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Brand Promise

Articulating The Brand Promise


Brand Strategy Brand Promise

I was talking with a business associate of mine today. She is working with an organization that has grown from a start-up to a company with more than 1,000 employees.  The organization produces high quality products and is growing rapidly however to the CEO’s credit, he is noticing chinks in the company’s armor, chinks that are due to organization growth and size. In the past, he managed the organization by selecting the right people and modeling the right set of values, attitudes and behaviors. Business growth was the result of intuition, trial and error and agility. But now the company is starting to experience unacceptable employee turnover in its manufacturing plants (among other issues). The company has not formally articulated its mission, vision or values. It has not crafted a brand promise and it does not have an elevator speech. Employees on the plant floor are not quite sure what the organization’s broader mission is. They don’t know how what they do contributes to some larger vision. For them, it is a job.

But aren’t missions, visions and values and brand promises and elevator speeches just collections of words? Yes they are. But they are a strategic collection of words that create a shared vision, motivate people to a higher calling, and rally them around what they need to do for the organization to succeed. Words can be very powerful. Leaders have inspired revolutions with their speeches and they have gotten their followers to take on seemingly impossible tasks successfully.

When we conduct mission, vision and values workshops or brand positioning workshops, they not only lead to a set of inspiring words, but they also achieve leadership team consensus on advantageous business models and strategies. It is a way to rally the troops starting at the very top of the organization. The larger the organization is, the more important this becomes. Many entrepreneurs do not realize how important it is to put these sorts of things in place when their organizations reach a certain size in which they can no longer personally interact with every employee on a regular basis. If you lead a rapidly growing organization that has not yet established its mission, vision, values or brand promise, know that at some point in the future it will be important to do so to enable further growth and success.

Sponsored ByThe Brand Positioning Workshop, the Brand Storytelling Workshop Series and Brand Strategy and Customer Co-Creation Workshops

Branding Strategy Insider is a service of The Blake Project: A strategic brand consultancy specializing in Brand Research, Brand Strategy, Brand Licensing and Brand Education

FREE Publications And Resources For Marketers

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Brand Promise

Keeping Brand Promises


Brand Promise TOMS

In The Blake Project’s line of work (brand consulting) we spend most of our time helping organizations identify and develop the most advantageous brand strategies and brand promises. But of equal, and perhaps greater, importance is consistently delivering on those strategies and promises over time. Communicating the brand promise is one thing. Delivering on it is yet another. Communication of the promise is relatively easy. Develop a creative brief, create a marketing plan, retain a marketing agency, develop the creative and the campaign and the media plan and begin to communicate the message to the marketplace. This can all be accomplished within the marketing or communications function itself.

The difficult part is aligning the organization in support of the brand promise. Consider what might be a part of this. The brand promise might have implications for employee recruitment and training, performance metrics, organization design, internal systems, processes and procedures, customer feedback loops, investment and budgeting decisions, recognition and reward systems, product and service features, quality standards, customer service design…and the list could go on and on.

This implies that internal communication and training regarding the brand strategy and promise is critical to the organization’s success. Everyone must understand what the brand is promising. Further, it would be advantageous for everyone to understand why that particular brand strategy and promise was chosen. Next, each person, from the CEO and members of the leadership team to salespeople and receptionists must understand what he or she can personally do to deliver against the promise. This certainly implies the need for communication and training but also for discussion, dialog, personal commitments and tough decisions.

So when you develop a new brand strategy and promise, understand to what you are committing your organization. Developing plans to align the organization in support of that new strategy and promise is essential.

The only thing worse than not making a unique and compelling brand promise is making one but then failing in delivering against it.

Sponsored ByThe Brand Positioning Workshop

Branding Strategy Insider is a service of The Blake Project: A strategic brand consultancy specializing in Brand Research, Brand Strategy, Brand Licensing and Brand Education

FREE Publications And Resources For Marketers

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Brand Management

Brand Management Today


Brand Strategy Nike

I mentioned previously that branding goes as far back as recorded history. However, in the modern era, outside of brand identity development, branding activities were largely confined to consumer packaged goods companies such as General Mills, Kraft Foods, Nestle, P&G and Unilever. Then, in the mid-to-late 1990s, companies began to realize that their corporate brands were assets of great value that needed to be managed and leveraged. This is when companies started creating brand management positions at senior, and sometimes even corporate officer levels in the their organizations. I was the beneficiary of this movement at Hallmark Cards, when I was named Hallmark’s brand czar (not my real title).

Since that time, municipalities, universities, museums, professional trade associations, sports teams, churches and even individuals have gotten into the branding act. Talk of brands and brand positioning has become ubiquitous within our society.

Today, when we are asked to facilitate brand positioning workshops for organizations, the workshop participants are almost always the organization’s CEO and his or her staff, not the marketing department (although they participate). Further, increasingly, we are asked to facilitate a mission, vision, values workshop for the company just prior to the brand positioning workshop because the two activities are closely linked for organization brands. I have also written about the need to touch organization-wide communication, training and development, organization design, recruiting, performance appraisal, budgeting, capital investments, customer service design and other functions as a way to ensure that the organization delivers on the promises that it makes. These activities are clearly outside of the scope of a typical chief marketing officer’s role and responsibilities.

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Brand Strategy

7 Keys To Ingredient Brand Success


Ingredient Brand Strategy

An ingredient brand is a well-known brand with well-known qualities that is included as a component or feature of another brand or product to enhance perceptions and the marketability of that brand or product. The ingredient brand calls out unique features or performance and is often used to increase the acceptance of a product or brand that is using a new technology identified by the ingredient brand.

Following are some examples of ingredient brands:

  • Android
  • Bluetooth
  • Cinnabon
  • Dolby Digital
  • Plus a touch of Downy
  • Gore-Tex
  • HEMI (Dodge)
  • Hybrid Synergy Drive
  • Intel Inside
  • NutraSweet
  • OnStar
  • Splenda
  • Stainmaster
  • Contains Scotchgard Protector 3M
  • Shimano
  • (Dupont) Teflon

So, what leads to successful ingredient branding?

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Place Branding

Evaluating City Mottos, Taglines And Slogans


Place Branding Strategy

For years, I have lamented the lack of marketing savvy used in developing city and town mottos, taglines and slogans. A very small portion of these are effective in highlighting their municipalities’ unique value propositions. Most sound good but say nothing. Some actually make you want to stay away. Others are just downright inane. Here are a sampling of municipality mottos, taglines and slogans – the good, the bad and the ugly.

Effective (they allude to a unique quality or benefit):

  • Las Vegas: “What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas”
  • New York, N.Y.: “The City That Never Sleeps”
  • Hershey, Pa.: “The Sweetest Place on Earth”
  • Austin, Texas: “Keep Austin Weird”
  • Eagle Pass, Texas: “Where Yee-Hah! meets Ole!”
  • Cleveland, OH: “Cleveland Rocks!”
  • Santa Fe, NM: “The City Different”
  • Jim Thorpe, PA: “The Switzerland of America”
  • Coachella, CA: “City of eternal sunshine”
  • Nashville, TN: “The Music City”
  • Belleview, WA: “City in a Park”
  • Rockland, ME: “Lobster Capital of the World”


  • Freeland, PA: “The most happening place on Earth”
  • Madisonville, KY: “The best town on Earth”
  • Glendive, MT: “Where the best begins”
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