How Do You Define Your Brand Promise & Customer Experience Mission?

by Jeannie Walters

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Between consulting, workshopping, and keynote speaking, Customer Experience is a concept I introduce to somebody new almost every day.

As I begin with a new organization, oftentimes the first step is one of the simplest but most critical: helping to define the terms.

  • What do we mean when we say Brand Promise?
  • How about when we talk about Customer Experience Mission?

Today I want to give you a peek behind the curtain and share the way that we define those terms.

I encourage you to share these definitions with your team to get everybody on the same page and even spark a larger conversation about how you set and fulfill your customers’ expectations.

Let’s start where Customer Experience really begins: with the Brand Promise.

Your Brand Promise, defined:

Your Brand Promise, simply put, is what customers can expect.

Typically written for the customer from the company perspective.

It can be very specific and literal:

The company is a leading content, commerce and technology company that provides customers easy and convenient access to books, magazines, newspapers and other content across its multi-channel distribution platform.

– Barnes & Noble

Or it can speak more to the overall “essence” of the brand:

Nationwide is on your side.

– Nationwide

Regardless, your Brand Promise is all about your organization and what you can and will do for each customer.

To talk about Customer Experience Mission, we’ll flip our perspective around to the customer.


Your Customer Experience Mission, defined:

Your Customer Experience Mission is all about your customer.

A successful Customer Experience Mission Statement covers how you want your customers to experience the brand. Perhaps more importantly, it also speaks to how you want them to feel.

The customer is the star of this statement.

The Ritz-Carlton experience enlivens the senses, instills well-being, and fulfills even the unexpressed wishes and needs of our guests.

– Ritz-Carlton


Why is it important to consider both Brand Promise and Customer Experience Mission?


Without a Brand Promise, you are selling a commodity.

(For example: your dry cleaner probably doesn’t have a unique brand promise.)

Without a Customer Experience Mission, you are selling an idea (your brand promise) with no backbone to support it.

See how critical each of these items are and how they support one another?


Digging Deeper:

Let’s take a look back Nationwide’s promise: Nationwide is on your side.

What if you are a Nationwide insurance policy holder and your claim is rejected? Does that feel like they are on your side?

Well, it’s easy to figure out that customers who have had this experience feel like Nationwide is NOT on their side.

As an industry, when we are challenging business school students and entrepreneurs to write business plans, we urge them to consider the marketing angles of a brand promise:

  • How can you summarize your essence?
  • What makes you special?

But, too rarely, we ask them to consider what their Customer Experience Mission is:

  • How should your customers FEEL after dealing with your company?
  • What processes will you put in place to ensure this happens?
  • How can you reinforce this experience at every step along the way?

Put simply, organizations that don’t to ask these questions are missing an opportunity to create better experiences for their customers… and leaving money on the table.

Brand promises are important, but too often they only go as far as driving the latest marketing campaigns.

If it’s truly a promise, then push it to become a customer experience mission.

What do you think? What brand promises are destined to let you down in the experience?

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Jeannie Walters

Jeannie Walters is the CEO/Founder of Experience Investigators, a global Customer Experience consulting firm. She has 20 years of experience helping companies improve loyalty and retention, employee engagement, and overall customer experience. Jeannie is a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP,) a charter member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA,) a Professional Member of the National Speakers Association, LinkedIn Learning instructor, TEDx speaker, and President-Elect of the National Speakers Association Illinois chapter. Learn more here.

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