Brand Promise – A Critical Factor in Your B2B Marketing Success by Christopher Ryan

b2b brand promiseLast week, I had the opportunity to present at a webinar titled Creating a Compelling Brand Promise. Thought I would share a couple of the highlights of this event, which was put on by my company, Fusion Marketing Partners

We first defined the terms “brand” and “brand promise”.  A Brand = the place your company occupies in a prospect’s or customer’s mind when he or she thinks about you.  A Brand Promise = what you promise to deliver to your customers when they do business with you.  Your job is to make your brand and brand promise the same thing.

In case you ever underestimate how important this is, here are seven things a strong brand promise can accomplish in B2B marketing:

  1. Explains what you do
  2. Articulates the “primary” customer benefit
  3. Establishes credibility
  4. Creates an emotional connection
  5. Invokes curiosity
  6. Motivates action
  7. Guarantees your place in heaven (just kidding on this one)

I shared some examples of what I considered weak and strong brand promises.  First the weak:

Lockheed Martin: We never forget who we are working for.

UPS: What can Brown do for you?

Ernst & Young: Quality in everything we do.

Microsoft: Life without walls

Exxon: We’re Exxon (really!)

FileMaker Software: What’s Your Problem?

These companies are so large they can get away with lousy branding. But most of us don’t have this luxury.  We have to do a good job of creating a value proposition that gives us competitive advantage.   

Now let’s look at what I consider companies who have very strong and enduring branding promises.

Reebok: No matter what the situation, Reebok has the sneakers, apparel and gear to fit your needs.

GE: We bring good things to life.

Campbell’s Soup: Nourishing people’s lives everywhere, every day.

FedEx: When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.

Home Depot: You can do it, we can help

O’Douls : What beer drinkers drink when they’re not drinking beer.

BMW: The ultimate driving machine

I’m sure you can come up with your own list of good and bad brand statements. But the most important thing you can do is to make sure you have a compelling and differentiated brand.  If you want to listen to the replay of our webinar, you can find it here.  There are several other events coming up about B2B Marketing so feel free to join us.

Follow me

Christopher Ryan

Christopher Ryan has 25 years of marketing, technology, and senior management experience. As both a marketing executive and services provider, Chris has created and executed numerous programs that build market awareness, drive lead generation and increase revenue.
Follow me

You may also like

3 comments

  • John Leavy September 14, 2010   Reply →

    Chris,

    I had the chance to sit in on your brand promise webinar; you shared lots of good information. At times we bump into companies that struggle with differentiating themselves because they think they’ll leave out some prospects. They end up branding themselves for everyone…not a good decision. Thanks. I’ll be listening to the next webinar.

  • Maria Ross September 21, 2010   Reply →

    Glad to see B2B finally getting on the brand bandwagon, after years banging my head against the wall in Silicon Valley. To put it plaintly, good branding earns you the right to send that email, call that decision maker or be in their mailbox. It provides the “air cover” a b2b player needs for their more tactical lead gen efforts to be successful.

    However, as a branding consulting with my own firm now, I must point out that a tagline does not a brand make. You are using taglines as examples of brands: a tagline is merely one of many verbal ways to express a brand. Brand is more fundamental than that and as you say it’s the promise you make to customers and what value you deliver. It is expressed not only verbally (through taglines, ad copy or elevator pitches) but visually (logo, design, colors) and experientially (the most important part: do you walk your talk when doing business?).

    To judge a brand by merely the tagline is like judging a person by one sock. There is a larger picture. A company may very well have a great brand and brand strategy – and just a really lousy tagline!

    • cryan September 24, 2010   Reply →

      Maria, I agree with your points, but just to clarify – I do not think the tagline is used to convey the brand. The brand is what you described. What the tagline is used to convey is the “brand promise” not the “brand. This may seem a subtle distinction, but it is an important one. I firmly believe that customers and prospects are the true owners of the brand, while the company owns the brand promise. Hope this helps.

      Chris Ryan

Leave a comment