When you think about the brands of service businesses out there what do you think of? Many local service businesses use the name of the founder or owner, along with the trade line: “John Smith And Sons, Plumbers” or “Jones Electrical”.
And there’s nothing wrong with that… if that’s your starting point. However, many service businesses stop there instead of start there! They slap their name on the side of a van and think they’ve done enough but if you want to stay ahead of your competitors then you need to do much more than that.
I’m talking about creating a brand promise.
What is a brand promise? Do you even have one? (You need one if you don’t have one!)
A brand promise is that promise that your company (and everybody in your company) is committing to do for your customers. Therefore, you need to ask yourself this question: “So what is the promise I make to the people that I’m going to serve?”
Don’t confuse your brand promise with what you do or with your slogan or tagline. “We provide electrical services for the people of Springfield”. That’s a slogan, tagline, or a basic description of what you do.
A brand promise is not so much about what you do for your service you provide, it's about what you do on every job. It's the little things over and above the basic expectations!
In the service company that I used to own with my business partner (before we sold it to a private equity firm), our brand promise was “We Do More.” That thinking appeared on every job! For us, “We do more” was about going down to a client’s home and noticing the doorknob is a little loose. So what do we do? We tighten it up, even if that is not why we were there!
This small action reinforces to the customer that we do more. It says to the customer that they are important; that their lives have meaning.
Here’s another example: if the client is getting ready to do a project and you know you can help, jump into the middle of it and go out there with your power tools to help. This will set you apart, above and beyond other companies.
That is the WOW service we are looking for, it is the service we talk about.
Brand promise is the commitment that we are making, that we want the customer to hold us accountable to. Did we do things that you never even expected us to do? It is more than bringing up the newspaper or when we bring up the garbage pail. I mean those things are great, but really doing those things, everyone does them. That's called courteous, and everyone SHOULD do them. Brand promise is about doing MORE than the basic expectation.
Your brand promise that you're committing to is really about you. You cannot take someone else’s promise and make it yours. Your brand promise is going to be slightly different to match your location, and also your brand promise needs to talk to your market as well.
Brand promise is the X factor to separate your business. So many people are trying to compete doing the same exact stuff… when that happens it’s not a competition; it’s just a price game at that point.
Make a promise to your customer to be different, to be better, then deliver on it!
So, start thinking about your brand promise. If you were to make a promise to your market, to the people you serve, what with that promise be?
As you think about that consider this: look at everybody else in your area and ask yourself, “what is their promise?” Make sure that the brand promise you commit to aligns with you personally, as a business owner, and aligns with the leaders of the business all the time… and make sure it’s not too close to what the other people in your marketing are promising too.