Brand Promise – A Critical Factor in Your B2B Marketing Success

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.


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:

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  • Lockheed Martin: We never forget who we are working for.
  • UPS: What can Brown do for you?
  • Ernst & Young: Building a better working world.
  • Exxon: Energy Lives Here
  • 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: Be More Human
  • GE: Imagination at Work
  • Campbell’s Soup: Made for real, real life
  • FedEx: The World on Time
  • Home Depot: More Saving. More Doing
  • 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. Ready to position your company for greatness? Request your 25 point analysis of your current brand strengths and gaps – plus an action plan to help your brand and company achieve competitive advantage. There are several other events coming up about B2B marketing so feel free to join us.

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  • John Leavy September 14, 2010   Reply →


    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

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