Every strong brand adheres to a promise of quality, service, price or a combination of two.
Yes, only a maximum of two.
With anything beyond that, a brand attempts to be everything to everyone, which is unsustainable or not defined well enough to matter. While this is oversimplifying a bit (and frankly, that’s an understatement), let’s explore these three individual promises.
- Quality brands typically promise craftsmanship. Or they may involve things like eco-friendly products or services from smarter, more experienced professionals.
- Service brands promise a broader range of positions such as speed, convenience, customer support, ease of use and more. Generally speaking, the process is better than the product.
- Price is the lowest cost. That’s it.
3 Promises: 3 Digital Channels
Establishing a digital experience, which adheres to the broad brand promise, should look different depending on the brand. Here are a few examples of how the three promises would look in three digital channels:
The quality brand’s site must sell the story and value (and likely the premium price) of its product or service. Expect the site to over-inform on the various components of the product or service. The experience should take users out of the norm and immerse them into something larger than life. One way might be expansive, full-screen video or immediate performance-comparison tools.
Apps catering to a pre-sale will be feature-rich to reinforce component quality. However, apps for quality brands likely provide more value after the purchase to increase loyalty, too.
After-the-sale apps offer a little something extra and could (and probably should) integrate with the purchased product in some manner. For example, an environmentally friendly cleaning product may offer customers an app to show them how much good they are doing daily for the environment by not using traditional chemicals.
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Quality brands must build social communities to build demand and loyalty. Prestige and building a community of believers works best through social channels, since the budding
community can help reinforce the brand story. Content and tools on these platforms must make a strong effort to increase participation.
Depending on their nature, service-based promises might have different experiences. However, they will all focus on clear calls to action and seamless navigation. For example, a service/convenience site may intuitively guide the user to its nearest location, invite them to subscribe and receive free delivery, store previous orders or all of the above.
As with the website, a service brand’s application can greatly vary. Still, the common thread for any app is speed and ease. The mobile application must make the most of the platform and provide an experience that is even faster, more accessible and more convenient than its desktop site. For example, a car insurance company gives customers an app that allows them to take photos of the accident and file a claim right at the scene.
Service brands push and pull on social. Pushed content may highlight aspects of the service but may also deliver after-the-sale support content. Pulled content refers to prompt, honest responses to comments made by its community. By being attentive to the individual, the brand can live its service promise every day, in real time.
Brands promising the lowest price don’t necessarily need to look cheap. They may not be as sexy as the others, but that’s the point. Instead, a price promise site will likely feature cost-comparison content, clearly visible products, coupons for even more savings and smooth checkout functionality.
Price apps spur action and impulse. Savings calculators, limited time offers and comparison tools are excellent ways for low-priced brands to compete.
Price brands may forgo a heavy social presence in lieu for a more aggressive email strategy. At any rate, social may be used to continually share lowest price points and savings. It may also help to involve things such as group discounts for participation on a specific channel.
Every Brand Is Unique
Let me rephrase that: every successful brand is unique.
Gone are the days when a promise can be forced on consumers through traditional media alone. In the digital age, your brand requires constant vigilance. The good news? Your digital experiences can be an unparalleled way to create consistency for your customers, generate and maintain loyalty, and increase sales. All you need to do is define what your promise really is – and then focus on the right ways to keep it.