Take Your Brand to the Next Level with Two Questions


The question is almost always the same: how can I improve my __? Whether the question refers to a skill, a product, an experience, it’s ultimate about a brand.  How can I improve my brand, then becomes the question. There are corporate, product and individual brands. A brand represents a promise that it makes in the mind of its intended audience. A successful brand evokes positive feelings and delivers in its promises. We all want to improve and grow, but the answer to that question is not as obvious as you might think. Before we can get to the next level, whatever that might mean, we must know at least two critical concepts. What’s my brand promise? Who’s my audience?

Taking your brand to the next level

Your Brand Promise. That’s what your audience/customer/client can expect to get from you. Walmart’s brand promise is simple: everyday low prices. There’s a lot of things you don’t expect from a Walmart experience, such as great customer service or amazing facilities, but you know that if you want the cheapest prices, you’ll find them there. If you can define your brand promise, you’ll be able to stay focused on your message as well as your product.

Your Audience. Understanding your audience is key in order to communicate the brand promise. Your promise must be delivered in the medium and language of your audience. Nordstrom knows that its audience is willing to pay a little more for a great shopping experience. Their sales associates or personal stylists are some of the best in the industry. I had a handwritten note from a personal stylist at a Nordstrom in Dallas after she helped me with a purchase. By any standards, I didn’t spend enough money with her to warrant such attention. Her note communicated everything the Nordstrom brand stood for: customer care, quality, attention, service.

Are you fully aware of your brand promise and your audience?

  • Awesome insight, Maurilio. These things are often easy to identify in others but difficult to asses in ourselves or our ministries.

    I would love to see you write about tools for doing this type of self-assessment–that is, finding out what people do expect when they encounter a ministry or personal brand (blog, etc.).

    • We have a branding exercise we do with our clients at The A Group that helps to answer those questions. It usually takes 3-4 hours. Le me think how to break them down for a series of posts.

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  • vvdenman

    I agree with Lawrence. It's difficult to evaluate our own ministry. Probably because we have so many different things we'd like to say/do. It's hard to focus.

    • Objectivity is never an easy task. I cannot be objective about my own stuff.

  • jacobriggs

    How can a company find out what their brand is promising if they aren't sure? Thanks!

    • That's an issue of understanding the vision of your company. What have you set out to do? Are you providing a service, building widgets, creating an experience? Based on that vision (with understanding on your target audience) then your brand promise should emerge.

  • Wes Stoner

    Even though your blog isn't focused on customer relations, the Nordstrom's example is perfect for letting us know that even in the midst of technology the personal touch is huge. Thanks for sharing this blog, it will be a benefit for our team to really understand our Brand Promise.

    • Interesting sometimes you can use technology to help us manage the personal touch. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  • Good definitions. Very valuable information.

  • Thank you for sharing. This is especially important for me to keep in mind as I finish an MBA this summer and prepare to launch a new blog project next week.

    It's an interesting perspective to think of myself as an individual brand and ask what am I promising to my audience.

    • We all are brands. If you don't define yourself, someone else will do it for you.

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