.

3. Hire Smart, Dedicated, and Genuine People

Hire people who have the credentials and capabilities needed to excel at your company. But don’t extend offers to those who merely pass your screening hurdles. Search for candidates who are enthusiastic about executing the brand promise.

Look for people who have demonstrated these characteristics in previous positions:

  • Insightful: She intuitively understands your business model and brand promise, and has clarity about what they mean for complex problems. (Nevertheless, you should detail requirements to ensure consistency among all employees and adherence to expectations in murky situations.)
  • Receptive: He is eager to grow professionally and personally, not just at the start of his career but throughout his working years. Though confident in his abilities, he is willing to consider and learn new ways of doing business, particularly as technology and mindsets change.
  • Innovative: She brings new ideas to the organization that fulfill the brand promise with personable and fresh, rather than robotic, approaches to managing customer relationships.

4. Listen, Ponder and Act Appropriately

Encourage your customers and employees to express appreciation and concerns. Make contacting your business really easy, whether someone wants to give a positive review, ask a question, or lodge a complaint. Then, listen.

Don’t react quickly just to quiet a concern. Consider complaints from the customer’s perspective and your employee’s point of view. Evaluate whatever information is presented in order to determine whether your company has lived up to its brand promise or failed to deliver.

Craft and execute your plans to include:

  • explaining to the customer what actions you intend to take;
  • acknowledging any shortfalls in the behavior of your employees;
  • bringing any broken promises to the attention of your staff; and
  • making adjustments to your operations, policies, and communication styles that will allow your organization to stay true to its brand messaging.

Acting appropriately rather than reacting to momentary pressures allows you to advocate for those who want to do the right thing but not just anything the customer wants. If your employees know that you will protect them, then they will be doubly committed to executing your brand promise in each and every customer interaction.

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