How To Keep Your Brand Promises Before You Make Them

Brand consistency is the pattern of expression that affects what people think about your company. The more consistent your messaging, the more consistent your branding — whether via words, design, offerings or perspective. Your brand should build awareness and develop trust and loyalty with customers.

  1. How To Keep Your Brand Promises Before You Make Them Hear
  2. How To Keep Your Brand Promises Before You Make Them Cry
  3. How To Keep Your Brand Promises Before You Make Them Knowing

It’s fairly easy to create blog posts, ebooks and other such content assets in the digital age. Quick, too. An idea can go from concept to completed so quickly that it doesn’t get thoroughly vetted for brand consistency. And with an internet connection and standard business software, almost any employee has the opportunity to create content that contains their version of the brand look or message. Many employees will do just that, even with the best of intentions.

Don’t leave your brand open to a variety of interpretations and customizations. Your brand should build awareness and develop trust and loyalty with customers. A constantly changing brand personality just doesn’t do the job. That’s why it’s so important to develop standards for brand consistency, on and offline. Every interaction customers have with your brand should embody the brand promises and values dependably and understandably.

Every point that you make in your speech should have an action the audience can take that moves them closer to the presentation promise. It’s even more powerful if the audience can take at least. Stay true to your brand building. Unless you decide to change your brand into something that is more effective based on measured consumer response, consistency is key. Refer back to your Brand Strategy whenever you need to make a decision about identity or marketing. Once you establish a brand voice, use it for every piece of content you. That voice is your conscience, your morals, your individuality. No one can take that from you unless you let them. They can take everything from you in material terms – your house, your job, your ability to speak and move freely. They cannot take away who you truly are. They can never truly know you, and that is your power. The Employer Brand Excellence Framework TM can be used to guide your employer brand program across the employee lifecycle from pre-hire to retire (see figure below). Successful implementation of the framework will ensure the promise to customers that is articulated by the company’s corporate and consumer brand is matched by the promise. Keep your brand name simple The perfect brand name for your startup will generally be short, simple and easy to say. Ideally, it will be a two-syllable word, as these generally gain more traction with target audiences and are more memorable.

What procedures have you put in place to ensure a consistent brand presence in all your on- and offline brand communications? Are your brand guidelines and brand personality documented? #contentmarketing #smallbusiness Click To Tweet

Develop brand guidelines.

Most large corporations (and some small to midsize businesses, too) create brand style and usage guidelines to ensure all messaging and brand asset use is on-point and consistent. These guides not only help the marketing department, but they also serve as guides to other employees and departments. And above all, the guidelines should align with a company’s vision and mission.

Take a look at these examples to get a feel for how in-depth a brand style guide can be:

  • Walmart Corporate Brand Guidelines. Walmart has covered every conceivable way to use its corporate brand. This comprehensive guide includes direction on the brand’s editorial voice and how to use their logo in print, online, on promotional merchandise and more. They even cover appropriate fonts and how to use logos, icons and taglines correctly.
  • Mozilla Style Guide. Mozilla has an online style guide to help its open source community understand how to use its logos and trademarks for Mozilla, the Firefox browser and their other products. These guidelines help everyone who works with Mozilla protect Mozilla’s brands.

Now, your business may not be the size of Adobe or have the reach of Mozilla. Maybe you’re in the process of establishing your personal brand. These style guides may look overwhelming, but you don’t necessarily have to be as exhaustive with your brand guidelines. However, you should take the time to establish a foundation that guides your messaging, and you should ensure that it aligns with your business goals and the needs of your target personas.

You also can check out ClearVoice’s Editorial Style Guide, complete with a breakdown on how to make a style guide that’s freelancer-friendly.

Pay attention to internal branding and corporate culture.

Brand consistency isn’t just a customer-facing imperative. After you’ve taken time to cultivate a brand voice that will resonate with customers, the brand experience delivery has to match — that requires employee participation. Slapping your logo with a list of brand values on some posters throughout the workplace is not enough. You should attempt to get a marketing leader involved with any existing corporate culture-building initiatives. If there is no formal corporate culture program, you can partner with HR to get executive buy-in for establishing a brand-centric corporate culture initiative.

Sometimes marketing teams get so focused on driving awareness and leads, that they forget about internal customers. Your organization’s employees must buy-in on the brand. Does your company do the following?

