5 words that will make your brand irresistible

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a brand as:

…a public image, reputation, or identity conceived of as something to be marketed or promoted

Here is marketing thought leader Seth Godin’s definition:

A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.

These definitions are both valid. Even useful. But they are somewhat unwieldy as benchmarks when it comes to honing your brand. For that task, we need just 5 words:

Your brand is a promise.


A promise is compelling.

A promise is a powerful thing. It is a commitment you make. It sets an expectation for all those you hope to engage. And not just customers and prospects. It is also a commitment you make to everyone inside the organization.

Furthermore, a promise has accountability baked in. When you make a promise, you are compelled to make good on it. This is what makes it irresistible to those we hope to engage.

A promise commits to helping someone do something or become something.

It is easy to make some vague, noncommittal statement about who you believe you are or what you do:

Dorkman Widgets - The number one supplier of quality widgets in the tri-county area!

There is no promise here. In fact, these kinds of statements leave it up to us to figure out why we should care. And honestly, most of us won't make the effort.

A promise makes a commitment to those you hope to serve. You don't make a promise to yourself. Okay, you can make a promise to yourself if you're having some life reinvention epiphany at the Be-A-New-You Self-Discovery Weekend Retreat. But it really doesn't work for brands. You may have seen a few organizations try this. It usually sounds something like this:

We're committed to exceeding the high-quality standards we set for ourselves.

It sounds important and all but, again, what does it mean? And more importantly, who cares?

To unlock the power of the promise for your brand, you must commit to helping someone do something or become something. That requires two things:

  1. It must be outward facing. It's not about you. It's about those you hope to serve. This must be a promise you make to them. Prospects prefer that you talk about them and their situation as opposed to talking about yourself. That seems kind of obvious, right?

  2. It must be focused on making a difference. The promise must help them understand the difference your brand will make. In their lives. In their communities. Maybe even the world. You score extra points if your promise shows them how they can be part of making a difference for others by embracing your brand (this is your Big Audacious Meaning).

We are all drawn to meaningful brand promises. Because they help us imagine a better version of ourselves. And they show us you're willing to put something on the line to help us achieve that. I know. It's scary. Because when you make a promise, there is the chance that you might break it. But you should take that as an indicator of just how potent a brand promise can be. After all, it could make you irresistible.