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Which Brands Keep Their Promises, and Which Ones Should Try Harder?

By Autumn Rivers – Contributing Writer, The Marketing Scope.

A brand promise is just what it sounds like: A promise that a brand makes every day to its customers. It drives the actions of the company and aligns with its mission, values, and vision. Sometimes it’s the same as the company’s tagline, but not always. Sometimes you can easily find the brand promise on the company’s website, and other times it’s hidden away and kind of unclear (which is admittedly a little unnerving).

And sometimes brands actually keep their promises. But of course, just like people, brands are not all the same, and they can’t all be trusted to uphold what they promise. Hey, they’re only human, right? No? Well either way, some brands have proven themselves while others haven’t. Take a look at a few major companies and how they’ve done with their brand promises.


Brand promise: Endless play

Legos are among the few kid toys that still require you to use your imagination in order to have fun with them, so this brand promise fits. And have you seen “The Lego Movie?” It’s pretty much impossible not to smile, even when “Everything Is Awesome” gets stuck in your head for days afterward. Clearly, the Lego brand is still all about fun, and the movie just cemented that for anyone who doubted it. Now if the movie had been in the horror genre or simply boring, the brand promise would have been obliterated.


Brand promise: You’re in good hands

This brand promise is pretty well-known, mainly because it’s also the company’s slogan that everyone hears on the commercials. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean the company always remembers its own brand promise. Allstate actually ranks pretty poorly when it comes to customer satisfaction. In fact, this brand was ranked the worst insurance company in the country, mainly for having a habit of lying to policyholders and delaying and denying claims. These are pretty much the worst habits an insurance company can have, and they don’t exactly instill trust! Therefore, Allstate’s customers are not really in good hands, so consider this brand promise broken.


Brand promise: Daily inspiration

You thought you were just getting some much needed coffee when you eagerly cruised through the Starbucks drive-thru this morning. You were wrong; you were actually getting a dose of daily inspiration, with a side of caffeine. And according to most of this brand’s fans (who might even be described as rabid, especially after some espresso), Starbucks definitely delivers on its brand promise. The inspiration is subtle, but it’s there. It has to do with how fast and friendly the employees are as they make your favorite drink just how you want it, and they’re like that at pretty much every location you visit. They’re even friendly online, since they offer amazing social media customer service. So the next time you want just a simple cup of coffee without all the inspiration, just make it at home. You’ll even save money. But if you’re having a tough day and want that something extra with your drink – as well as an example of a brand promise kept – schlep on over to Starbucks.


Brand Promise: Food with integrity

This brand promise sounds pleasant enough. It might even take away some of the shame you feel after consuming mass amounts of burrito every time you visit Chipotle. After all, the website proudly claims that the company uses only pork from pigs that happily roam, as well as only vegetables grown in healthy soil. But if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is, considering that Chipotle admitted to using GMOs in about half of the menu items. That’s not exactly adhering to the brand promise, huh? But before you back away from the burrito, rest assured that the beloved brand has since taken steps to eliminate GMOs from all its food, so feel free to indulge once again (if your trust in Chipotle has been restored, that is..).


Brand Promise: Inspire moments of optimism and uplift

As refreshing as an ice-cold soda can be, Coca-Cola’s brand promise doesn’t focus on this. In fact, by looking at the brand promise alone, you wouldn’t even guess this company sold drinks. At the same time, the brand upholds its promise. Just look at its commercials. They’re all about peace and inspiration. In particular, one famous commercial was about people from different backgrounds coming together, as you might have seen when “Mad Men” aired the “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing (In Perfect Harmony)” commercial (or maybe you even saw the original when it aired in 1971!). You haven’t seen a sad, depressing, or scary commercial from Coca-Cola, and if this brand plans to keep living up to its promise, you won’t.

Can you think of any other brands that have lived up to their promises, or any that haven’t? In the meantime, check out this discussion on brand promises!:

“Why You Should Know Your Brand Architecture Before Your Marketing Strategy (Video)”
Watch this video on the topic of Brand Promises and Brand Architecture

By Autumn Rivers – Contributing Writer, The Marketing Scope
Email:, Twitter: @AutumnEditing