What makes a good brand? The predictable delivery of an exciting promise.

Goodness we make things difficult for ourselves.

Before Christmas I participated in a conference on Strategy and Branding. I gave a presentation entitled, “Market-driving vs market-driven: consequences for organisational culture,”

I will amplify the content of the presentation in future articles, but I want to focus on a question which came up in subsequent presentations, and whose answer clearly has implications for the way we drive a business.

What constitutes a good brand?

In fact, it became clear from subsequent sessions, that few organisations have an agreed definition of what is a Brand, or at best have a definition that is of limited utility. 

One presentation, “Branding and Jungian Archetypes,” took the audience up a twisting and intriguing pathway with many stimulating views. But left them stranded in fog at the summit; lost, breathless, and unsure where to take the next step.

Most of the folks I work with are practical and pragmatic in personality, and this reflects the way they want to run their business. They want a definition of “Brand” that is actionable and communicable to everyone in the business, and leads to an improvement in organisational performance.

Here is my definition of good Brand:

The predicable delivery of an exciting promise.

Think of your favourite brands. They combine two elements; logic + magic. The logic of a strong operational machine that delivers the magic of an exciting promise consistently and predictably. 


 In the best brands, strong rational underpins exhilarating emotional. 

But strong operational logic can only take you so far. It may be easier to manage, it may be more predictable in performance, and it may be more transparent in investigation—but it is also more copyable—and hence beatable. 

Repeatable is beatable.


Being different without backup is a land of fantasy. It will always end in tears.  Customers have bought the dream but then live the nightmare of poor delivery of an exciting promise.


Low logic and low magic    

The domain of Desperado’s. Woeful products delivered pitifully. An unattractive magnet drawing in unattractive customers, with margins too tight to allow for safe-to-fail experimentation. Tough to get out the downward trajectory without major intervention. The haphazard delivery of blandness.

NPS range: 1-6

High magic and low logic

The land of the ‘if only’. Prodigious imagination that can move others. A gossamer will-o-the-wisp.  

NPS range: huge bifurcation. Either 1 or 10. Not too much in-between.

High logic and low magic

I hope you have a big budget for marketing communications because making lots of noise is the only way you’ll attract attention. You’re pricing strategy will ensure you will spend more time watching your competitors than listening to customers.

NPS range:7-8

High logic and high magic

Congratulations—and where’s the proof? Unless you’re consistently receiving an NPS score of 9-10 from your target audience, you are not operating in this domain. If you are, you should be making sure you’re getting margins to reinvest back into the predictable delivery of your exciting promise.

NSP range: 9-10  


Plot your brand vs your competitors. A copy of the template can be found here.

Can you really measure magic? Yes you can.  The Customer R&D® process use sophisticated method of narrative research to a quantify how much magic you deliver to the market place. These methods can be used to dramatically increase your return on your NPS research investment.

For more details contact us here.

In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.
— Coco Chanel