Smiling employee working with a team to develop her company’s brand promise.
June 15, 2023

How to Make and Deliver On Your Brand Promise

by Michael Brenner

In a fiercely competitive business world, a strong B2B brand is crucial for capturing consumer attention and establishing a loyal customer base. And at the heart of effective branding lies a compelling brand promise—an encapsulation of a brand’s essence and unique benefits.

A brand promise goes beyond mere slogans—it shapes the entire customer experience and forms a connection with your target audience. It embodies the brand’s values, differentiation, and mission, instilling trust and inspiring customer choice.

In this article we’ll explore exactly what’s included in a brand promise and steps you can take to develop and deliver on a promise that resonates with your customers.

Quick Takeaways

  • A brand promise communicates the unique experience and benefits customers can expect from a brand’s products, services, or interactions.
  • It should be derived from the brand’s positioning, differentiation, and competitive advantage.
  • A well-crafted brand promise should be meaningful, relevant, and compelling to the target audience.
  • Conducting audience research and market research is crucial in developing an effective brand promise.
  • Testing, internal buy-in, and consistent delivery are key to successfully implementing and delivering on the brand promise.

What is a Brand Promise and Why Does it Matter?

A brand promise is a statement or value proposition made by a company to its customers—one that clearly communicates the unique experience and benefits they can expect to receive from the brand’s products, services, or interactions. It represents the core essence of a brand and the expectations customers should have about what it can deliver.

A brand promise is derived from the brand’s high-level positioning and reflects its unique selling proposition, differentiation, and competitive advantage in the market. It communicates the brand’s commitment to fulfilling specific customer needs, solving problems, and delivering certain outcomes.

Three-part Venn diagram demonstrating the definition of a brand promise and how it relates to a brand’s offerings, market gaps, and consumer needs.

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In other words: Your brand promise is critical to your ability to engage and convert customers.

Today, 82% of consumers say they want more than just quality products and services—they also want a brand’s values to align with their own. That means they’re looking at your brand promise to determine whether your brand is one they want to buy from.

A well-crafted brand promise should be meaningful, relevant, and compelling to the target audience to build a connection that motivates purchase. It should align with the brand’s values, culture, and overall brand strategy. 

A brand promise is more than just marketing slogans or catchy phrases; it should be rooted in the brand’s capabilities and consistently delivered across all customer touchpoints.

How to Make Your Brand Promise

Define Your Purpose

Before you make a promise to your customers, you need to define your brand’s purpose—the fundamental reason you exist as a business. Work with a cross-functional team that includes leadership representation to define the values and beliefs that drive your organization. Reflect on why the company exists and the impact it aims to make in the world.

This type of introspection helps you go deeper than day-to-day operations and business goals to see the meaning behind what you do.

Next, articulate your brand purpose into a concise statement that encapsulates your mission and vision. This statement should reflect much of what you discovered during your discussion of your brand’s purpose, and it should provide a compelling reason for customers to engage with your brand.

Remember to be authentic and genuine in expressing your purpose, as today’s consumers value transparency and socially responsible businesses. Once you have your brand purpose clearly defined, you create a guiding light that aligns your actions, messaging, and strategy, all of which you can use to develop a public brand promise.

Know Your Audience

Before developing your brand promise, it’s crucial to have a deep understanding of your target audience. Use tried-and-true B2B audience frameworks like the Idea Customer Profile (ICP) and buyer personas to identify the organizational and individual traits defining your target buyers.

Include surface-level information such as industry, location, company size, budget, experience levels, education background, job titles, and the like. Then, dig deeper to analyze psychographic data like interests, values, beliefs, behaviors, and professional motivations.

You can also do external customer research using surveys, interviews, and focus groups to gain insights directly from your potential customers. Aim to understand their pain points and needs, and what they want and expect to get from your solutions.

Document your audience research and buyer profiles so your teams can use them later on in developing your brand promise.

Conduct Market Research

Next, conduct market research to understand the size of your market and how your brand is positioned currently among your direct and indirect competitors. Use existing research as well as news, current events, and social media to get a full picture of your current market.

Conduct a competitive analysis to identify gaps you may need to fill and opportunities for you to differentiate your brand through your brand promise. As with your audience research, it’s best practice to document the findings of your market research so they can be used when you get to the actual development of your promise.

A simple table template like the one below is easy to use for competitive analysis, helps you identify gaps and differentiation opportunities, and can be easily saved and shared.

Example of a competitive analysis table chart, which can be used to rank a company in different areas compared to their competitors.

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Refine Your Value Proposition

Your value proposition is a concise statement that tells consumers how you offer value through your products and services. It’s similar to a brand promise because it emphasizes the benefits your brand can deliver, but different in that it’s focused more specifically on your offerings and less on the entire customer experience.

To craft a compelling brand value proposition, you need to do a thorough evaluation of your target audience’s pain points, needs, goals, and desires and how your solutions align with them. You can use insights from your audience research as well as tools like the Value Proposition Canvas to document and refine.

Develop Your Brand Promise

Build on your value proposition to think about the total experience you want to deliver for your customers. Your brand promise is not about just listing benefits—it’s about sharing how they deliver a whole experience and meaningful value, all in a concise statement. Work together with your marketing team to develop a brand promise statement that’s in line with your brand voice and existing brand messaging.

Here are a few brand promises from well known brands to inspire you:

  • BMW: “The ultimate driving machine.”
  • GE: “Imagination at work.”
  • Walmart: “Save money. Live Better.”
  • Home Depot: “More saving. More doing.”
  • Starbucks: “To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.”
  • Nike: “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.”

As you can see, some brand promises are designed like taglines (and even used as taglines), while others are a bit longer and read like a mission statement—but no matter what, they all make you feel something and envision the type of experience you’ll have with the brand.

Test and Validate

No matter how thorough your research, it’s never a good idea to launch something intended to be as long-lasting as your brand promise without testing it out with your audience.

Once you have your brand promise developed, share it with customer focus groups and smaller test audiences to get their reactions. Ask them how it makes them feel, how well they think it matches up with your brand and offerings and their experience with them, and whether it would motivate them to purchase your products and services.

Get Your Internal Teams on Board

Your employees represent your brand in every interaction they have with partners, customers, and other key stakeholders. That’s why it’s essential to get brand promise buy-in from more than just your marketing team.

Share your brand promise internally and celebrate its launch—talk with your employee teams about your goals for your new brand promise, how you plan to deliver on it, and how they play a role in its success.

Make and Deliver on Your Promise

Once you’ve taken the steps above, your brand promise is ready for launch. Intentionally plan to incorporate it into your marketing campaigns and content. Make it prominent on your website and other places where your brand is present online. Most importantly, have a clear plan for how your brand will actually deliver on your promise—action steps, product/service improvements, and more.

Set specific goals for how your promise can help you achieve brand lift and outline the KPIs you will use to measure its success. Report frequently on KPIs and meet with your strategy team to understand if your brand promise is hitting the mark, if you’re delivering effectively, and whether any changes or refinements need to be made.

Last but not least, never stand still. The business world moves fast, and customer expectations change. Your brand promise should stand the test of time, and your brand should stay agile and responsive to feedback to continuously deliver on it.

Michael Brenner is a keynote speaker, author and CEO of Marketing Insider Group. Michael has written hundreds of articles on sites such as Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine, and The Guardian and he speaks at dozens of leadership conferences each year covering topics such as marketing, leadership, technology and business strategy.