The Brand as a PromiseWant something fun to do at your next cocktail party? Get together any group of 3 or more marketing executives and ask them to define what the word “brand” means. The Brand as a Promise I guarantee that you’ll get at least 3 different definitions… and probably start an argument that will last the rest of the night.

I’ve previously suggested that one definition of brand is simply how customers feel about your company, product or service. The more fanatical your customers are about your brand, the closer they are to being able to perfectly describe the brand to others.

Scott Donaton, CEO of Ensemble, has suggested yet another definition which I also agree with – “the brand is a promise.” Simply put, the brand represents the attributes which the company offers to their consumers without fail, and brand loyalty is a reflection as to how much a consumer trusts that the company will fulfill their promises over and over again.

About 5 years ago, I was travelling in Germany. Being neither multilingual nor particularly adept at using language translation books, I muddled my way through a variety of restaurants, inadvertently ordering many dishes in German which sounded vaguely familiar only to find that they were, in fact, boiled sheep heads or similarly inedible foodstuffs.

Hungry and grouchy one night, I was delighted to find a local McDonalds. My food-deprived brain latched onto the brand with great alacrity, because I was certain that, even on the other side of the world, I could walk into this restaurant and point to a Big Mac on the menu board and fill my stomach with something familiar in under 2 minutes. The McDonald’s promise is that their food will be consistently the same and served fast, no matter which restaurant in which country one walks into.

Consider now what promises your company offers to consumers, and whether your brand is an accurate representation of that promise.