What is a brand promise?

Your Brand Promise is Not a Marketing Slogan

Your brand promise is not a marketing slogan. It is the key factor which differentiates you from your competitors. Your brand promise is what brings customers to you, so it must be both competitive and measurable.

It is the commitment to your core customers which meets their top three needs from your products and services. It is one of the most important strategic decisions to help you win more of the right core customers.

What makes a great brand promise?

I have seen many companies create interesting taglines for their logos that resemble a brand promise and sound impressive. But they fall short on delivery because they do not have the capacity internally to deliver on the promise, or the slogan itself is too broad and general to differentiate them from their competitors. A brand promise means absolutely nothing if it is not connected to your customers’ top needs or if it does not reflect the reality of their experience with your products or services.

How to create your brand promise

When developing your brand promise, you need to focus on three things: identifying your core customer needs; aligning your systems and people to be able to deliver; and being able to measure its impact accurately.

I covered how you can identify your core customer and their needs in my last blog. To recap, always remember that your core customer is a real person, with a unique identity and set of needs they want to be met. So you must identify what those needs are and use your brand promise to remind them why they choose you and attract others like them.


Your brand promise should address your core customer’s greatest need that you can solve better than your competition, as identified by the research your marketing company or department. Second and third needs identified can be included in supporting promises, but it is their number one need that is communicated prominently and regularly.

Examples of companies that answer the customers’ needs succinctly include:

FedEx – Peace of mind.

Lego – Endless Play.

Quicken – Unlimited phone support.

BMW – The ultimate driving machine.

Rackspace – Finding a solution in one hour or less.

Living your brand purpose

Having your systems and people aligned with your brand promises ensures that you will have the capacity to be able to satisfy your customers’ needs and keep them loyal to your company.  A great brand promise actually results in you saying no more than you say yes.  As a growing business, it is easy to say yes to every opportunity, but the danger of doing so is that it becomes a distraction to your core activity. Deviating from what you have identified as your key customer need will slow growth in that area and slow down what you are trying to create.  Your brand purpose should be a guiding light and act as a filter in your decision-making so that you stay on track and grow in the right direction.

You must have your systems and people aligned with your purpose before you beginning marketing it to your customers.  Delivering on your brand promise consistently and from the beginning is a key component of success.

Measuring your outcomes

Your brand promise has to be measurable. What’s the point of promising your customers you will deliver an outcome that is different if you aren’t measuring the consistency of providing it?

For example, if you promise to “always deliver on time” then you need to be able to show your customers that this is the case. If your business can’t deliver on its promise, then you gain absolutely no differentiation in the marketplace and customers will go elsewhere.

Once you have determined what your promise will be, use the following questions as a checklist to ensure you have identified it correctly. You need to be able to answer yes to all of them if your promise is to be kept.

  • Can we deliver on our promise, now and in the future?
  • Does it meet the needs (not wants) of our core customers?
  • Is it measurable?
  • Does it align with our core competen­cies?
  • Does it help to attract our core customer?
  • Will our sales team find it easier to generate leads and close sales using it?
  • Will it improve customer loyalty?
  • Will it differentiate us from others in the market? Does it make us memorable?

Your brand promise tells all of your customers and prospective customers what they can expect from your company. Delivering on your brand promise consistently is the key to success. Otherwise, your promise could damage your brand and company.

For an in-depth analysis on this topic, I recommend reading The Brand Promise by Duane E Knapp or give me a call to discuss how I can help your business develop and implement a successful brand promise.

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  • About the Author, Leigh Paulden

    Leigh Paulden


    Leigh Paulden is an author and internationally certified business growth consultant with over 30 years of experience across 30+ different industries. He works with mid-market business leaders looking to grow. He creates the clarity and certainty needed to make great decisions and achieve scalable and sustainable success.

    Find out more about Leigh or contact him to discuss taking your business growth to the next level.