Why your brand promise matters more now than ever

The brand promise is the differentiating characteristics inherent to the brand experience that will be delivered to every customer, every time.

The brand promise is the differentiating characteristics inherent to the brand experience that will be delivered to every customer, every time.

Does your customer’s brand experience live up to the brand promise?

In all the clutter being injected into business-to-business marketing, it seems that the quaint idea of the brand promise has been forgotten. Yet there are some large global consumer brands that invest untold time, treasure, and resources to define their differentiated brand experience and articulate it across their industry segments to ensure powerful and consistent customer communications.

Why business-to-business brands should revisit their brand promise

The brand promise is the differentiating characteristics inherent to the brand experience that will be delivered to every customer, every time.

How the brand articulates that promised experience depends on five specific components:

  • Personality of the brand
  • Values of the brand
  • Emotional needs of the customer the brand promises to satisfy
  • Functional needs the brand promises to satisfy
  • Supporting features that distinguish the brand

These five components form the brand pyramid which leads to formulating the brand promise.

Elevating the brand promise beyond feature/function

Brand features and functions are basic attributes of the brand. For example, a Phillips head screwdriver (feature) will tighten or loosen (function) a Phillips head screw. Elevating this experience to fulfill an emotional need requires insight into why that particular brand of screwdriver was selected. Is the brand promise that this tool is of high quality, comes with a lifetime guarantee, and is the choice of professionals? Or is it that the phenolic ergonomic grip is designed to reduce the chance of shock if touched to a live wire? The brand promise in this case goes beyond adjusting a screw; rather, it addresses an esteem or safety need that is deemed important by the customer.

Vision and values of the brand

If you accept that the brand promise is related to the brand experience, then vision and values of the brand come into play. The vision and values of the brand define the brand’s behavior; i.e., how the customer should be treated and what the customer should expect when interacting with the brand.

Referring back to the screwdriver example and the brand promise of a lifetime guarantee, one would expect the brand to replace the tool free of charge if a defect became apparent. But what if the tool was damaged while being used for an unattended purpose? Would the guarantee still apply?

If the brand chooses to honor the guarantee, especially without regard to cause of damage, it sends a strong message to the customer about the value of the relationship. This action also reinforces the quality perception associated with the brand personality. In addition, positive actions by the brand can move a customer along the engagement cycle from support to loyalty and advocacy.

Additional articles you may find of interest on this topic:

The difference between positioning and the brand promise

Defining your brand’s personality

The difference between strategy and tactics

Please leave your comments or thoughts below.

Copyright: inkebeville / 123RF Stock Photo

Why brand reputation matters in large sales

The value of a strong brand reputation plays a critical role in the extended sales process.

The value of a strong brand reputation plays a critical role in the extended sales process.

Brand reputation sells long after the sales call

In the book Spin Selling by Neil Rackman, sales methodology is explored and documented. One of the findings, supported by research, is that in large sales, the selling process is often pushed through the sales funnel by personnel internal to the buyer of the product or service, due to the number of influencers and decision makers that must approve large capital expenditures. During this extended sales cycle, it would be almost impossible for the sales rep to be present for every meeting and address every objection or question that might arise. For that reason, the value of a strong brand reputation plays a critical role in the sales process.

Brand reputation in the digital age

Brand reputation is a soft metric that does not lend itself to the analytics of lead generation or conversion. Yet it may be one of the most powerful sales influencers that a seller has at its disposal. In the digital age where every aspect of a brand can be researched by a purchaser, a sterling reputation for performance, service, and durability provides a blanket of reassurance for the purchaser. In fact, positive brand attributes can elevate the brand from competing on price alone to commanding a premium price because of the intangible and emotional connections that the purchaser establishes with the brand.

Foundation of the brand reputation is delivering on the brand promise

The brand promise is a contract with the customer that they will receive the promised brand experience. The brand experience is the customer’s interaction with the brand at various touchpoints. Examples include website functionality, customer service response, technical assistance, and delivery; even the product packaging can help deliver on the brand promise. When viewed as a whole, each of these elements contributes to the brand reputation.

Outbound and inbound marketing efforts also contribute to the brand reputation. Customer insight gained through traditional or digital channels provides the framework for key messaging which can be used in advertising, promotion, and social marketing.

In large sales, one of the challenges is keeping the prospect in the sales funnel and not having them spin off into in a different direction based on inaccurate information. Therefore, investing in the brand’s reputation keeps a consistent stream of messaging that can counteract competitors’ efforts to sway the purchaser toward their product or service offering.

