This week Singapore Telco Singtel announces the launch of a new logo. The new logo is part of a re-branding exercise, which includes a new Brand Promise:
Let’s make everyday better
According to their CEO, the re-branding exercise was launched to counter unhappy customers, with some even calling the telco ‘Stinktel’ to highlight their unhappiness over poor customer service. The new Brand Promise promises better service and more caring attention to the little things that conveys to the customer that Singtel cares.
Readers can read the details of the change in this article: https://sg.news.yahoo.com/singtel-just-unveiled-logo-looks-023544688.html
What however intrigues me is the use of the term ‘Brand Promise’ instead of ‘Branding’. And if Singtel is truly intent on fulfilling a Brand Promise rather than just build brand equity or create brand awareness, I applaud them. From the view of a business coach, Brand Promises are one of the most important ways to build raving fans and loyal customers. It is one of the first few things I help my clients build to gain a strategic advantage over their competitors.
So What is a Brand Promise?
It is a promise – A promise meant to be kept. Every time a transaction takes place, it is an exchange of money for the promise of something. That ‘something’ is expected. In today’s world. where transactions go beyond the simple barter trade, what we implicitly promise in the transaction involves the tangible product you sell, and the experience that comes from dealing with you, as well as the experience of using your product after the transaction. It does not end when the service concludes or when the product is consumed. People blog and write about their experience long after they finish their deal with you.
While Branding gives association and awareness, a Brand Promise is a bond that is established firmly between you and the customer. It is a bond that you must honor. It is a commitment that your brand, representing your company and all who are associated with it, will deliver what was paid for in both tangible and intangible ways.
For example, one of the premier airlines I take for business trips and the rare holiday messed up its luggage loading badly during a family vacation. More than fifty people did not get their luggage. While the flight was great e.g. flying comfort, food, cabin crew service, the way they handled the troubled customers was horrendous! They simply did not care. Emails took as long as a month to get a reply. Compensation was paltry for the inconvenience caused. And the worst experience I had was to deal with the automated, templated email replies to queries. By the end of the experience, I could memorize their standard reply word for word. It was as though this award winning airline is run by robots!
They wanted very much to tell me they DID NOT CARE! Remember, a contract with the customer is no longer restricted to the moment the product is consumed or the service is used. The whole experience, including post-service, is equally important!
While this airline has great branding involving winning several awards and international rankings, it broke its Brand Promise. Period. I’m not impressed with its ranking when I’ve discovered they don’t care at all when they made a mistake that affected me. I’m not expecting perfect service; things happen especially when transporting a few hundred people. But a broken promise, even if its an intangible one, is something never forgotten. In fact, it is the intangible promises that are more critical than the tangible ones. A Brand Promise, whether official or not, is equally real to the customer. And it left a sour taste in me for a long time as a customer.
Every Company Needs to Formulate and Track its Brand Promise
Your Brand Promise, whether you have strategically worked out one or not, is taken seriously by your customers. Even if you do not have one, your customers expects it. If you don’t have one, they will create one for you. When you have a Brand Promise that works, it will give you tremendous advantage because it essentially becomes an emotional bond tying your customer to you every time the Brand Promise is kept. And when you have one, you can strategically manage it and use it to your advantage.
Creating a Brand Promise
From the customer’s perspective, they demand it whether you have it or not. A Brand Promise can therefore be a strategic, calculated move to win you loyal customers.
How do we create a Brand Promise? Firstly, do you know your WHO? You need to define your Core Customer, and the clearer you can articulate your Core Customer, the better.
Who is your Core Customer? Is your business, and your Brand Promise targeting a want, a need or a fear? What is your customer really buying from you? For the case of Singtel’s customers, are they buying a phone and a line or are they buying convenience, lifestyle, status and connection with friends and family?
Next will be to break down the Brand Promise into supporting metrics and KPIs. This step is extremely important, because it tells you whether your company is delivering on its Brand Promise or not. In developing metrics, keep it to a few critical ones. As a rule of thumb, your metrics for Brand Promises should focus on a few areas ONLY:
Productivity, frequency and customer satisfaction are common ways to set the Brand Promise KPIs on.
Too many and you lose track of what is important. In my course of work, I notice some companies love to have complex metrics – too complicated to tell them what is really happening!
When setting Brand Promise KPIs – KISS (Keep it short and sweet)
And the presence of KPIs and measurables will differentiate your Brand Promise from a slogan. Slogans are meaningless, but Brand Promises are powerful. They are powerful because they are promises, and a promise kept is a bond made between the buyer and the seller. You want to establish more of such bonds and strengthen them, because it is always easier to sell to your fan than to a stranger.
I am excited to see businesses move from using Branding to win customers to using a Brand Promise. As a customer, I am most definitely thrilled when a promise is fulfilled.
I applaud Singtel in their move from branding towards Brand Promises. I look forward to the day when more companies build great brand promises.
And if you want to know how to build a great Brand Promise to take your business further, help is just an email away!