A Brand is Nothing More Than An Expectation

If I give you my time or my money, I expect something from that transaction. Depending on the size of that transaction—the amount of time, effort, or dollars I provide—the higher my expectations. Your business—your brand—makes promises every day, through your marketing and communications, through your offerings and your value proposition. You make promises to your customers; you set expectations. If I have a bottle of hand lotion on my dresser, and I depress the pump to dispense some of the moisturizing liquid into my hand, I have an expectation of what will come out of the dispenser. If black, sticky tar comes out into my palm, I’m not only surprised; my expectations have not been met. Something is amiss. The brand has let me down.

A great example of expectations NOT being met is this classic clip from Seinfeld, the one where Jerry goes to pick up a rental car, and it’s not there. His expectations have not been met. A reservation, after all, is meant to HOLD the car. Still cracks me up, and does a good job of expressing the role of expectation in branding.

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