Basing your storytelling on a promise

Our latest eBang on storytelling may have convinced you that you have a story to share (at least, we hope so!) But once you get behind your keyboard, do you feel yourself running out of fuel? Telling your business story in an exciting way for a specific audience is a challenging task. Thinking of a promise and then bringing it to life on your website is a great idea.

What is a promise?

Before getting to the heart of the matter, let’s clarify some vocabulary concepts. To make your brand memorable and authentic, your branding arsenal should include several elements that may look similar but serve different purposes.

The unique value proposition: The statement presenting the concrete – and sometimes technical – arguments for which your company stands out. It’s, above all, a sales pitch formulated to convince a defined audience. If your company has several targets, you should have a value proposition adapted to each.

The mission: this statement, a sentence or a short paragraph, is all about the reasons behind your organization’s existence- at the highest level. It’s the goal that brings your team members together and is a guide to guide your business decisions.

The promise: more general and philosophical, your promise sets out what your customers can expect when doing business with you. Think of the standards you agree to abide by, presented in a short and catchy statement.

If your promise touches on vital concepts – such as safety, efficiency or pleasure – it can become the basis of rich storytelling since it relates to issues experienced by your customers.

The 3 foundations of a successful promise

  • Simple. The shorter and easier to understand, the more impact.
  • Honest. If your customer experience doesn’t align with your promise, your credibility will take a hit. It must be able to be held in all situations by all your employees (hence the importance of keeping it simple!)
  • Inspiring. Simple and honest does not mean banal! Avoid promising the bare minimum. Your guarantee should be bold enough to mark the minds of your targets and set yourself apart from the competition.

Promise and slogan: similar but not interchangeable

Because it is intended to be brief and catchy, the promise can easily be mistaken for a slogan. If the form of these statements is similar, the promise must imperatively tell your customers about their relationship with your organization.

Observing the distinction between these two types of statements is an excellent exercise in recognizing the components of a well-crafted promise. Let’s take two mythical examples:

Nike’s Just do it. This slogan generates emotion and action while clearly establishing the company’s personality. However, it doesn’t present any argument to convince the customer to choose this brand rather than another- therefore, it’s not a promise.

Apple’s Think Different. Used for several decades, this slogan has everything of a promise. Simple and easy to understand, it is about Apple’s commitment to creating different products while inspiring customers to dare to be different themselves. Designed in response to IBM’s Think slogan at the time, this statement also boldly sets the company apart from its competition. It’s a promise made to Apple customers.

Work on every aspect of your promise.

Bringing your promise to life in different ways will make it more believable while helping you build cohesive storytelling around your relationship with your customers. Once your promise is defined, use it as a guideline to give more depth to your marketing. On your About page, for example, list why you adopted this promise. Create a page dedicated to the relationship between your company and its customers. Orient your success or case study pages to back up that promise, and get testimonials that support that claim.

The hardest part is finding the perfect combination of simplicity, honesty and inspiration. A few more creative heads won’t hurt this process; brainstorm with us!

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