We've used the term "brand promise" a lot throughout our blog here at ICC/Decision Services and thought it about time we define what we mean by it. While not a complicated concept, it can get muddied up a bit without a clear focus. That clear focus is what will keep your mystery shopping program on track.
A brand promise is: "This is what we will deliver to you." Pretty simple, right?
The hard part is defining narrowly and specifically what the "what" is. Many times, the brand promise becomes too many things in an attempt to be everything to everybody and ends up being nothing to anyone.
For example, when FedEx first started out, their brand promise was, "We will get your package to you by 10:30 am the next day." Time is a measurement we all agree on. If the package arrives prior to 10:30 am, the brand promise is kept. Starting at 10:31 am, the promise is broken. A strong brand promise is easy to measure against.
Notice we did not say anything about price or quality in the brand promise example above. FedEx did not promise that the drivers would be friendly or stop and chit-chat about the weather. Nor did they promise to be the cheapest solution. But when you "absolutely, positively need something to be there overnight" and you are the only one promising that, friendly and cost don't really matter.
As soon as a company puts a simple brand promise out there and competitors notice their customers leaving for that promise, they will adjust. As competition grows, customers will demand more. Pretty soon, just getting it there by 10:30 am isn't enough as UPS, DHL and the USPS can now do that. The package must also arrive undamaged, the driver should be friendly and dressed in a uniform, the truck must be driven in a safe manner, etc. This is where your brand promise can start to get a bit muddied up and the qualitative perceptions can leak from the simplicity of your brand promise.
What does friendly mean? How do you measure that? What does safe mean? Does safe only mean that the driver has never been in an accident? We all know people who don't necessarily drive safely, but have not been in an accident -- yet. This is where a quality mystery shopping company can help.
To be an effective mystery shopping program, a mystery shopping company must be able to help first define and hone those elements that are your brand promise, stripping away qualitative things that are perceived to be the brand promise. Then, it needs to be able to devise a way to measure them so that the data becomes actionable.
For your brand promise to be effective, it must be measurable. If you can't define what your promise means, you can't measure it. If you can't measure something, you can't manage it.
Mystery shopping programs measure against your brand promise.