Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey – Barefoot Wine Founders

By Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey – Barefoot Wine Founders

Without a Brand Promise a Brand is Just a Label

Without a Brand Promise a Brand is Just a Label 150 150 MIchael and Bonnie Harvey

Brands go back to the Roman Empire. Products were emblazoned with a mark that identified the merchant. Today, brands don’t just indicate identity; they also represent the brand’s promise. This promise covers much more than just performance—it reaches packaging, quality, price, availability, and other factors that create your consumers’ expectations!

Modern distribution and communication can bring your brand to widespread recognition and reputation that are based on both past and present behavior. But this is an intricate double-edged sword! A brand with all-star reputation and distribution can excel in the marketplace, but on the other hand, a brand can lose its charm when just one consumer necessity fades. For example, brands can continue to provide good quality, dependability, and price, but they can lose favor by breaking their promise in different ways, like environmental practices or labor relations.

The brand promise is complex. Your consumer has their own expectations based on knowledge of your brand, no matter what you want your brand promise to be. If a consumer’s recent experience doesn’t match their expectations, not only will they stop using your brand, but they’ll also be compelled to warn others (to whom they’ve previously promoted your brand) to avoid it! When it comes to reputation, your former promoters can become formidable opponents. They have more authority with your consumers than you do.

This is why it’s essential for small startups and large corporations alike to understand the unpredictable nature of a brand promise. Start with accepting that you don’t own your brand. The consumer does! You don’t even own your brand promise—the consumer does! Your brand promises certain behavior in your customer’s experience that you and your marketing team might not even notice. New competitors, changes in the market, changes in your category, or even the news can sometimes alter your brand promise in your customers’ eyes. So be cautious and pay attention!

When people trust a brand, they want to feel completely comfortable. So, they stop looking for an alternative once they’ve discovered their brand. Shopping for a new brand fosters anxiety and possible disappointment. Understanding this can be a huge advantage to brand builders who don’t disappoint their followers. The more you know about how customers see your brand promise, the better you can honor it and remain relevant in their point of view.

Your customer service and salespeople know more about marketplace dynamics and consumer perception than your marketing staff. Why? Because they talk to consumers every day! Your salespeople have the most up-to-date info on the competition, your category, and the marketplace. When you break your brand promise, your customer service people know before anyone else in your company. To live up to your brand promise and to keep your devoted customers, we suggest a regular and formal line of communication between your Customer Service and Sales teams and your Production, R&D, Marketing, and Administrative teams.

It’s easy for creators to get too comfortable with their brands. They think they have reached their destination, when maintaining your brand promise is actually a persistent journey. Don’t allow your brand to become just another label. When you keep your brand promise, you keep your faithful customers as promoters for your brand.

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