The basis of any brand is its core promise, the essential idea around which your brand is built.
At its heart, your brand promise is one of the most powerful tools in your brand strategy toolkit.
It drives real business results for your construction company, engineering firm, or architectural supply operation.
And the reality?
Your competition is dropping the ball.
This is your opportunity to proactively be better than them and take market share.
All you have to do is strategically map your own brand promise out.
And, then communicate and execute on it.
Why your brand promise matters
Put yourself in your clients’ shoes for a moment.
Someone on their team has to look at your proposal, and take it back to their team for approval.
Do they share your conviction in what you offer?
Will their team also feel that conviction?
Is it clearly defined and unique enough to even make it that far in the process?
A strong brand promise is the difference between success and obscurity.
Your brand promise is your handshake with your customers or clients when they buy your products or services.
It’s the declaration your company makes to your market, stating, “We will solve all your problems. Leave it to us. Put your trust in us.”
But what makes an unbeatable brand promise?
There are four essential elements you absolutely must consider to create a promise that does more than sit on your letterhead—a brand promise that moves the dial on brand awareness and revenue growth.
Because you know what’s even better than having the team of Business Development Representative (BDR) hunting for business for you?
Having a market frothing at the mouth for your services.
And yes, you can create it.
What your brand promise is not
Before delving into the elements of an unbeatable brand promise, it's crucial to grasp the concept of a brand promise.
A brand promise is not about strategy or performance.
That is bullshit corporate lingo.
Are about people.
It is a promise to achieve certain results, deliver a certain experience, and even act in a certain way.
It is more than the sum of its parts, and it includes:
→ Your unique market offer(s)
→ Your customer experience strategy
→ Your team’s experience and commitment to client success, and
→ The value proposition behind each service or product you offer
It also filters out what you don’t stand for.
Simply put, a brand promise is the essence of what your market will know you for.
Sometimes, you explicitly state it in the company strapline or tagline, or even as a headline on your homepage.
A brand promise is your commitment to deliver a consistent experience in the mind of your market.
It is the core message that shapes the perception and expectations customers hold towards your brand.
So, you had better get it right.
Because if your brand promise is something like, “We have over 20 years of experience in civil engineering and our clients love us...”
Well… your next 20 years are going to be an uphill battle.
The best brand promise is easily understandable, memorable, and is incomparable
As you sit down with your leadership team to define what your organization is here to do, understand that a brand promise is not an old-school mission and vision doctrine.
Most mission and vision statements are often written by a board of management executives who don’t really know—or don’t really care—about what a brand promise means.
The foundations of an effective brand promise focus on helping your clients attain the unattainable—the service, the outcome, or the timeframe that your competitors can’t—or won’t—commit to.
So if you want to stand out in a crowded market, you begin with the impossible, and then dial it back to the edge of what you can deliver.
Your brand promise is a commitment to your customers or clients, your employees, and the world.
This commitment goes beyond just delivering products or services.
It encompasses the values, beliefs, and overall experience that customers can expect when interacting with your brand.
A brand promise is a reflection of your company's identity and serves as a guiding principle for all its actions and decisions.
It cannot be understated: brand promise is not just a statement or slogan. It is a promise that must be fulfilled consistently over time. It has to be relevant to your customers or clients because it is something that they actually care about.
It must have zero room for misinterpretation, and both internal and external audiences will understand it without explanation.
Risk mitigation: address a weak or inexistent brand promise
You want your construction or engineering firm to become a successful brand. To break-out of the cycle of Requests for Proposals (RFP), up–and–down months, and the uncertainty of the market–at–large.
Then why don’t you have a brand promise you can lean on?
Why haven’t you armed your sales team with the words they can use to turn, “We’ll call back next week,” into, “I’ll get our director on the call—hold on.”
The truth is that most business owners and executive teams are not copywriters.
For that matter, most marketing teams also succumb to the path of least resistance in an organization.
Because it takes grit to carve out a unique brand promise and position it effectively within a brand strategy.
But, when you leave this gap in your marketing strategy, you leave it to the market to fill it in.
You risk complacency in your company, and client experiences retroactively drive a brand promise that probably doesn’t communicate what you need it to.
If your brand promise isn’t driving growth for your organization, it’s time to unpack what you stand for in the market.
Element one of an unbeatable brand promise: make it consistent
Consistency is key in building a strong brand promise.
When customers interact with your brand, they expect consistency across all touchpoints: from advertising and communication, to product quality and customer service.
Consistency breeds familiarity, reinforcing the brand's identity in the minds of consumers.
It also gives your clients the confidence to refer your business to their peers.
Nobody wants to put their reputation on the line when referring their network to your business if you won’t live up to it 100% of the time.
The role of consistency in messaging
A study by Harvard Business School professor Gerald Zaltman revealed that 95% of consumers make purchasing decisions subconsciously.
Consistency establishes trust.
And consistently delivering on and communicating an unbeatable brand promise to your market?
Drives subconscious bias and belief.
→ It makes the buying decision easier
→ It gives your clients conviction when they need to get buy-in on their side to sign the deal, and
→ It drives a positive relationship with leads before you’ve even set the meeting
Element two of an unbeatable brand promise: make it emotive
Emotion is a powerful catalyst in creating brand loyalty and deepening consumer connections.