Additional articles you may find of interest on this topic:

What’s your brand’s reputation worth?

Why Business-to-Business Marketing is Transforming to People-to-People Marketing

Inbound Marketing and the Prospect Pipeline

Please leave your comments or thoughts below.

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Air charter: Defining your brand

Brand differentiation is a process beginning with defining your product and service offering.

Brand differentiation is a process beginning with defining your product and service offering.

On-demand air charter customers seek a better brand experience.

With over 2500 air charter operators in the United States, competition is fierce for acquiring and keeping customers. While the focus of on-demand air travel is safety, security, and productivity, charter operators should not overlook the value of the emotional connection that customers need to establish with their brand.

Determining your point of differentiation

Taking a strategic approach to brand differentiation is a process beginning with defining your product and service offering. For this first step, it’s important to review your assets and how they match up to the market need. Depending upon your footprint — international, national, or regional – this analysis defines the value of your product and service offering.

For example, if your service is mostly used by sportsmen to access fishing and hunting camps, that’s a different value proposition than offering international jet service.

Brand attributes and benefits

Next, list the feature, function and end user benefit of the service offering. Think of this in terms of equipment, pilot experience and training, safety record, ease of doing business, customer satisfaction, and problem/resolution during the charter operation.

Business segments

Analyzing the business segments that your charter service will depend on for paying the bills is also important. For example, on the Gulf Coast, many charter operators rely on the energy sector for shuttling workers to and from offshore drilling platforms. Identifying specific business segments, individual companies, and decision makers and influencers helps to narrow the focus and formulate key messages.

This area also provides the opportunity to gain customer insight based on decision makers’ perception of the service offered, in order to determine the best communication channel to reach the audience with your differentiation messaging.

Brand personality

To borrow a page from consumer package goods marketers, viewing your charter service as a brand helps define its personality, points of differentiation, and key messages. This forms the foundation for your brand promise and the experiences that customers can expect from selecting your on-demand charter service.

Taking a strategic approach to define your brand leads to more efficient marketing, better use of marketing resources, and helps to create an emotional connection with your customers.

Additional articles you may find of interest on this topic:

Finding your voice

Creating the foundation for brand differentiation

Emotional branding requires delivering a memorable experience

Please leave your comments or thoughts below.

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Brand Loyalty and the Art of Motorcycles

Brand promise fulfills emotional needs

Big Bend Bucket List Ride

Visceral experiences create emotional connections to brands.

It was the bucket list ride. 2,200 miles in all, beginning with a ride to Big Bend National Park and culminating with the North Texas Norton Owners Association rally in the Texas hill country. That much seat and think time allows for serious contemplation such as brand loyalty -– how to create it and how to keep it.

User experience drives brand loyalty

Four motorcycle brands were represented on the trip — Yamaha, Honda, Triumph, and Harley Davidson. Each of us being expert riders, we had accessorized our machines to complement our riding preferences and styles. Brand loyalty was evident by the fact that many of the machines were upgrades from previous models, leading to the conclusion that riders select their machines based on previous user experience. When reliability is of the utmost importance, riders select the brand that has never failed to deliver the intended results.

Reliance on performance creates emotion connection with the brand

Big Bend National Park encompasses 801,163 acres, making it the 15th largest national park in the United States. With that much distance to cover, dependability of the machine takes on new meaning. Feature and function is highly relative in brand loyalty, and performance criteria is measured by miles per gallon, rider comfort over long distances, handling characteristics in high wind situations, cargo capacity, and overall emotional connection with the motorcycle at the end of the day.

Brand promise fulfills emotional needs

Motorcycles occupy a special place in the category of fulfilling emotional needs. Novice riders like to think of it as rebellion and non-conformity. Veteran riders are fulfilled by the promise of a new vista at every turn. Regardless of the brand or riding experience, motorcycles put you in the picture and expose all of your five senses to the visceral experiences that come from the riding environment. Individuals that want to experience life, not just view it from behind a windshield, are calculated risk takers attracted to this form of travel.

Brand loyalty makes us advocates

Our group of riders hailed for Europe, Australia, and North America. Our affection and excitement for a particular brand, vintage or new, comes from our user experience with the brand. This experience spans decades and encompasses milestones in a riding resume. Our loyalty is demonstrated by repeat purchases, social events, and interest in all things with two wheels, a seat, and a motor. No matter the industry, marketers that study this curious group can learn valuable lessons from those drawn to the open road and the anticipation of exploring new vistas that are just around the next corner.

