Let’s just say your company has a superior product or service, a nice logo and a lot of smart, dedicated employees. Sounds like a great branding story is about to unfold. But maybe not.
One of the most common problems that our branding + advertising firm encounters is a brand that doesn’t stand for anything, nor aggressively promise anything to its potential audience. It’s just a name and logo. In short, we often find brand messaging either “wobbling” all over the place or mired in a sea of general platitudes—meaningless generic claims like “quality provider” or “one of the country’s leaders.”
The development of what is commonly called a tagline (and which we prefer to call a brand promise) is an important key to brand success. Why? Because the process of developing a brand promise requires a clear understanding of the brand’s position and what it stands for—to both internal and external audiences. The process starts with a clear-cut communication strategy to provide the proper guidance. Even then, the development of the right brand promise is no easy task. It must meet several important tests:
- Is it a succinct expression of the brand’s strategic main idea? Avoid the pitfall of wandering off the main idea simply because something sounds clever.
- Is it memorable?
- Is it easy to restate in conversation? Can you see yourself repeating it comfortably in a cocktail party conversation?
- Is it sustainable beyond your company’s immediate goals?
- Can your staff live it on a daily basis?
In this development process, don’t fall into the common trap of adopting a brand promise because it sounds cool or edgy. “Edgy” and “cool” won’t cut it if the line doesn’t communicate the brand’s central idea. Stay focused on the strategic requirement.
Did GE executives once think “We bring good things to life” was cool? Probably not. But it was strategically right. And because it was so well integrated into the brand, it became cool as a result. The ultimate test of a solid brand promise is not what sounds cool today…but what will become cool as you make it your own, over time.