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A Brand Promise and Guarantee I Bet My Life On

Posted by Douglas A Wick on Thu, Sep 1, 2016

What can you be the Best in the World at?hedgehog2-resized-600.gif

It takes courage, belief, commitment, and trust to discover and declare you are the best, and then guarantee your promise to your customers!

That’s exactly what a Brand Promise is.  Your Brand Promise and your Brand Promise Guarantee is your answer to the Hedgehog Concept: “What can we be the best in the world at?”


When we ask you to choose what you can be best in the world at, recognize “world” means your sandbox.  Where your business plays!  This can be your geography.  It can and probably should be an expanding geography. 

Your Sandbox should answer the question “what market will you dominate over the next 3 to 5 years?” It should be large enough to support your 3 to 5-year revenue and market share goals, but concise enough to give you direction and focus.

Sandbox.pngA Sandbox has three key aspects:

  1. Where will you sell? (Sales Territory)
  2. What will you sell? (Product Lines)
  3. Who will you sell to? (Customers/Distribution Channel)

Ask yourself: Have you determined your 3-5 year Plan?  Have you identified your Sandbox based on these criteria?


A Brand Promise is the key factor that sets you apart from all your competitors. It’s what brings customers to you. It must be both competitive and measurable. It’s great to create a wonderful slogan or advertising message, but if your operation can’t deliver on it, you gain absolutely no differentiation in the marketplace. It’s a mistake to create a Brand Promise that is not what your customers need.

No matter what your Brand Promise is, you should first recognize what your customer needs are. You must identify the key activities that will support your Brand Promise, then, even before you develop the slogan or unique selling proposition, you should determine how you will measure whether or not you are hitting the target you have set. Without a measuring stick your promises have no potential to succeed. You aren’t rigorously quantifying them. What’s the point of promising your customers you will deliver a differentiating outcome if you don’t measure the consistency of providing it?

First determine what your #1 Brand Promise is. For Southwest, it is low fares; for McDonalds, it is/was speed; for Rackspace, it is finding a solution in one hour or less; for Quicken, it is unlimited phone support. Read Verne Harnish’s THE BRAND PROMISE: IDENTIFYING THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT MEASURABLE IN BUILDING VALUE for additional insights on FedEx and choosing your Brand Promise.

Your #1 Brand Promise addresses what you feel is the greatest need your customer has and you solve better than your competition. Your supporting Brand Promises should be additional needs your customers have you can measure and lend credibility and emphasis to your major Brand Promise.


Southwest Airlines is one of the best examples of a successful Brand Promise. The original makings of Southwest Airlines are clearly described in “The Inside Advantage.”  Bob Bloom’s (the author) agency was originally responsible for its initial ad campaign. 

Learn more about Southwest Airlines’ Brand Promise and RACKSPACE’s at What’s a Brand Promise?Southwest_Airlines_Brand_Promise.png

Southwest Airlines three iron-clad tenants to their Brand Promise are: Low Fares, Lots of Flights, and Lots of Fun.

It’s a great example because no decision Southwest acts upon unless it adheres to one of those 3 values.

The key to knowing you’ve got a great Brand Promise is you say ‘no’ more than you say ‘yes.’ When you’re a growing company, it’s easy to say ‘yes’ to every opportunity that comes your way, but doing so will kill what you’re trying to create. The whole point of a Brand Promise is it’s your guiding light and helps you make the right decisions, at the right time, for the right reason.


If you have frequented a Starbucks over the past few years, you will increasingly see their brand promise prominently displayed in each store or even on each beverage cup: “Love your beverage or let us know. We’ll always make it right.


Positioning Systems Brand Promise is based on Strategic Discipline.  Positioning Systems Builds a Winning Habit through our three Brand Promises:

  1. Priorities: Determine your #1 Priority and achieve measureable progress in 90 days to accomplish it, subsequently repeat this every 90 days.
  2. Metrics: Develop measurable Key Performance Indicators.  Company and executive team members develop reporting dashboards to increase accountability, following Pearson’s Law for dramatic performance improvement. 
  3. Meetings: Establish an effective meeting rhythm pattern to compound the value of your priorities and metrics.  Your business pulses faster, builds momentum to increase measurable revenue and profits.

Our BRAND PROMISE GUARANTEE is: Positioning Systems will refund all compensation without reservation if our disciplined coaching and proprietary tools do not meet your expectation.

When I discovered I had Acute Myeloid Leukemia in February of 2012 I’d been practicing the Rockefeller Habits in my coaching practice for years.  I’d created a dashboard and determined my annual and quarterly priorities for my business just as I coach my customers to do. 

My customers success had already proved that Strategic Discipline works.  My business grew through these disciplines.  It only made sense to apply this to the challenge of my cancer.

pos._systems_third_quarter_dashboard-resized-600.jpgI created a dashboard.  I was determined, committed to beat cancer for myself and my family.  I bet my life on it.  I was fortunate to have a physician assistant who allowed me to work the entire time I was in the hospital from my private room.  My dashboard reflects my number one priority, defeating my cancer.  I chose a number of activities with the specific intention of achieving success.  The most critical, to meditate a minimum of once per day. 

Despite five failed chemotherapies (My cancer cell percentage never dropped below 42%.  In order to receive a bone marrow transplant I needed to get to <10%) I remained committed to my activities and my One Thing.  As we shared in What’s Your One Thing (3X), just because you fail to reach your One Thing, doesn’t mean you should quit.  Failure is failing to try.  If it’s truly your ONE THING, then repeated attempts to achieve it reveal what you need to do to reach it. 

In my case a clinical trial in July of 2012 finally brought miraculous results. 

I bet my life Strategic Disciplines Brand Promise and Brand Promise Guarantee would ultimately bring me my health. 

That’s the kind of courage, commitment, belief, and trust you need in your Brand Promise. 

Would you like help discovering your Brand Promise?  We have great experience in discovering and delivering Brand Promises.  Contact us for help.

It’s not always a good comparison to use Sports as an analogy to Business.  Next blog I share a story of a Super Bowl game changing play and why your business needs to discover what it does best instead of reacting to the competition.  It’s why this Brand Promise tool and what you can be best in the world at is critical to growing your business.

Topics: The Inside Advantage, Hedgehog Concept, Brand Promise, Brand Promise Guarantee, Positioning Systems Brand Promise, Sandbox

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Positioning Systems Brand Promise

1. Priorities: Determine your #1 Priority. Achieve measurable progress in 90 days.

2. Metrics: Develop measurable Key Performance Indicators. 

3. Meetings: Establish effective meeting rhythms. (Cadence of Accountability)  Compounding the value of your priority and metrics. 

(BRAND PROMISE GUARANTEE): We will refund all compensation if our disciplined coaching and proprietary tools fail to meet your expectations.

Certified Gazelles Coach

Doug Wick, President

Positioning Systems


The Strategic Discipline Blog focuses on midsize business owners with a ravenous appetite to improve his or her leadership skills and business results.

Our 3 disciplines include:

- Priorities
- Metrics
- Meeting Rhythms

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