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Brand Marketing - A Return to the Handshake Promise

June 29, 2011

Understanding your brand is one thing, translating the brand into an effective message is another thing, but understanding your brand from the audience’s point of view is an entirely different conversation. User experience has been a huge topic for the past few months, with the changing face of advertising from ‘customers’ to ‘fans,’ and Google’s focus shifting from quantifiable analytics to ‘behavior metrics,’ the way a user experiences a brand is insanely important. It’s no longer about just translating a message effectively to promote product purchases; it’s about creating relationships based upon the experience that the audience associates with your brand.


Talk to any Scottsdale advertising professional and they’ll tell you that having a creative brand message with innovative advertising tactics is useless if it doesn’t serve the user’s needs or solve the user’s problem with a targeted solution.

Take a Different Perspective

If it’s at all possible, attempt to take a few steps back from your brand, your services and your product. Step outside of the business mindset, and look at your brand from an outsider’s perspective. Look at your brand from the point of view of an audience member, a user, who has a problem and is looking for a solution.


If you have done your homework and your advertising firm has done the proper market research, you understand the target audience’s problem better than anyone. You know what questions they have and the issues they’re struggling with. Put yourself in their shoes, take a step back, and really look at your brand from their perspective. Is the brand message consistent with the solution? Is it consistent with what it says it’s going to do? If you offer a specific solution to a problem, does your brand actually deliver on its promise?


Brand Promises

A brand message is a brand promise. For example, as a consumer you have a car that needs a quick and flawless oil change, so you find a brand that promises “fast oil change experts.” The problem; you need an oil change done quickly and flawlessly. The solution (brand); “fast oil change experts.” The brand message makes a promise, and when you take your car in for that oil change it better be quick and flawless. If the brand does not deliver on its promise, it is highly likely that you will never return to that car maintenance shop again. And it’s also highly likely that you’ll tell friends and family not to use this brand as well.


The Brand Experience

The brand experience must match the brand message, or the entire process will backfire on the business. In many ways, the brand message goes back to the days of a simple handshake and a ‘man’s word is as good as gold.’ While that concept is hard to find these days, it remains the core of brand marketing. A brand message is a promise to solve the user’s problem, a promise that the user will have a certain experience with that brand. It’s a handshake and an assurance that ‘we can solve your problem.’