A brand promise is what the company commits to the people who interact with it. It’s not adescription of what a company does in a literal sense. It’s a description of the company’s character. To some extent, it’s a mission; it’s how the company creates and delivers value. Also, it’s the feeling the company conveys to its stakeholders. Two restaurants, for example, may have similar menus, but provide different atmospheres, different associations, and different customer experiences based on their brand promises.
To illustrate, here are the brand promises from three highly successful, world-wide brands:
- The NFL: “To be the premier sports and entertainment brand that brings people together, connecting them socially and emotionally like no other.”
- Coca-Cola: “To inspire moments of optimism and uplift.”
- Virgin: “To be genuine, fun, contemporary, and different in everything we do at a reasonable price.
A strong brand offers many advantages for marketers including:
- Enhances Product Recognition - Brands provide multiple sensory stimuli to enhance customer recognition. For example, a brand can be visually recognizable from its packaging, logo, shape, etc. It can also be recognizable via sound, such as hearing the name on a radio advertisement or talking with someone who mentions the product.
- Helps Build Brand Loyalty - Customers who are frequent and enthusiastic purchasers of a particular brand are likely to become Brand Loyal. Cultivating brand loyalty among customers is the ultimate reward for successful marketers since these customers are far less likely to be enticed to switch to other brands compared to non-loyal customers.
- Helps With Product Positioning - Well-developed and promoted brands make product positioning efforts more effective. The result is that upon exposure to a brand (e.g., hearing it, seeing it) customers conjure up mental images or feelings of the benefits they receive from using that brand. The reverse is even better. When customers associate benefits with a particular brand, the brand may have attained a significant competitive advantage. In these situations the customer who recognizes he needs a solution to a problem (e.g., needs to bleach clothes) may automatically think of one brand that offers the solution to the problem (e.g., Clorox). This “benefit = brand” association provides a significant advantage for the brand that the customer associates with the benefit sought.
- Aids in Introduction of New Products - Firms that establish a successful brand can extend the brand by adding new products under the same “family” brand. Such branding may allow companies to introduce new products more easily since the brand is already recognized within the market.
- Builds Brand Equity - Strong brands can lead to financial advantages through the concept of Brand Equity in which the brand itself becomes valuable. Such gains can be realized through the out-right sale of a brand or through licensing arrangements. For example, Company A may have a well-recognized brand (Brand X) within a market but for some reason they are looking to concentrate their efforts in other markets. Company B is looking to enter the same market as Brand X. If circumstances are right Company A could sell to Company B the rights to use the Brand X name without selling any other part of the company. That is, Company A simply sells the legal rights to the Brand X name but retains all other parts of Brand X, such as the production facilities and employees. In cases of well developed brands such a transaction may carry a very large price tag. Thus, through strong branding efforts Company A achieves a large financial gain by simply signing over the rights to the name. But why would Company B seek to purchase a brand for such a high price tag? Because by buying the brand Company B has already achieved an important marketing goal – building awareness within the target market. The fact the market is already be familiar with the brand allows the Company B to concentrate on other marketing decisions.
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