Your Brand Is Meant to Answer a Question

2013-12-24 15.35.15 So many people are concerned with how to brand, what branding means to their business, whether they should brand at all, and more. Friends of mine are branding experts, have written books about the topic. I’ve written on it before, mostly from the perspective of personal branding. I was thinking about this today and wanted to share a perspective: your brand is meant to answer a question.

What Do You Do For Me?

Apple means what to you? Elegance? Design? What does it do for you? Most people like Apple because it “just works.” What car did you choose? What does it say about you? What does it do for you?

The question of branding isn’t all that complicated. Answer it however you believe you can best serve the people of your community. But it’s the next part that’s difficult.

How Do You Deliver on the Promise of Your Brand?

But the DELIVERY of the PROMISE of your brand is everything. Which airline do you like? Any of them? I like Virgin American, and I like JetBlue. I like Porter. That’s about it. Why? Because the other brands failed to deliver on the basics, let alone their promise. I can think of brands that I love because they are 100% tied to their promise. My Chevy Camaro is a powerful muscle car. That’s the promise. It delivers. My Moto X phone is geeky Android goodness and has a long battery life. (The promise with the Moto X is that you can customize it to be all about you. Fine by me, but I don’t care about that.)

So first, you have to answer the question. Then, you have to deliver on whatever you answered.

The promise of Owner magazine is that we improve your business by growing your capabilities and connections. Said simpler, “Business is personal.” That’s what I’ve created to be the promise behind that brand. To deliver on it, I will work every day to find ways to empower and enrich the community who gathers around the magazine.

So turn this on you and your business: what do you do for your buyers? And do you deliver on that promise? That’s the work of branding, in my not at all humble opinion. What say you? runs on the Genesis Framework

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  • Holly McIlwain

    Absolutely! It is the delivery of the promise of the brand that counts. The service we provide is the best in our local city. We tell them it is, then we show them it is, then we ask them if it was and ask them to remind their friends and neighbors. After 10 years the customer referrals are awesome. Great post, Chris. Thanks Y’all.

    • Chris Brogan

      That’s great, Holly. Happy to hear it. Nice that you’re known for that. : )

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  • Brent Applegate

    Encouraging post! Too often brand discussions quickly devolve into intangible attributes. I like the focus on what the brand does and whether it lives up to its promises.

    • Chris Brogan

      Just seems easier that way, doesn’t it? : )

  • Brody Harper

    Good words man.

    • Chris Brogan

      Well thanks, Brody. : )

  • Ryan Biddulph

    Memorable brands follow through on their promises. Love the message Chris. If you do what you say you are going to do, you will rock it out.

    • Chris Brogan

      That’s the hope, at least. : )

  • djgraffiti

    From that perspective branding sounds like the foundation that a value proposition is built on.

    • Chris Brogan

      Why skip a step. : )

  • Bill King™

    Great post, had to share it as well! A lot of the distrust and disdain for marketers has been our inability to follow through on the promise. Making remarkable content/offers is one thing, but delighting those customers to turn them into evangelists is what only the great marketers are doing. Thanks for sharing Chris!

    • Chris Brogan

      Well, if you HAD to share it, okay. : )

      • Bill King™

        Just shared it with a client yesterday and they loved it. I’m going to be attending the Boston Digital Marketer meetup next week, looking forward to meeting you!

  • Lucy Chen

    Em… I really have to think about it, from what does my brand promise…

    • Chris Brogan

      Yours is tied very closely to the emotions your work evokes.

      • Lucy Chen

        Yes, and sometimes one work evokes different emotions in different people.

  • Ruben Ricart

    Loved the article! straight to the point and the title you chose really helps kick the gears in motion in thinking about brands and brand purpose. For me, as you said above the promise is the key. Going that extra mile also helps increase brand awareness, people talk about what they like, this is also key! Thanks for sharing Chris.

    • Chris Brogan

      Well thanks, Ruben. Very happy to hear it was useful. : )

  • Ruby Deubry

    I’m new to branding but it’s something I think about a lot. Before I do anything, I always think “Is this in alignment with my product’s brand?”. Asking that helps me navigate through the endless possibilities. The thought of a brand as a promise now adds a sense of commitment and responsibility. Thanks for the ‘Aha!’ moment, Chris.

    • Chris Brogan

      A great question to ask, Ruby. And thanks for being here. : )

  • jonmikelbailey

    Who is that in the pic with you? She looks very familiar.

  • Chiara@LuxBahamas

    This article extremely helpful. For people new to branding, it’s easy to mistakenly frame a brand’s goals in terms of what the brand must accomplish, rather than what it can offer to consumers. This causes the brand to lose connection with customers. This article simplifies an idea that I feel many misunderstand and/or overlook!

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  • Renee Fishman

    Here’s how I define Brand: At the end of the day, your brand is what your customers say you are. As a business owner, I know what I want my brand to be, and I work hard to be that brand. It’s in how I engage and interact and treat my clients. If my clients define my brand in the way that I define it, then my brand is in alignment. If they say it’s something different, then I’m not in alignment. If you want to know what your brand is, ask the only “expert” who matters: your clients/customers.

  • pallavi bali

    Very helpful! the points which you have written in the article is what i personally feel :)

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  • Alexandra Petean-Nicola

    Delivering on the promise is the hard part but some companies find it hard to determine what is the promise they make to their buyers. They don’t see it. That’s the main reason they don’t keep that promise. They don’t realise they made it.

  • Milos

    In today’s world of short attention spans and instant gratification brands need to go beyond answering a particular question (or even a series of questions). They actually need to provide a full experience embodying that answer which differentiates them from competitors and attracts new (and even more importantly) repeat customers. As always, very insightful.

  • Rabbi Mitterhoff

    Excellent point! Serve the community and live up to what you are offering.

  • Kevin

    I think my hardest parts have been understanding that some of the people I made my brand for are not interested in my product.

  • Kay Wilson

    Great article, Chris, I wear my brand, tshirts & button(best tool ever) says I’m a Personal Wellness Coach, so a walk thru the mall or grocery store is “doin business”. Without something that says my brand, my door to my business is closed!

  • Sharon Dujon

    This article has broken down for me a concepts I have struggled with for years!! Thanks for sharing in such basic terms…I got it!

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