  • Ensure that onboarding and training programs incorporate brand values.
  • Provide branded items (shirts, mugs, business cards, laptop cases) to create internal brand loyalty.
  • Empower employees as brand ambassadors who can advocate for the brand on social media using programs like GaggleAMP or Everyone Social. These programs help keep the company and brand messages consistent.
  • Develop collateral to explain each department’s role in the fulfillment of your brand promise.

When your internal audience understands and embraces the brand, the more consistent the delivery of brand experience will be to customers.

Approach content with brand consistency in mind.

Once you’ve created your brand style and usage guidelines, refer to them when planning all your content marketing efforts. According to a study from The Verde Group and the Wharton School, two-thirds of all shoppers use more than one channel to make purchases. With all the online and offline opportunities to make an impression, consistency across all channels and touchpoints are more important than ever.

Then, consider these seven fundamental approaches:

1. Use your logo and design elements consistently and provide access to employees.

The only thing worse than seeing a logo stretched out of proportion, pixelated or painted up with new colors is seeing it shared that way with staff and customers. To combat this and similar blunders:

  • Create a shared folder on your company network or intranet that provides employees with access to approved visual content and instructions on how to use them both on and offline.
  • Develop a branded slide deck theme for your webinars and webcast videos.
  • Create social media cover photos for your employees who participate in employee advocacy programs.
  • Provide document templates and social sharing templates that help your team present a consistent brand look and feel online.
  • Manage orders for print and promotional materials through a single department or person to ensure your logo is always used correctly in print and promotional materials.

Recommended tools for:

  • Style guide creation: Frontify
  • Image and template file sharing: Google Drive, SharePoint or DropBox Business
  • Template creation for social media and marketing collateral: Canva for Work or Visage
  • Branded email signatures: WiseStamp for Business
  • Branded apparel: consider setting up a branded storefront with a company like Land’s End for easy ordering of branded apparel

2. Select the right topics for your brand’s content calendar.

The topics you write about or produce webinars and videos around should be consistent with your brand’s mission and goals. Look for opportunities to create content that makes sense for your brand. If your business serves a particular industry vertical or niche, for example, it’s entirely appropriate to create or curate blog content around key industry developments that affect your customers — especially when your company has expertise in or unique insight to the issue.

3. Bring offline marketing events into your online branding efforts.

If your company is exhibiting at a trade show, has received an award, or is participating in a community event, let your online audience know. When your business or product is recognized as a leader or taking a leadership role in your industry or community, that’s part of your brand-building efforts. Promote these efforts through blog posts, social media posts, visual social media (Instagram, Snapchat, etc.), and video. Don’t forget to add your brand name or logo to photos or videos that you share.

4. Keep your brand’s tone and personality consistent across channels.

When communicating as the brand offline or via your website, social media profiles, or other online channels, it’s important to keep a consistent tone and personality. If your brand is fun and friendly on Twitter, it should have a similar flavor on Facebook and LinkedIn. Your messaging on LinkedIn may be less casual or more professional, but it shouldn’t sound like it’s coming from a different brand altogether. Think about it this way: There is the “at work” you and the “at home or with friends” you. Your personality is the same, but your mannerisms adjust to the context. The same goes for your brand personality and selected communication channels.

Find a Team to Manage Your Content and Grow Your Brand

Never miss a chance to engage with customers. Create better content, faster. With ClearVoice, you can tap into vetted freelance teams who can manage your content plans, start to finish. Major content projects to long-term content needs.

5. Participate in platforms and channels that align with your brand’s identity and your prospects’ and customers’ preferences.

It’s easy to get distracted by each new online marketing trend and platform. It’s easy to be swayed by peer pressure, too: Everybody is on Facebook, my company should be too. Before following the crowd to an existing network or becoming an early adopter of a new platform or trend, evaluate the offering to determine whether or not it makes sense for your business. Ask yourself:

  • Would you expect to find a brand like yours on this new platform or executing this type of strategy?
  • Would you trust a brand like yours if it were on this particular network or conducted a new kind of campaign effort?
  • Do your current or target customers congregate on these social platforms? Are they likely to be the same demographic that a new social media channel targets?

Location, location, location — it’s not just a consideration in real estate.

6. Align your brand with the right influencers.

Influencer marketing is hot right now. So hot that marketers have rushed in too quickly and made some missteps when selecting the right influencer to represent their brands. If you decide to work with influencers, ask yourself these questions:

  • Does this influencer appeal to my target audience?
  • Does he or she talk about issues directly related to pain points my product or service can address?
  • Is his or her personality complementary to my brand’s?
  • Will he or she ensure appropriate use of my brand in their content?
  • Are the influencers I’ve selected legit?

