Maintaining a small business is hard. The day-to-day tasks take up a remarkable chunk of mental and emotional energy. And just when you think you have it all sorted out, you’re suddenly hearing things like “you should focus on your brand promise”.
You’re probably thinking “Why? What is that? I’m busy. Do I really have to add it to my already unrelenting list of to-dos?”
I get it if you are resisting. It’s exhausting when you are trying your best to run your business and yet your to-do list never gets smaller.
But I’ll let you in on a little secret, a brand promise isn’t going to drag you down.
It’s what motivates you. And makes that list easier to tackle.
Your brand promise is the layer of hot lava under the surface of your business. It’s your main value. Your promise flows under everything and keeps your entrepreneurial purpose and passion from going cold.
In fact, I think “brand promise” is a limiting title for what it encompasses.
And here’s why.
What is a brand promise?
A brand promise is commonly thought of as a marketing tool.
You could define it as: A bold public statement of what to expect from your company.
Or why people buy from you.
For example, Apple has a famous brand promise:
This promise made Apple stand out from the crowd.* Apple promised that their products are for the changers and the doers. They value innovation. So, that’s what they promised.
Your brand promise is what customers come to expect from your business. In fact, it’s what they look forward to. It’s the reason they keep coming back.
Your brand promise is what differentiates you from the competition.
So naturally, it makes a great marketing tool.
But what most people don’t know is that a brand promise goes far beyond marketing.
Your brand promise is integral to your company’s operations and systems.
It underpins your reputation as an employer and as a player in your market. It shows up in how you operate, how well you do financially and in your employee’s motivation.
Your promise inspires employees to rally behind your vision and motivates you to run a company that fulfils your desires.
A brand promise is not just about your “brand”, it’s about your company.
And that’s why for the rest of this blog (and until the end of time) I’m going to refer to it as a company promise.
With that in mind, let’s adjust the definition of a
brand company promise.
A company promise is:
- A bold public statement about what people can expect from your company and from everyone in your organization.
- Why people buy from you, why employees stay with you, and how you keep passion and integrity flowing through your business.
So, how can you apply your company promise to your business?
Here’s three concrete actions you can take:
- Infuse your company promise into your leadership style.
- Align your systems with you company promise.
- Motivate yourself by using your company promise every day.
1. Lead with your company promise.
Your company promise ties into your leadership skills in a big way.
When you focus your team’s attention towards your company promise, you gain a leadership tool that positively shapes the company culture.
Your company promise acts as a vision that brings people together. It gives your team a shared purpose.
According to the Harvard Business Review, teams work better when they are energized and engaged by a common direction.**
Your company promise provides that direction.
An example of a company promise from a local home cleaning company is, “We care about you and the quality of our work.”
These are the promises that ignite pride in the hearts of your employees. It makes them feel like they are contributing to something important.
And they are. They’re contributing to your business.
2. Use your company promise as the foundation of your systems.
Your company promise is the foundation on which you build all your company’s systems and procedures.
To give you an idea, you can use your promise as a starting point when you are building a new system.
Say you want to create a system for answering the phone and your company promise is “part of the community.”
In your system, you can dictate that anyone who answers the phone genuinely asks how the caller’s day is. This aligns your system with your company promise.
You can also adjust an existing system by measuring its outcomes against your promise.
Does your system produce results that align with your company promise?
For example, imagine two coffee shops.
Let’s call the first one, Coffee Beans. They built their serving system around their company promise “100% Fair Trade and Organic Coffee.“
At Coffee Beans, the service system looks like this:
- They serve their coffee in a reusable or bio-degradable cup.
- There’s standing-room only and the serving area is filled with plants.
- When people are done with service, they toss their mugs in the compost or hand-wash them.
People like the service at Coffee Beans because they know they are supporting an eco-conscious business.
When Coffee Beans measures the success of their service system, they always ask: “Is this in alignment with 100% Fair Trade and Organic Coffee?”
Do you think they are successful in aligning their system with their promise? I do!
The second coffee shop, which we will call Melonie’s Hideaway, has built their service system around their promise of “the friendliest service in town.“
Their service system looks like this:
- They serve their coffee in cute-mismatched mugs.
- Every chair in the shop is comfy and inviting.
- The barista is friendly and often checks up on you to see how you are enjoying yourself.
Customers like the service at Melonie’s Hideaway because they feel like they can come back 5 times a day and still be welcomed.
See how each company promise shapes their service system?
They provide different atmospheres, associations and customer experiences based on their promises.
When you use your company promise, you can shape your systems to achieve the results you want.
Which will turn your business into an accurate reflection of your values and entrepreneurial dream!
Check out the following chart to see how a company promise can shape different systems in your business.
3. Apply your promise through daily actions.
If you want to maximize your motivation, apply your company promise every day to everything you do.
Daily actions ensure that you keep your promise to your customers and employees, which creates accountability and momentum for you.
For example, here’s how the Systems Business Coach promise, “To Listen, and Together find a Way”, impacts my daily actions.
When I apply my company promise I:
- Listen to employee ideas.
- Check that everyone feels included.
- Listen to small business owners and adjust our courses and offerings based on their needs.
- Update existing systems to match best practices and new information.
- Share company goals with everyone on the team.
When I refer to my company promise, I also feel a renewed sense of passion. I tackle business frustrations and goals from a positive place.
Find fulfillment in your company by having your values infused in everything you do.
Why company promise?
A company promise describes the value or experience customers
can expect to receive every time they interact with your business. It’s why they buy.
It’s a commitment understood by everyone on your
team— why your employees stay.
Your promise influences the actions you take everyday to run a successful and fulfilling business. It’s why your company stands the tests of time.
Addressing your company promise won’t add to your to-do list, it’s actually going to make everything easier. It’s already flowing underneath everything you do, even if you can’t see it.
Let that lava pour out. Create a volcanic eruption!
Share the secret!
Do you know anyone who is looking for motivation?
Or has an amazing vision they need to share with their team?
Maybe they need to redefine their “brand promise” as their company promise.
Either way, share this blog post!
Let’s spread the prosperity around.
Until next time, enjoy your Entrepreneurial Journey!
*K. Leifer. (2015, April 27). The Best Brand Promise Examples We’ve Seen. LinkedIn. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/best-brand-promise-examples-weve-seen-kevin-leifer/
**Haas, M., & Mortensen, M. (2019, March 18). The Secrets of Great Teamwork. Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2016/06/the-secrets-of-great-teamwork