Lately I've been thinking a lot about a brand's expressions and the promise that they are trying to fulfill. It's a seemingly easy exercise, but it has actually lead me to a point of contention within myself and some of the conversations that I've been having. After some discovery, I've found the contention comes from the clarity in definition of a particular brand promise.
In the past, brand promises have been loose feelings that were able to be completely owned by the product / service at the point of interaction, transaction, or consumption. The world around the brand didn't matter too much, as long as that one particular moment satisfied the promise, you were good. In a situation like this, the brand promise could be more of a statement without much depth. It could have been more superficial than something pervasive.
A lot has changed since then. Consumers are more mindful in doing business with companies that align with their values. Consumers are more connected than ever before. Expectations on what a brand / company provides have grown dramatically. Customer loyalty has fallen off as many infustries are going through "disruptive" moments. The promise a brand now must provide much more connotation, which has lead to many more questions it must solve. Where is it built? Where is it sourced? What are it's values? How does it communicate? What is their customer service like? What are their retail locations like? How connected are the various interactions? How do I feel when I interact with the brand? All of these are extremely valuable questions that consumers are asking themselves (consciously or subconsciously) while they are exploring, shopping, buying, or owning a product in your brand category. And not all issues are equal to all consumers which puts the idea of a brand promise in a challenging position.
These elements are creating massive disconnects between consumers and brands as the expectations of a holistic brand that fulfills the expected promise at every touch point is starting to breakdown. The breakdown is caused by two main reasons:
1) Limitations on the current brand promise
2) Poor execution of the brand promise across the touch points for the individual consumer.
A sticky situation for brands, however it leaves an amazing opportunity for us as brand stewards to make an impact. But we need to completely understand where our brand promise is and the limitations around it.
Over the next few months we'll explore how to develop brand promise that is scaleable, meaningful and impactful for the consumer and the business. We'll also discuss the physical implementation and manifestation of the brand promise for a consumer by Brand Experience Design.
Stay tuned and follow along.