7. Partner with the sales team on the development of a sales playbook.

How

A sales playbook is not a sales training manual; it’s a framework that assists sales representatives in closing more deals. A key component of a stellar playbook is stage-specific content. How much of the content created by marketing is the team using? Where is the playbook content off-brand?

If there is a rift between sales and marketing in your business, this next step may be easier said than done. However, you can use this exercise as relationship mender. Review the existing playbook with sales management as a way to offer your help. Don’t go into the conversation on the defense. If the team isn’t using the content that marketing has generated, ask questions to understand why instead of trying to force the issue. The sales team has front-line experience that can provide you insights into why a piece of content doesn’t work. Take their feedback and help create something new— and brand consistent — that will maintain brand consistency and move the prospect closer to a sale.

Are you creating a consistent brand experience?

As our ability to create and send marketing communications increases, it becomes easier to make a few missteps when crafting brand identity. The desire to be immediate can result in immediately confusing, distracting or detrimental communications that detract from the brand you’ve worked so hard to establish.

What do you think the biggest challenges are for today's marketers and entrepreneurs when it comes to brand consistency? #contentmarketing Click To Tweet

Read more about honing brand consistency and voice:

Find a Team to Manage Your Content and Grow Your Vision

What is Brand Positioning?

Put simply, brand positioning is the process of positioning your brand in the mind of your customers. Brand positioning is also referred to as a positioning strategy, brand strategy, or a brand positioning statement.

Popularized in Al Ries and Jack Trout’s bestselling Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind, the idea is to identify and attempt to “own” a marketing niche for a brand, product, or service using various strategies including pricing, promotions, distribution, packaging, and competition. The goal is to create a unique impression in the customer’s mind so that the customer associates something specific and desirable with your brand that is distinct from rest of the marketplace.

How To Keep Your Brand Promises Before You Make Them

Ries and Trout define positioning as “an organized system for finding a window in the mind. It is based on the concept that communication can only take place at the right time and under the right circumstances.”

Brand positioning occurs whether or not a company is proactive in developing a position, however, if management takes an intelligent, forward-looking approach, it can positively influence its brand positioning in the eyes of its target customers.

Positioning Statements versus Taglines

Brand positioning statements are often confused with company taglines or slogans. Positioning statements are for internal use. These statements guide the marketing and operating decisions of your business. A positioning statement helps you make key decisions that affect your customer’s perception of your brand.

A tag line is an external statement used in your marketing efforts. Insights from your positioning statement can be turned into a tagline, but it is important to distinguish between the two. (See examples of brand positioning statements and taglines below.)

How to keep your brand promises before you make them laugh

7-Step Brand Positioning Strategy Process

In order to create a position strategy, you must first identify your brand’s uniqueness and determine what differentiates you from your competition.

There are 7 key steps to effectively clarify your positioning in the marketplace:

  1. Determine how your brand is currently positioning itself
  2. Identify your direct competitors
  3. Understand how each competitor is positioning their brand
  4. Compare your positioning to your competitors to identify your uniqueness
  5. Develop a distinct and value-based positioning idea
  6. Craft a brand positioning statement (see below)
  7. Test the efficacy of your brand positioning statement (see 15 criteria below)

What is a Brand Positioning Statement?

A positioning statement is a one or two sentence declaration that communicates your brand’s unique value to your customers in relation to your main competitors.

In Crossing the Chasm, Geoffrey Moore offers one way of formulating a positioning statement: For (target customer) who (statement of the need or opportunity), the (product name) is a (product category) that (statement of key benefit; also called a compelling reason to believe). Unlike (primary competitive alternative), our product (statement of primary differentiation). However, we provide a more simplified structure for formulating a Brand Positioning Statement in the following section.

How to Create a Brand Positioning Statement

There are four essential elements of a best-in-class positioning statement:

  1. Target Customer: What is a concise summary of the attitudinal and demographic description of the target group of customers your brand is attempting to appeal to and attract?
  2. Market Definition: What category is your brand competing in and in what context does your brand have relevance to your customers?
  3. Brand Promise: What is the most compelling (emotional/rational) benefit to your target customers that your brand can own relative to your competition?
  4. Reason to Believe: What is the most compelling evidence that your brand delivers on its brand promise?

