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Please Set Brand Expectations
By: Janet Kalandranis
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Expectations are a funny thing. Brands try to set them, but many times customers overlook these statements and expect the world. It’s unrealistic, really, but hey, they are the customer. Yet when any person goes to accept a job, there is a list of job duties and compensation and expectations that are mutually agreed upon. So, it is a common practice. If only it were that easy for brands to print out a list and have everyone sign on the dotted line. Then maybe there wouldn’t be so much confusion around what’s expected and what is just icing on the cake.

Brands need to view their mission statements and attributes as an expectation list. Don’t overpromise and under deliver, but ensure that it’s clear what this brand will and will not achieve. As much as customers won’t admit it, many of them expect brands to deliver EVERYTHING. To be the fastest, cheapest, strongest, smartest, best-of-anything type of brand. And quite truly this will never happen, or if it does it’s quite a miracle. But brands need to arm themselves by setting expectations at the start instead of simply falling into telling customers what they want to hear. Because if a brand says it’s the fastest and also the cheapest when this isn’t true, customers are going to call its bluff.

So how does a brand set expectations? It’s definitely important for a brand to determine what attribute or set of attributes they are going to promise to the customer. It can’t be everything, so pick the ones that really define the brand and ones the business can stand behind. If a brand offers the fastest car but it comes at a high cost, there’s no need for the brand to be promising “the best deal in town.” And there’s no reason why this brand would want to. This brand is about speed and that’s exactly what it should promise.

It’s also important for brands to use marketing materials to set customer expectations. Those mission statements and brand values are essential for customers to understand what the brand can and will deliver and what is not in the running. This doesn’t mean brands need to say they offer the most expensive product in town, but it helps for customers to understand which brand attributes each company holds at the top of the list.

There is no set way each brand must communicate expectations to customers, but making them known is a definite. The more customers know about the brand and its products and services, the more both parties understand where the expectations stand. So don’t keep quiet and don’t promise everything under the sun; but instead simply let the brand’s true expectations be seen and heard. 

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About the Author
Janet Kalandranis is here to give you all the little brand thoughts that run through her head with a little dash of spice. Find her online here.
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