Click here for more trip pictures

Additional articles you may find of interest on this topic:

Differentiating your brand from the competition

Investing in your brand perception

Creating the foundation for brand differentiation

Please leave your comments or thoughts below.

Aviation Marketing: Investing in your brand perception

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As your brand in perceived so is your company.

In the aviation industry, brands fall into three categories – innovators, challengers and laggards. Innovative brands take calculated risk; they think big, invest smartly and understand the power of marketing. Challenger brands are smart and agile they rely on new technology and materials to disrupt traditional business models. Laggards, well are laggards. Laggard brands practice “Random Acts of Marketing” a term my colleague Paula Willliams uses to describe marketing tactics without strategy.

Where does your brand stand in the food chain?

At a recent tradeshow I attended all three types of brands were present. The aviation industry for all of its engineering innovation is really a marketing challenged bunch.

This conclusion is drawn from conversation with executive management. When questioned about their biggest marketing challenge the responses went something like this:

“We don’t have any, everybody know us and we know them”

“Were challenged by the state of the industry not by our marketing efforts”

“All of our business comes from the MRO’s we can’t make any headway with the OEM’s.

“There is no definition of quality because all it all has to meet specification”

Statements like this lead me to the conclusion that a lot companies serving the aviation industry treat branding as an after thought. Most will agree that establishing a brand is important. However, evidence points to a lack of understanding of how to keep the brand vibrant and relative in the age of digital inbound marketing strategy and tactics.  Relying on what they are comfortable with the companies plug along doing the same thing and getting the same results while all the time becoming more frustrated with their place in the food chain.

Changing your brand perception

To move up the food chain and command a higher price for products and services rendered requires knowing what the customer considers important. Most aviation components and systems have to meet an engineering specification. Therefore the value-add becomes what does your brand provide that the competition doesn’t?

Identifying the differentiating factors and incorporating them into the brand story defines the brand promise. The brand promise is what helps create the emotional connection to the brand. Customers that select the brand have a sense of familiarity, providing them with peace-of-mind. The emotional connection also extends the reach of the brand. Knowing what the customer’s expectations are provides content for brand engagement through social marketing and owned media channels.

Additional article on this topic you may find of interest.

The difference between positioning and the brand promise

Finding your voice

Defining your brand’s personality

Why aviation marketers struggle with digital marketing integration

Please leave your comments or thoughts below.

Aviation Marketing: Social marketing begins with the correct strategy

Scoal Marketing Strategy Labyrinth

Social marketing can build relationships during the extended sales cycle.

Today, a few innovative aviation marketers are using social marketing to extend the engagement with key constituents during the sales cycle. Relationship driven, people-to-people marketing is generating brand awareness, highlighting thought leadership, and humanizing the brand.

Why is the correct social marketing strategy important?

Because 90% of buyers start their search for an aviation product or service via a search engine, not a company website, it is imperative that marketers understand to whom they are selling and where they congregate.

In addition, social marketing has a lot of moving parts. Marketers are simultaneously engaging new customers, nurturing those further along in the sales cycle, and rewarding those that have purchased and are now brand advocates.

Creating relevant content that focuses on the purchaser’s corporate pain points requires multiple campaigns based on the sales cycle. Depending on whether the audience is an influencer or purchaser, content needs to be developed for each, addressing their concerns.

How to extend the engagement

The biggest mistake marketers make is not paying attention to the landing page. Simply making an offer for authoritative information and then linking to the corporate website is a sure fire way to end interest and engagement. Marketers should create specific landing pages for each offer, reinforcing the offer and asking the viewer to share a modest amount of information in return for the desired content.

In essence, the landing page becomes the face of the brand, delivering on the brand promise.

Different audiences, different addresses

Through social marketing listening, marketers can determine where their audiences spend most of their time and where they are likely to make the purchasing decision. Younger engineers may spend their time on Facebook checking out events at an upcoming trade show, while senior executives may be more inclined to peruse a pay-per-click link on LinkedIn.

Social media channels should be tested to determine which will be the most effective and return the best results.

Segment but don’t alienate

Different social media channels offer different ways to segment their audiences. LinkedIn, for example, allows companies to target demographics by location, job title, age and gender. While this is important, don’t alienate those that  see themselves as future key decision makers. Allow this group to participate by signing up for news updates or special invitations for future events.

Photo CC BY Flickr, photo credit Fdecomite