Delivering Your Design Brand's Promise

As a designer, branding is a very effective element of your marketing. The key  element of your branding is the promise that your brand makes to customers and clients. It is this promise that attracts prospects and generates repeat and referral business from past clients. Unfortunately, poor business management and weak brand development often lead to broken promises, which inevitably drive clients to the competition.

What is a brand promise?

A brand promise tells clients that your product or services will meet their expectations. For example, the Starbucks brand promise tells consumers that the coffee they purchase at Starbucks on Wall Street will be same quality as the coffee they enjoyed in Monterrey, California. The brand promise of Williams-Sonoma tells their customers that gift cards bought on-line can be used to purchase the high quality goods at any Williams of Sonoma store anywhere. Consumers seldom care which barista made the Starbucks coffee... it's the Starbucks brand and promise of quality they are buying. Nor are they concerned about where they purchased their William-Sonoma gift card; it's the promise made by the brand.

Brand promises generate new business

Your brand promise tells clients that the services that they receive from you will meet your standards of quality. This is reassuring to clients and contacts, making it possible for them to hire you and refer others to you. It is this reassurance that will continue to generate new business.

Promises are not always kept

It's great when promises and expectations are met. Think about how eagerly you anticipated your last vacation and the joy of having the actual vacation exceed your expectations. On the other hand, how did you feel when your expectations were not met? It's probable that you were so disappointed that not only are you not likely to try the same vacation again, you won't recommend it to others.

Broken promises hurt you and your business

Your promises set standards that must be met continuously. Provided that you consistently meet these standards, you and your business will thrive. If however, your promises are not met, your business will start to suffer. Broken promises really annoy clients. They usually show their annoyance by taking their business to some one else. Instead of happily promoting a business that has pleased them, they will joyfully badmouth one that has displeased them. Some may even bad-mouth you and your work. There is an old marketing clich√© that says if you please one client that person might tell some one else, but if you annoy one client, that client will tell 19 other people. Even the best promotion cannot eliminate this negative publicity.

What promise does your brand make?

Without a doubt it is necessary to make promises to clients. What are some of your most frequently made promises? Equally important, how consistently do you keep these promises? What is your brand promise? How will your services, which reflect your personal brand, satisfy clients? What benefits will they receive from you that they are unlikely to receive from your competition?

Consider these questions and see success by delivering what your brand has promised.

By Larry Easto
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Larry Easto, best selling business writer and syndicated columnist, is publisher of For more information about brand promises, see