Over coffee with a long-standing client, a conversation began on the value of words in business and how at The House - we frequently attribute specific words to individual clients. I offered Chris a friendly wager that my business partner Steve would instantly name the one key word that we associate with him. When he arrived, Chris immediately challenged him with the question “what’s the one word you associate with me?” Without hesitation Steve replied “promise.” As a result, I won the bet and look forward to that nice lunch.
Chris’s love of the word promise conveys the value he places in a simple uncomplicated agreement between individuals committed to doing what they say they will do, when they say they will do it. Crucially, a promise made by those happy to be held to account.
In our work with clients, we strive to define a compelling customer promise to place at the heart of their business - a simple expression that conveys the unique benefit of product or service that they promise to deliver every day. This is what differentiates them and enables us to create a powerful image that associates with their values and brings to life their unique promise of an authentic brand.
I grew up with the notion that one’s word is one’s bond, so far better not to promise at all than fail to deliver on a promise made. Call me old fashioned, but in my view a promise offers as much merit to business as it does everyday life. I see real evidence that business leaders are moving away from cultivating the charmingly vague customer promise in favour of ‘nailing their corporate flag to an authentic mast’ and then galvanising and stretching everyone and everything in the organisation to deliver it, even if on occasion it falls a little short.
Perhaps, to borrow heavily from Mark Twain, ‘Better a broken promise than none at all’.