After thoughtfully answering these four questions, you can craft your positioning statement:

For [target customers], [company name] is the [market definition] that delivers [brand promise] because only [company name] is [reason to believe].

Two Examples of Positioning Statements

Amazon.com used the following positioning statement in 2001 (when it almost exclusively sold books):

For World Wide Web users who enjoy books, Amazon.com is a retail bookseller that provides instant access to over 1.1 million books. Unlike traditional book retailers, Amazon.com provides a combination of extraordinary convenience, low prices, and comprehensive selection.

Zipcar.com used the following positioning statement when it established its business was founded in 2000:

To urban-dwelling, educated techno-savvy consumers, when you use Zipcar car-sharing service instead of owning a car, you save money while reducing your carbon footprint.

15 Examples of Taglines

Once you have a strong brand positioning statement you can create a tagline or slogan that helps establish the position you’re looking to own. Here are 15 examples:

Mercedes-Benz: Engineered like no other car in the world

BMW: The ultimate driving machine

Southwest Airlines: The short-haul, no-frills, and low-priced airline

Avis: We are only Number 2, but we try harder

Wharton Business School: The only business school that trains managers who are global, cross-functional, good leaders, and leveraged by technology

Famous Footwear: The value shoe store for families

Miller Lite: The only beer with superior taste and low caloric content

State Farm: Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.

L’Oreal: Because you’re worth it.

Walmart: Always low prices. Always.

Nike: Just do it

Coca-Cola: The real thing

Target: Expect more. Pay less.

Volvo: For life.

Home Depot: You can do it. We can help.

15 Criteria for Evaluating Your Brand Positioning Strategy

An intelligent and well-crafted positioning statement is a powerful tool for bring focus and clarity to your marketing strategies, advertising campaigns, and promotional tactics. If used properly, this statement can help you make effective decisions to help differentiate your brand, attract your target customers, and win market share from your competition.

Here are 15 criteria for checking your brand positioning:

  1. Does it differentiate your brand?
  2. Does it match customer perceptions of your brand?
  3. Does it enable growth?
  4. Does it identify your brand’s unique value to your customers?
  5. Does it produce a clear picture in your mind that’s different from your competitors?
  6. Is it focused on your core customers?
  7. Is it memorable and motivating?
  8. Is it consistent in all areas of your business?
  9. Is it easy to understand?
  10. Is it difficult to copy?
  11. Is it positioned for long-term success?
  12. Is your brand promise believable and credible?
  13. Can your brand own it?
  14. Will it withstand counterattacks from your competitors?
  15. Will it help you make more effective marketing and branding decisions?

Repositioning Positioning

The unfortunate reality is that no marketer has the power to position anything in the customer’s mind, which is the core promise of positioning. The notion that positions are created by marketers has to die. Each customer has their own idea of what you are.

Positioning is not something you do, but rather, is the result of your customer’s perception of what you do. Positioning is not something we can create in a vacuum—the act of positioning is a co-authored experience with the customers.

Behind your positioning statement or tagline is your intention—how you desire your business to be represented to customers. Once the real role of positioning is understood, having a tagline or a positioning statement can be useful by clarifying your brand’s essence within your organization.

By examining the essence of what you are and comparing it with what your customers want, the doors open to building a business with a strong positioning in the mind of the customer. Why? Great brands merge their passion with their positioning into one statement that captures the essence of both.

Integrating Your Brand Positioning in Your Customer’s Mind

To position your brand in your customer’s mind, you must start from within your business. Every member of your organization that touches the customer has to be the perfect expression of your position. And, since everyone touches the customer in some way, everyone should be the best expression of your position.

Now comes the hard part: Put up everything that represents your brand on a wall. List all your brand’s touch points—every point of interaction with your customer. With a critical, yet intuitive eye, ask:

  • How can I more fluidly communicate my brand’s desired position?
  • Does every touch point look, say, and feel like the brand I want my customers to perceive?

How To Keep Your Brand Promises Before You Make Them Hear

Many marketers don’t have the clarity and conviction of following through on their words. Without certainty, you default to the status quo. Turn everything you do into an expression of your desired positioning and you can create something special. This takes courage; to actively position your brand means you have to stand for something. Only then are you truly on your way to owning your very own position in the mind of your customer.

How To Keep Your Brand Promises Before You Make Them Cry

Onward!

How To Keep Your Brand Promises Before You Make Them Knowing

Previous PostNext Post