In an age of mistrust, it’s never been more important to deliver on your promise

Your brand is your promise. It’s how you portray yourself through words and pictures so your customers know what to expect from you as a business. As the marketing communications for both B2B and B2C continue their style convergence, honesty has become the most valuable of brand commodities for ALL BUSINESSES and never has differentiation been more important.

Many can blame the large corporates for the growing lack of trust. Brands such as Facebook, Vodafone, most of the utilities companies, even Virgin who once upon a time set the blueprint for customer experience, have all lost sight of what honesty actually looks like. How many times are we lured in by the promise of great products only to be screaming down the phone 90 minutes into a call with the ‘customer service team’?

There are exceptions amongst the big boys and girls of course and there are many more finally realising that making and keeping a promise is the key to customer retention but there is more than one mountain to climb.

Step down a level to the exciting SME Space and many businesses are built on individual relationships backed up by great service. So as your business grows, how sure are you that the person at the front of the sales cycle isn’t making promises that the engine room can never achieve? Are you even aware of this problem? Or bothered? Well you should be, and here’s what you can do about it.

Long known as the fluffy stuff that people do to prettify logos, products and ads, I’m not going to pretend marketing is rocket science, although in the ever-growing digital age you can get some pretty darn hot metrics, but where I’m coming from, it is little more than common sense to put honesty at the heart of your offering and do your utmost to deliver on your promises. It sounds simple and it is, so long as you abide by some basic practices.

Get key stakeholder input into the proposition

Workshop with the key people in your business to identify exactly what your business is, where it is heading and most importantly why you’re doing what you do? It sounds trivial, but if you can articulate what’s great about your business and why someone should use you then you should be able to answer their next question – ‘So what?’

Identify the purpose and common values at the heart of your business that really count

This can feel like a big task but with the correct process in place to draw this information – they output is invaluable and should come from your epicentre and don’t shy away from being public with them.

Get a consistent tone of voice

I often hear “People buy people, and people are individuals who should be allowed to express themselves!” and I couldn’t agree more. However putting together a tone of voice document which sets out how you articulate yourselves, both in terms of what you are and what you stand for, helps your team understand the core message for them to deliver in their own unique style.

Share it, discuss it, revisit it, nurture it

If you have developed a tone of voice and messaging bible, it needs to be part of your on-boarding programme, and it also needs to be part of your evolving strategy. It should be an item on your agenda for management meetings and it should be a section in your business plan entitled ‘Are we still what we say we are’?

Most importantly – keep it simple

For a process to exist, it needs to be easy to adopt and even easier to execute. Keeping on top of how you speak to you customers should be at the very forefront of your agenda. Because from a consumer’s perspective, if you tell me what you’re going to do, then do it (preferably) with a smile, why am I going to go anywhere else?

At Journey, we run brand workshops to help businesses find their true voice and show them how to use it – consistently. If you want to learn how to create a tone of voice, a sales promise and provide the footprint for your sales and marketing strategy, then get in touch.

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