Does Your Brand Promise Enough?

Branding is a topic that comes up regular in coaching conversations. Many people who make it to the position of CEO / MD haven’t necessarily worked in the marketing department before and had the opportunity to think more deeply about what branding means to them in how they plan to lead their enterprise forward.

Naming a new business, product or service is a common topic people bring to coaching sessions. In a previous article, entitled “What’s in a Brand Name?” I discussed the four common approaches to naming things.

I have also encountered CEOs who have inherited brands that were broken: “We know our brand name is wrong. We’ve hired an agency three times to try and fix it – but failed…”

Furthermore, branding conversations can be highly charged, impassioned debates when it comes to mergers and acquisitions, as people grapple with the inevitable changes to their corporate identity.

In this article, I want to explore three aspects of branding to help you deepen your own thinking about the nature and importance of branding when it comes to building a great company:

  1. Your brand is a promise
  2. Your brand is a relationship
  3. Your brand is your culture

1. Your Brand Is A Promise: What if we just told the truth in advertising?

A brand has a story – who are you telling what?

In the movie Crazy People, Dudley Moore was an advertising executive who dared ask the question “What if we just told the truth in advertising?”.

A brand is a promise. In order to ensure they satisfy their customers, some people adopt an under promise and over deliver philosophy.

The Problem with Under Promising & Over Delivering

According to Rick Barrera, the author of Overpromise and Overdeliver, this old cliché in business is a one-way ticket to oblivion! If you want to achieve extreme success for your business, you must reach for the extraordinary.

Check out this 10 minute video of Rick explaining his concept in more detail.

Rick encourages managers to develop a powerful, differentiated, brand promise that differentiates their businesses from their competitors and introduces the idea of aligning touch points across your:

  • Products
  • Systems
  • People

Reading Rick’s book Overpromise and Overdeliver helped me understand that a brand is not a single promise – rather it is multiple promises. I was inspired to create “Committed To Your Success – The 12 dimensions of excellence at nLIVEn”:

  1. Punctuality
  2. Confidentiality
  3. Objectivity
  4. Transparency
  5. Integrity
  6. Consistency
  7. Predictability
  8. Preparation
  9. Simplicity
  10. Flexibility
  11. Reliability
  12. Customised

You can learn more about what each of these dimensions mean at:

Collectively, these brand promises allow nLIVEn to fulfil, support, reflect and amplify our core brand promise, which is pathways to prosperity.

2. Your Brand Is A Relationship

In May 2016, Mark Bonchek and Cara France published an article entitled Build Your Brand As A Relationship for HBR.

“The way we think about brands need to change. In the past, they were objects or concepts. You had a relationship with a brand. But in this social age, brands are the relationships. By defining a brand’s particular kind of relationship, companies can create greater engagement, differentiation, and loyalty.

Learn more at:

3. Your Brand Is Your Culture

“The new “power couple” inside the best companies, …an iron-clad partnership between marketing leadership and HR leadership…” concluded Bill Taylor in a September 2010 article for HBR.

Your brand is your culture, your culture is your brand.

Learn more at:


Video: Introduction to “Over Promise and Over Deliver by Rick Barrera
Book: Overpromise and Overdeliver
Information: nLIVEn’s 12 Brand Promises
Service: Live The Brand
HBR Article: Brand Is Culture, Culture Is Brand

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