The Simple First Rule of Branding and Marketing

Seth Godin:

Not a secret, often overlooked:
“Keep your promises.”

This is why marketing is now the job of entire organizations, not just marketers.

Marketers have always been good at making promises, but historically it has been the rest of the company’s responsibility to actually deliver on those promises. The mark of a good marketer was the ability to understand company or brand’s promise and the consumer well enough to communicate the former to the latter.

Marketers promise how a product is supposed to benefit the consumer, but the product itself determines whether that promise is kept. Now software products and digital services are critical to every marketing plan because they help continuously reinforce the promise, but also because they take the first step in actually delivering on the promise.

Example: Lowe’s promises to help you improve your home. Lowe’s has always sold products in their stores that help you do that. Now they’re offering the MyLowe’s, which is a digital service that helps you manage your home. Users of MyLowe’s are taking a step beyond understanding the promise Lowe’s is making, they are beginning to actually derive value. As soon as the user is deriving value, the brand is delivering on its promise – before the user ever enters the store or buys a product.

Finally marketers have a hand in keeping their own promises. Now imagine the power marketers have when the entire product line of the brand the work for is made up of software and digital services. The product itself is an even more important piece of the marketing.

It’s time for entire companies to think like marketers by making every decision based on making the right promises and keeping them. How does a brand come up with the right promises to make? By understanding consumers really well. How do marketers know how to communi

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