Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Brand Image

Sylvie's Perspective

               ...from the

Do You Have a Brand Promise?
I have seen this subject come up frequently in online discussions and at those times, I had honestly, never thought about it.  After doing a little research and 'studying' shops with an obvious brand image and promise, I now understand how important it is to have that branding.  This also fits in well with part of our team mission and member certification--to present shops/businesses that elevate the value and worth of handmade.  Having a professional demeanor and image can immensely help us achieve that goal.

I am still not well versed enough on the subject to give advice to anyone, so will let some of the online experts do the talking.

Let's start here, with one definition I found:

The brand promise is what audiences are assured of receiving as a result of their relationship with the brand.

And another from Brain Trust contributor: Jean Wilcox, Co-author of Abullard's ABC's of Branding :

A brand promise is the statement that you make to customers that identifies what they should expect for all interactions with your people, products, services and company. It is often associated with the company name and/or logo. Sometimes also called a "tag line," here are three examples of brand promises following a name or brand:

  • For a heating and air conditioning company:  ABC Heating and Air -- "We're not comfortable until you are."
  • For a tire company:  Dave's Tire Company -- "More than tires, we deliver peace of mind.
  • For a fine dining restaurant:  Carl's Steak House -- "Our food is the best, but the memories we help you create are even better."

One more definition by Christine Hendricks, Director of Brand Strategy:

A brand is a promise a company makes to its customers, which must be delivered upon consistently with every single interaction.

I'm sure you now get the gist of what a brand promise is. And the importance of having one for your business as well as a brand image.  They are tied together. It's an identity of who you are, what your product is, your customer service and what your customers will come to recognize and know you by. It also should convey to people who are not yet your customers, what they can expect from you.

Sounds simple but it's not been that easy for me to create a brand image or promise. That's because I was all over the map with my work. There was no cohesiveness or balance between my creations and my image. I was trying too hard to be everything.  And it wasn't working, but that doesn't mean it can't work for someone else.  In the right hands, a menagerie can be a brand image in and of itself.

So I took the advice of some very successful artist/artisan friends, who, by the way, all have successful businesses with very defined images and brand promises--let your work dictate what your brand is. In other words, look at your work and draw from those elements to create your brand identity. From that, your brand promise will naturally develop. And because you reached inside of your work, in essence, you, it will honestly represent you and your image.  Some of you may already have a very clear idea of what you want.  Just go with it!

It definitely is something to seriously consider.

So I end with this last, and my favorite definition of a brand promise that I believe happens to fit in perfectly with our team mission.  Also can be applied to the recent happenings at Etsy, where many feel that they broke their promise to us:

From Garr Reynolds :

Brands are Personal--

The greatest brands of all — that is, the greatest brands to you — are much like a trusted friend. In a sense, we judge brands by asking ourselves the same kind of questions we would ask about people we know or are thinking of doing business with. For example, we might ask: Is he authentic? Is he reliable? Is he honest? Can I trust him? Does he make me feel better about myself? The bonds we have with our most trusted friends, are bonds based on a promise. Our relationships with brands are not (usually) as strong as those with people, of course, but if a brand breaks a promise, you can bet that customers will feel betrayed, anger, and take their business elsewhere. Great brands have distinct personalities and people choose brands, more or less, that match their own unique personalities.


  1. Sylvie, what an insightful post. I think branding gives cohesiveness to your shop and your work. Thanks for making me think about this!

  2. Sylvie--great post! I think I do have a brand's why I use my pretty boxes. But I think I'll look at my shop statement again to see if I can express it better!

  3. Well done, Sylvie! This should give all shop owners a lot to think about!

  4. Wonderful post, Sylvie - I never quite thought about it like that, but it makes sense. Thank you for sharing!

  5. I understand what a brand promise is Sylvie,I do have an unwritten one.. my customers know I am genuine and reliable . But how many know definitely i must think of defining one..
    thanks..I am learning lot and fast.:)

  6. Excellent food for thought, Sylvie. While I don't know if I could pin my brand promise down to a clean tagline, I am working each day to solidify my branding and with each sale to deliver on my unspoken brand promise. The quote from Garr Reynolds was spot on.

  7. I've been working on my "brand image" for my shop "inkleing" pictures, profile and such but as far as a "brand promise" I come up clueless. For me this is the hardest thing thus far. We have to do so much as Etsy and online if we are a single person operations, pictures, descriptions, shipping, promoting as well as creating. Creating, when I "said" that it sounded like such a simple thing but in order to do that it's gathering supplies, sometimes in my case that involves shearing, carding, spinning and dyeing..... drafting, math, color theory and medieval migration period historical research...blah blah blah then sitting down or standing to weave the thing!!!!!!! So far the only promise I can come with that I can make is ..... "I will try very hard to do my very best"....... Back to the drawing board for the elusive brand promise. LOL

  8. It is very important to brand yourself but I think it is also important that your branding can evolve along with your company. Because of this it is important to keep your branding reliable but not so specific that you paint yourself into a corner. Your brand should be able to grow with you, not limit you. For example, Nike's "Just Do It" is able to apply to the whole product line, not just shoes. All of the tagline examples above are more about client experience than the actual product. For example, the steak house doesn't mention steak specifically, "Our food is the best, but the memories we help you create are even better." This tagline is about food but would even appeal to the vegetarians out there.

  9. Lisa, I agree with you. Albina Rose has changed along the way to something completely different than when I first began 16 years ago. If I had branded myself with what I was making back then, it wouldn't work with what I make now. So your brand promise is more about what people will 'feel' from their interaction with you and your product than it being specifically about the product itself.