What Promise Are You Keeping?

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In my book, Branding for Bloggers, I quote Kristin Zhivago when she wrote:

“Branding are the promises that you make. Your brand is the promises you keep.”

So what promises are you keeping? Is there a disconnect between what your marketing and advertising is telling people, and what they are actually experiencing when they decide to become a customer?

If so, watch out. Because people will eventually know you by what you do, not by what you say.

Your brand is the promises you keep. It’s in your control, but it’s not just how you market yourself. As marketers, we need to take a more active role in all facets of the organization so as to ensure that the promises we make are kept. If anything, we want to exceed those promises in the quality of our product and the way that we treat our customers.

As an example, let’s consider the for-profit school industry. Over the last several years, many large schools have taken a beating from regulators and the press for “over-promising”. Their marketing makes claims that they cannot keep. They promise students certain results and then get in trouble because they can’t deliver. And the damage a few companies have caused have affected the entire industry.

Of course as marketers we want to be able to make claims about how terrific and life changing our products and services are. But we need to be extra careful to make sure we can back up those claims. Otherwise, your brand will suffer.

How to Lose Respect and Alienate Customers

Want to lose your customers’ respect, refund lots of purchases, gain a negative reputation on blogs and social networks? It’s easy to do, a lot easier than you might think.

Here’s how: Don’t keep your promises.

The disconnect between marketing and every other division within your organization needs to stop. And it needs to stop yesterday.

Marketers have a job to do, drive sales. Whatever you’re responsibility is, whether it’s brand building, email, lead generation, website design, etc., the end goal is driving sales. You’re only as good as the business you bring in.

Because that is the case, marketers tend to over-promise. We make claims that our company does not support. We lie.

But in today’s world, those lies will come back to hurt your business in a bigger way than before. Negative reviews spread like wildfire. Unhappy customers are handed megaphones.

The rest of your company needs to know what marketing is saying, and marketing needs to know what the rest of the company is actually doing. When both sides are on the same page, sales will lead to happy/satisfied customers who will help you market your company instead of inhibit it.