No, your Brand is not “a promise”

I heard this last week “a brand is a promise.” It’s something I used to say myself. It’s what I learnt at numerous seminars and symposiums too, but times have moved on.

To suggest “a brand is a promise” completely misses the broader changes that have happened over the last 20 years. Smart phones, social media, “the multilogue”

In 2019 “a promise” is only a tiny part of  what makes up a brand. Brands now live in glass boxes. Three years ago Samsung wasn’t know for any Brand promise it was know for exploding batteries. In 2019 everything a company does makes up a brand.

We are not in the 1980’s where advertising campaigns were often the only point of contact people had with a brand, apart from the product itself. Where the promise was pretty much all people knew about the Brand and the company, while all its other activities remained hidden.

A Brand is a much more, complex, nuanced entity now, as far as our perception goes. It’s bigger than the products. It doesn’t matter what promises a brand or makes, if the company is doing something unethical or its products are malfunctioning, a promise is worthless.

The idea that “a brand is a promise” is also bad when it come to brand creation. For Marketing Companies and Branding Agencies to suggest to clients, all they need is a nice snappy promise to have a brand, is doing them a great disservice. The world is cynical about Advertising & Marketing. We demand action from our brands, not just empty promises. We want to see them doing great things, walking the walk, not just talking the talk.

A Brand is the sum of all its (the parent company’s) activities and actions – Having a promise (good positing) is just a tiny part of what a brands is. 


Brand Promises
More Doctors Smoke Camels


*Main Photo (Padlocks) by Marcos Mayer on Unsplash