In the car, early one morning, my friend told me his boss had been trying to persuade him not to retire next year. The boss explained that he had never had any complaints about that one plant (my friend loads aggregates, it’s typically a one person per plant job and you need to be everything from labourer to customer care manager).
So, no complaints. Not a single customer had to call in ten years to ask where their concrete was.
The boss said he wished he had more people like my friend and asked why he was so different to every other plant manager in the group.
My friend explained that he lived by a simple tagline (he didn’t use that term) which was ‘deliver the promise’. If a customer had been promised a load and my friend was running late then the customer still received it as promised, even if it meant working late (and loads are never, unlike taxis, promised as being just around the corner).
My friend is one of those people, rare in my experience, who pose a real problem to management. They are indispensable in their current roles but would be invaluable ‘higher up’ in a training or management role.
Such a simple philosophy can underpin any other brand. I’m writing this whilst stood across the platform from a billboard proclaiming NatWest’s charter commitments as they make promises (I wish they were different promises really but that’s a separate matter) which presumably they will deliver.
Advertising can sometimes be an attempt to make something from nothing, an attempt to hoodwink the consumer into buying something they do not need (or at least desire). ‘Deliver the promise’ is the antidote to this. It cuts through to the core of what any brand should be offering and enables campaigns to be bold and uncynical knowing that what they are selling will deliver the promise of reliability, genuine interest, comfort – whatever it is the product has set out to do.
A kitchen gadget, the sort we all buy, might therefore, through a deliver the promise strategy, be designed to genuinely change the way we peel or slice rather than being discarded after a few tries.
My friend has promised to retire next year. I’d hope his company wishes that this one time, it’s a promise he doesn’t deliver.