We can agree that a brand promise is the commitment the brand makes to the consumer to provide the good or service the consumer expects to receive. Nothing there is unusual. We also can agree that it takes competent planning for the good and services as well as a coordinated marketing campaign to ensure that the consumer should expect the good or service that the brand intends to deliver.
Yes, not only must a brand manage the actual product, but it must also manage the perception and expectations of it. Nothing mind-blowing here. Yet the trend continues throughout our economic environment that brands fail to deliver on their brand promises and disappoint consumers. The moment a consumer is disappointed, a chain reaction follows. Consumers stop buying. Brands, instead of figuring out that the promise failed, buy more advertising and spend more money. More consumers are disappointed and cease buying. Then, if nothing swoops in to put this cycle to an end, the business shuts down.
If this notion falls under one of the basic tenets of a free(ish) market, why do we see brands struggle? Perhaps it is getting harder to fulfill a brand promise. As a marketer, we want to promise so much satisfaction that the consumer has no choice but to buy our offering. But not managing expectations effectively can do us a ton of harm.
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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