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Keeping Your Brand Promise Matters

When it comes to branding, nothing sums it up better than this quote by Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, "Your Brand is what people say about you when you're not in the room". In the most simplistic explanation, brands are the PROMISES that marketers make about their product or service to their most important target consumers. How consistently a brand delivers against their promises has a lot to do with the level of trust, and the emotions that consumers have about that brand, and, ultimately how loyal they are to that brand. How a brand makes it's consumers FEEL makes the ultimate difference in the level of loyalty. Whether it is delivering on quality, the manifestation of the functional benefit, the level of customer service delivered, or the engaging storytelling the brand uses to communicate with it's target consumers ... relevance and consistency is key. When brands consistently deliver their promises, consumers talk about them in a positive light ... and when they don't, they talk about them in a negative light. Just think about what you have had to say recently about brands you interact with the most.

One of the brands I love the most is Lexus. To me, the promise that Lexus makes is a smooth, stylish, and luxurious ride for a reasonable price ... a pleasant "escape" of sorts ... coupled with a dealer network that consistently delivers the highest quality of personalized service and always makes me feel great about bringing my car in for service. This combination is one that I have grown to trust and admire a lot, and one of the reasons I've always said I will never buy anything but a Lexus.

Recently, this trust was almost broken! The door lock system on my Lexus ES 350 was malfunctioning so I promptly took it to my local dealer for repair. They explained to me that my Lexus was beyond the manufacturer's warranty and there would be a sizable charge to return the door lock system to proper operating order. This news was not well received by me and I politely pushed back and reminded the management of the dealership of how many vehicles I had purchased from them, and the amount of money I had spent with them on service over the years ... basically, how loyal I have been to both them and Lexus. I had already started writing the "nasty tweet" in my head and would have posted it had the dealer broken my trust in them. The good news is they listened! They agreed to ask Lexus to pay for the repair even though the vehicle was out of manufacturer's warranty period. They explained that they would fight for me but it might take a day or two to get Lexus to approve the repair. They then proceeded to put me in a nice, upgraded loaner vehicle for the weekend while they sorted things out with Lexus. Lexus ultimately agreed to cover the cost of the repair! I'm happy to report that my trust in the Lexus brand and their dealer has not been broken, and my loyalty is stronger than ever. This is exemplified in the tweet below.

"So thankful to @Lexus and @NalleyLesuxRos for taking the right action to maintain my trust and reinforce my loyalty to their brands! #satisfiedcustomer"

This is a great example of why it is critically important that brands look at the bigger picture and consistently deliver against their brand promise ... and continuously protect and nurture the relationships with their most important and loyal consumers.

Your personal brand is no different! Your personal brand is the bundle of promises you make to those most important to you ... your significant other, your children, your friends, your co-workers, your boss, etc. How well you consistently deliver against those promises, and nurture those relationships will have a significant impact on what "people say about you when you're not in the room"!

Thanks for listening.

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