Brand promise comes from providing aspirational goals
When developing the strategic communication plan for a brand, I always pay attention to brand positioning with regards to its competitors and how, if at all, it presents its brand promise.
The difference between positioning and a brand promise
Much of the aviation industry’s product and service marketing is driven by feature and functionality. This is natural because aviation marketers tend to be engineering focused. Brand positioning is based on competitive advantage derived from advanced technology. As long as engineering can keep pushing the feature/function envelope, aviation marketers will be content to let this pass as brand differentiation.
Where is the emotional connection?
What is missed using this approach is identifying and articulating the brand promise in such a way as to create the emotional connection between the brand and the user. Technology advantage is fleeting, requiring R&D to continually offer up small improvements. However, the reality is that connecting with the user on an emotional level is what builds brand loyalty. Brand loyalty is stronger than feature/function.
Progressive aviation marketers take into account the role of social marketing in today’s competitive market space. Identifying an aspiration goal that resonates with users, aligning the brand with a social cause or a respected organization can help create brand loyalty.
Brand promise comes from customer insight
Customer insight requires listening to the customer and mining their comments for the emotional reasons that they chose your brand. Understanding the customer’s emotional connection with the brand helps to develop a brand story that elevates the brand to a higher plateau, thus instilling trust and loyalty in the brand.
The feature and functionality is important and helps support the brand promise. However, the loyalty side of the equation is formed from providing the purchaser something that he or she cannot obtain without the brand’s help, whether it’s squeezing more personal time out of a crowded workday schedule, being part of a community of like-minded people, or feeling satisfied that they have specified the best component for the job. The justification for the purchasing decision comes from how the brand is emotionally received and the rewards it provides to the purchaser in the form of emotional payback.