by Dr. Donald N. Sweet
There are two major concepts in the title, brand promise and core customer. Kind of like a chicken and egg situation. Which do you think is more important?
Businesses usually begin by providing a solution to a customer. Something they are good at, understand and interest them. No doubt that’s where yours began.
By intentionally crafting a brand promise, the business communicates several important concepts. First it signals to employees what is important to core customers. This becomes even more meaningful as the business expands and adds additional people. Internally a brand promise aligns the team around both the customer and product or service.
The business must then rigorously organize to deliver the brand promise to the core customer. From location to people to systems, lots of work and consideration goes into delivering the brand promise to the core customer. The brand promise should inform all aspects of the business. A good visual is an iceberg. The tip of the iceberg, the part we see, is the brand promise. The majority however is below the surface, where all the work takes place.
For instance, Rackspace Inc., an IT hosting company based in a suburb of San Antonio, Texas, has “Fanatical Support” as it’s brand promise. They go to great lengths to support their customers. Check out what they say, and mean, about their Fanatical Support here.
Externally, brand promises communicates to the marketplace what it can expect from your company. This is an opportunity to tell the market how you are unique from the competition. A solid brand promise becomes the basis for everything your business does to attract customers and drive revenue.
All businesses have implicit brand promises, at some level. Many are intuitive like the corner grocery or hardware store. Your local attorney and CPA often have these assumed promises. In fact we find most businesses have only expected brand promises. A lost opportunity.
Crafting a well-defined brand promise can set your business apart. If done properly it can also become the cornerstone for your marketing effort. But who is this brand promise focused upon? The core customer, made up of a select few in the marketplace.
A core customer is one who most values your offering. They have a need that you are uniquely able to provide and they are willing to pay for. Your brand promise resonates with them. When we work with clients helping define core customers we spend time on both demographic data (age, income, type of need, etc.) and psychographic tendencies (early adopter, research buyer, green oriented, value buyer, etc.) of the core customer that they want to appeal to.
The better defined the core customer is the better we are able to craft a brand promise that appeals to them. By defining our core customer well, we won’t waste scarce resources chasing after customers who don’t bring optimal value to the organization.
Your brand promise and core customer definition will set you apart from the competition while attracting the type of customer that you want. It is the intersection of what your business does well and what the right customer needs. It’s effective execution means sucess for your business.