A Brand Is A Promise: Keep Your Promises

A Brand Is A Promise: Keep Your Promises


Tao Is More Than A Word

Having worked in the sports business, I was recently recommended a link to a sports biz page, Tao of Sports.

Taoism is close to my heart, so I was very eager for this brand experience.

Surely, in addition to the normal sports business talk I find elsewhere, this page would have something… paradoxical… simplistic… dualist… spiritual… philosophical… Taoist.

I couldn’t find it. And I was disappointed.

While the page offers podcasts that are indeed interesting, there was nothing that was the least bit Taoist about it.

Compare this to books entitled “The Tao of Pooh,” and “The Tao of Sales.” They’re steeped in the ancient Chinese philosophy, Taoism. You don’t have to be a Taoist to like the books. But you will come away understanding the concept and remembering it. Something is sure to stick beyond Pooh and beyond Sales.


Where’s The Beef?

In the case of “The Tao of Sports,” the page opens with the slogan “The teams behind the teams.” Cool concept, but in the spirit of an old American TV ad, where’s the beef? Where’s the Tao?

There’s not even a picture of the Taoist Yin-Yang symbol, nor is there any reference to eastern philosophy, let alone the founding document of the Tao Te Ching. The graphic of an event ticket on fire only widens the gap for me.

While I wish the blogger Troy Kirby all the best, there’s nothing motivating me to return. The brand/name attracted me there, but the product and the brand are, in my view, completely out of sync.

It would be like me calling myself Ferrari Sales, and when you get to my site or blog, you see that the Ferrari thing is just a name, with no relationship to automobiles, motorsports or even speed.

Using a “big idea” or powerful concept as part of your name creates an expectation, which is part of branding.

A brand is an expectation of an experience, and a name is part of your brand.

Why create an expectation that you can’t meet? Gaining attention is a good thing, but don’t break promises.

Compare this to a website/blog I just found, appropriately called “The Tao of Branding.”

On the home page, something that links branding with the Tao. “The giant pine tree grows from a tiny sprout.” This is right out of the Tao Te Ching, Verse 64, in fact.

My expectation was filled with the first click, and I would be inclined to come back to this page and learn more, should I have the need for branding with a twist.

How can you make your prospects, visitors and readers feel you’ve fulfilled an initial promise?


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I help companies sell better, from marketing and branding to sales execution. I love to talk about this stuff, too, so feel free to send me an email and we can set up a conversation: jack(dot)vincent(at)focus360(dot)ch