In fact, a study found that emotional connection increases customer loyalty by 306%.
It should go without saying, but humans are emotional beings.
Yes, even the ones that profess a complete adherence to numbers and logical reasoning behind functional benefits.
Your market will engage with your brand when it evokes positive emotions because it resonates with their values.
Your brand promise has to speak of emotional benefits that appeal to their personal goals and beliefs.
Your brand promise is an opportunity to forge that emotional connection and develop long-term relationships.
It’s a chance to leverage the desires of your ideal client to grow their career, their business, or to simply sleep well at night again.
Building an emotional connection through your brand promise
To build an emotional connection, you must understand your target audience's values, desires, and pain points.
And not at a corporate level.
You need to know John, the project director, Sharon, the Chief Financial Officer (CFO), and Jim, whose father founded the company in 1972.
These are your Ideal Client Profiles (ICP), and yes, there is a lot more that goes into defining your ICPs before you get to the stage of defining a brand promise.
What gets their voices raised in the boardroom?
Who did they work with 12 years ago that left them vulnerable to un-mitigated regulatory risk when the project was done?
When do they need to have this project done so they can meet their bank covenants next quarter?
You need a brand promise that consistently addresses these emotional triggers across many similar companies in your market.
There’s no way around it.
Your market inherently believes your brand can solve their problems and get them where they need to go. That buy-in gives you a huge leg-up in getting the sales meeting or converting the deal into a go-ahead project.
Element three of an unbeatable brand promise: make it genuine
In a crowded marketplace, standing out is vital.
It’s the difference between a client “shopping around” with your proposal or running back to their office with your offer in hand to show their team.
Your brand promise must showcase what sets your company apart from your competitors.
You never want your brand promise to drive an apples–to–apples comparison with your competition.
Uniqueness in a world of ubiquity
A survey revealed that 64% of consumers cited shared values as a reason to have a relationship with a brand.
A brand promise that is unique and genuinely has something to say highlights or fosters special connections.
It differentiates your brand from others, making it impossible to compare only on price.
Because if there’s anything to avoid in the already-crowded construction and engineering space, it’s commoditization.
Differentiating your brand promise from the competition
Understanding your unique competitive landscape is crucial when crafting a unique brand promise.
Are you one of many?
Are there much bigger firms out there taking business that you would love to have for your own company?
You need to identify your unique strengths and find innovative ways to communicate them effectively.
And it’s not just about stating what your company does well.
It must be packaged in a unique way.
Think about feeding a hungry family: you can bring home some apples, flour, sugar, and butter, but really, you’re no better than a trip to the grocery store, and overall, not very helpful.
But, package it all up as your, “Grandma’s famous apple turnover recipe from the old country,” and it’s an almost guaranteed hit.
The same goes for your construction or engineering offer.
Stop taking the same shotgun approach of your competition, and approach it from a new angle.
Humanize your brand instead.
Make it easy for everyone to understand just exactly how you create value, and how your products or services impact customer or client experiences.
Element four of an unbeatable brand promise: make it relevant
Finally, as predicated, your brand promise must be relevant.
→ Relevant to your ICP’s needs and aspirations
→ Relevant to your market, whether it’s national or perhaps beyond, and
→ Relevant to client expectations and what your company can deliver on
If your brand promise misses on any of the above, it’s not going to land the way it should, and your compromise long-term growth potential.
Ensuring your brand promise is relevant to your audience
The key to understanding your audience and crafting a relevant promise is meticulous market research.
This means building ICPs and testing them against your best clients consistently.
If you have the budget, it includes qualitative and quantitative market research, such as focus groups, surveys, and expert interviews.
By analyzing key client and market insights, you are able to identify the specific needs and desires of your target market.
This knowledge ensures that you don’t focus on building a reputation for free champagne when a client signs the deal, when what they really want is a guarantee for on-time completion for every stage of the project.
The relationship between relevance and brand loyalty
Do you want your company to be top–of–mind when your clients run repeat projects?
Do you want to avoid being thrust back into a pool of competitors when a past client announces a new project?
The relevance of your brand promise to your clients’ needs is the key to creating a lasting relationship that puts your company on speed dial when new work rolls in.
An unbeatable brand promise must be consistent, emotive, genuine, and relevant.
By incorporating these elements, you differentiate your business in a crowded marketplace, forge emotional connections, and build lasting relationships with your clients.
A compelling brand promise is not just a “to-do” in today’s market.
For construction, engineering, and architectural businesses that are looking to scale aggressively, it’s a must-have.
Pay fanatical attention to keeping your brand promise.
And, as you walk down the path toward unpicking your brand promise, keep this caveat in mind: never ever never over-extend your promise.
And maybe, most importantly: never ever never break it. Unless you want to run the risk of breaking trust with your customers or clients because once broken? You lose trust with your market and that is damage control you will never ever never manage.
Want to learn more about how Clickex is the next best click for powering your growth? Chat with our team today and let us show you how to build a legacy brand through the power of the internet.