Your brand has no promise.
I wrote you a mission statement: We deliver innovative programs to make a meaningful impact on the world.
My consulting fee is $50k. Sure, I’ll take a check.
I’ve seen this version of a mission / purpose (let’s not quibble over the differences right now, let’s just say they sleep in the same bunk) over and over again. The words always change a bit, usually to be much more verbose for no reason, but the foundation is always there.
It’s not necessarily wrong. That is what most organizations strive to do after all. It’s just knowing the often comical amount of time, attention and resources required to arrive there. Why even define what’s otherwise intuitive?
I’ve drafted many mission statements as a consultant and realized no matter what you call it, the core brand promise — or declaration of what the people you serve can consistently expect from you — is the real north star your organization should be fixated on.
A great brand promise is the core of how you position your brand in the marketplace in addition to being the guideline of how you orient your organization, set priorities and even define your product / service offerings.
My creative agency BRINK has a four word brand promise: make bold feel safe.
We think in modern communications the bigger risk is putting your resources into something that’s vanilla. The bold choice is actually the safer choice.
The promise to our clients is not only are we going to deliver bold creative work, we’re going to back it up and provide you with what you need to have both the courage and business justification to say “yes!”
That promise shapes us in many ways:
- We have to continually evaluate how to foster an environment where bold creative ideas surface quickly and are executed well.
- We have to ensure the process for getting stakeholders to buy-in to our ideas is carefully considered and consistently improved, including debriefing when good ideas die in approvals.
- Part of this is ensuring our ideas are smart and insightful and motivated, not aimlessly provocative.
- This also impacts how we shape our own values and company culture and interpersonal dynamics.
- And of course this informs how we brand ourselves, from the words we use down to our font and color pallet.
So ask yourself: does your brand show promise? Or are you spending too much time wordsmithing something virtually inconsequential?