The importance of delivering on your brand promise

Delivering on your brand promise is a necessity in the modern consumer environment. Meeting (if not exceeding) consumers expectations should be the basis of all businesses. If you pride yourself on outstanding customer service, make sure that all call centre staff are trained to the highest standards and offer resolutions to issues in the outstanding way in which you promised. If you say that your products are durable and reliable, don’t use cheap parts sourced from Korea. If you are a premium brand with strong heritage, use premium materials and make things with pride.

brand promise

This would seem the basics of branding but yet companies often lose sight of their brand in order to save money. Although offering short term gains, in the long term, this will result in the loss of loyal customers and brand equity.

Take HSBC for example, I have banked with them for five years and have never really had any problems. Then, all of a sudden, everything went wrong. I would get locked out of online banking on a monthly basis and I gave up trying to use it, their call centre was transferred overseas and as a result, their service became atrocious. I started going round in circles between online banking not working, no being able to help me, poor service, anger, online banking not working…

After these never ending and rather infuriating monthly circles, I then turned on the TV to see HSBCs latest ad. The ad told me that HSBC are ‘the world’s local bank’ suggesting that they understood their customer’s needs which, by my recent experiences with them, they don’t.

If the ads had talked about rates or products then I would have probably stuck with them for longer and given them the chance to mend the relationship with me that they had started to erode (as I believed that their rates and products were good). But they didn’t. They had me shouting at the TV as, to me, it was all lies. They were not delivering on what they said so I left and went to a bank that did understand my needs.

My new bank exceeds my expectations at every touch point of the brand and as such, I have become an advocate, encouraging new people to join. The new bank prides themselves on good customer service and understanding me and, they do.

The credit crunch is going to see far more offenders as they look to squeeze money out of consumers in the tough economic climate. Only time will tell if deviating from their brand promise will result in long term losses, but there will definitely be some brand casualties coming out of the downturn.

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~ by Simon Bocko on January 11, 2009.

3 Responses to “The importance of delivering on your brand promise”

  1. I agree with the ‘brand promise’ argument. At a basic level it is about delivering on the service provision your consumers come to you for. If you fail to deliver that then why would they come to you again?

    However, the item that particularly interests me within this piece is were you have alluded to ‘talking about products’:

    “If the ads had talked about rates or products then I would have probably stuck with them for longer and given them the chance to mend the relationship with me that they had started to erode (as I believed that their rates and products were good).”

    Firstly, would you? And do you think the adverts were trying to reinforce current customers of their choice of bank or attract new customers?

    Although HSBC may of lost you I wonder if the advertising worked on prospective customers who were not afflicted with the ‘poor’ service you experienced. I don’t think emotionally driven ads (over functional benefit driven ads – i.e. in this case products and rates) should be underestimated, after all, branding and advertising has to be rooted in an emotional connection with its consumers.

  2. Most adverts are designed to generate increased consumption of products and services through the creation and reinforcement of brand image and brand loyalty. In this case, the ad was damaging the brand image and destroying loyalty of its current customers (me). I understand that aquisition of customers is important, but not at the expense of current customers. Also, if these customers were gained with promises that the company cannot keep, then these new customers won’t stay customers for long, thus creating a perpetual cycle of aquisition and loss.

    I totally agree that branding and advertisiting has to be rooted in an emotional connection with its comsumers as long as the connection can be reinfoced and maintained at every touch point of the brand.

  3. Ultimately this is a service issue. I feel the advertising element you are discussing is clouding the point you are trying to make.

    If current customers are receiving bad service from a company then the adverts, be they promoting functional benefits or reasons to believe, don’t matter. Customers have been let down at a deeper, and more practical level and that resonates more then a piece of advertising.

    At the end of the day if a company cannot service its customer’s needs then it is going to struggle to retain them.

    Interesting piece though. Look forward to hearing more.

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