Recently, a new grocery store chain opened here. It shall remain nameless to protect the guilty and the innocent, as Patrick says.
Before I share the rest of my experience, I should probably give you my grocery shopper profile. I love coupons, BOGOs, loyalty cards, my weekly specials email that arrives on my phone every Tuesday. If Pop Tarts are 50 cents cheaper across the street, I’m going. The highlight of every checkout is at the end when they tell you how much you saved on that visit. My personal best is $88.73. (In my defense, it was super double coupons, and I had just watched a marathon of Extreme Couponing.)
But, I was open to change. I was giving it my best try – honestly. As I walked down the very neat and well-organized aisles, I was trying to figure out what was different or revolutionary. I was desperate to find that one thing that would make me want to leave my old reliable store.
It was the grand opening, so lots of “suits” were walking around with earpieces, standing in clusters watching the front line employees. They looked like college basketball coaches analyzing every move. I kept waiting for a Bobby Knight moment. Thankfully, it never came. Things seemed to be working like clockwork. Perhaps service was their thing.
I was greeted with a flyer and a few free samples. Things got off to a good start. Free cobbler makes my day every time. I was offered assistance and promptly asked for the lowdown on the coupon situation. First wave of disappointment hit when I found out they didn’t price match or have a loyalty program. I was offered a different flyer that had a few coupons, but that was it.
I checked my usual items and didn’t see any real price savings. A few of my things they didn’t even carry (no Cinnamon Rice Chex or Malomars? Dealbreaker). I did pick up a few things from the coupon flyer. I guess price isn’t their thing. It’s obviously not selection either.
I got to the checkout and the cashier was lovely. Until he handed me scissors to clip out my coupons. So I missed watching each item get scanned and checking the prices for fear of losing a finger. (I also pride myself on my eagle eye for catching price discrepancies.) Right now I’m missing my loyalty card that just scans and gives me e-coupons. So I’m thinking convenience isn’t their thing either.
On the way out the door, I wasn’t alone. It must have been written all over my face because another mom in the parking lot asked me, “Was that as big of a letdown as I thought it was?” Yes ma’am.
Throughout that whole experience I realized I spent an hour experiencing that store and left without an inkling of what their Brand Promise might be. There was nothing to differentiate them or make them remarkable. The employees didn’t act in a way to back up any kind of Brand Promise. Their systems and web of activities didn’t support a unique Brand Promise. And, they didn’t win my business.
A well-executed Brand Promise would have done all three: differentiated them, aligned their delivery team and won them business. I wondered if they even knew their Brand Promise. Or perhaps, the executive team thinks they have a Brand Promise, but it isn’t communicated out to the rest of the company or supported by their processes.
Do your customers know your Brand Promise? Do they feel it? Do they see it? Do they remark about you to others? Are you different and unique in your industry because of it? If so, you’ll see it in your bottom line.
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