Why Your Brand Promise Must Be Specific

Brand and Brand PromiseIn my book, articles and presentations, I often talk about the importance of a specific, compelling and differentiated Brand Promise to achieve success in B2B marketing and sales.  And although it is a B2C example, I think the following illustrates the point perfectly.   

It is almost guaranteed if you spend any time on Colorado highways you will experience one or more windshield chips. And if you don’t have them repaired, they can sometimes expand to massive cracks, and then you need a new windshield.  Last Sunday, while driving home from a fantastic hike in the foothills (what non-Coloradans would call mountains), I received such a chip.  Okay, time to get it fixed.  Since I don’t have a favorite chip repairer, I did what you would expect and googled the term: “windshield chip repair Colorado Springs.”  The results came back in three general categories:

  1. General automotive services companies that also happen to do chip repair.
  2. Windshield replacement and repair companies.
  3. Windshield chip and crack repair companies.

This is a good example of broad, medium and narrow branding.  I chose a company from category 3 called Bob’s Windshield Repair.  Their brand promise: “We come to you to fix chips, dings and cracks up to 14 inches in length.”  Simple, direct and exactly what I was looking for. It also helped that the company was in the first page of search rankings and the site linked to an article about the company where the owner (Bob of course) talked about how he had repaired over 5,000 windshields in just three years.  Obviously, in this case, there is good money in being specific.

If you are a small company competing with industry giants, niche marketing may be your only path to success.  In a hypothetical B2B marketing example, your branding (moving from broad to narrow) can be designed to appeal to 1. Buyers of general business productivity software.  2. Buyers of business accounting software.  3. Buyers of retail accounting software.  If your prospects are retailers, which of the three brand promises are going to have the most appeal? Most often, it will be the one that is most specific to their needs.

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However (and this is an important point), keep in mind that when you define your brand narrowly, you not only define what you are but you define everything you are not.  This means that you will not attract anyone who is not in your market niche.  Most of the time this is a good thing because you can achieve much higher close rates and shorten the sales cycle by being more specific.  But to make this work, you must be targeting a market that is large enough to support your value proposition.

The formula for success in B2B marketing is not easy, but it is simple.  First, pick a brand promise that articulates a unique and compelling value proposition (also known as unique selling proposition).  Second, rank high in the Google and other search terms for your chosen niche.  Third, present a powerful offer that gives prospects a reason to engage with you right now.

We have a white paper that goes into the subject of branding an positioning in much greater detail – Branding Paper.

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One comment

  • Tina April 13, 2010   Reply →

    This is a great article about understanding and choosing the right brand promise which should be simple and direct. Along with an unique brand promise, this article reminds us that both ranking high in the Google search and presenting unique offerings are also very important. Something I think many companies forget!

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