A Brand is a Promise. Are You Keeping Yours?

A Brand is a Promise. Are You Keeping Yours?

Price vs. Promise

With so many exciting changes underway at Verve Concepts, we decided a few weeks ago to order new business cards. We needed them fast. So we did our research, set our budget, and came down to two vendor options: Company A and Company B.

  • Both said they could meet our design requirements.
  • Both said they could meet our tight deadlines.
  • Only Company A fell within our budget. B cost slightly more.
  • Only Company B had an excellent website. Company A’s site was disorganized and the ordering process less seamless.

As is so often the case in one’s purchasing life, our decision came down to a question of price over promise. Would the cost savings of Company A be worth the difference in customer experience? We’ve all had to make this choice at one time or another. This time, we chose Company A, and it cost us.

Build Your Small Business on Brand, Not on Price

Verve Concepts is a small business, so we know how important every penny becomes when calculating expenses. Money wasted depletes the funds we can put into building other aspects of our brand. So, saving money on something as small as business cards can mean a great deal in the long run.

But price is very different than true cost. That’s a crucial concept for small businesses, in particular, to keep in mind. We can’t always offer the same prices as our larger competitors. But we can sell the experience of doing business with us – we can sell the promise that is our brand. And that’s when true cost becomes a superpower.

Here’s a closer look at what we mean:

Say, for example, that the bids for our business cards came in at $250 (Company A) and $325 (Company B). Both Company A and Company B offered equivalent quantities and paper quality. Both included overnight shipping.

Price-only Cost: Company A saves us $75.

True Cost: Company A cost us several hundred dollars.

Here’s how we at Verve Concepts calculate true cost:

Time Lost: 200 minutes

It took seven calls to customer service at 20 minutes each to track down our order, plus at least an additional hour to discuss the issue internally. Multiply that time by the revenue we could have earned during those 200 lost minutes, and it equates to several hundred dollars – far more than the $75 we saved on price alone.

Promises Broken: 4

Not only did we lose time and revenue because of Company A, but we also lost faith in their brand. As we tell our Verve Concepts customers, a brand is a promise – and Company A clearly can’t keep its promises.

  1. Fulfillment: They couldn’t fulfill our order as promised because their printing equipment broke down.
  2. Communication: Despite known production delays, Company A did not notify customers of the trouble. They also failed multiple times to send promised order tracking numbers.
  3. Ease: We had to call customer service seven days in a row about our missing order.
  4. Respect: When we expressed our frustration about all of their broken promises, they told us that we should have understood this risk, as potential service delays are outlined in their “terms and conditions” statement.

A Brand Promise Cannot be Overvalued

After more than a week of messing around with Company A, we cancelled our order and contacted Company B. That experience was not without its hiccups – the first set of cards had a design flaw. But they fixed it – immediately, without argument, without long hold times, and without days-upon-days of drama. In other words, Company B kept its brand promise to improve our business. It didn’t just deliver cards, it delivered happiness. And that is worth so much more than $75.

One Final Note: We’re not fans of public shaming so we won’t tell you the name of Company A. But we’re more than pleased to shout the name of Company B: Moo. Thanks, Moo, for a terrific customer experience.