What’s your promise?

There are lots of ways to think about what motivates your organisation – I prefer to think of it as your “promise”. What’s your promise? To your customers, to your employees, to your partners, to yourself… what’s your promise?


What is that one thing that will always be true about why you do what you do? Not the products and services or policies and processes that support it, but deep down in the core of your organisation – what’s your promise?


It is easy to get lost in the labyrinth of business motivation – vision, mission, purpose, goals, cause, but whatever you call it, the role it should play is pretty simple – it is the foundation of what drives your organisation. Personally, I like promise because it speaks to commitment and is a personal and “human” word.


A promise is enduring, it is not framed or driven by trend or circumstances. A promise is about what was true when you started your organisation, what is still true today and what will be true in 10, 20 or even 30 years.


There are some well known and not so well known promises out there:

  • Put humanity back in air travel (Jet Blue).
  • Make world’s information universally accessible (Google).
  • Use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis (Patagonia).
  • Bring inspiration strength and colour to communities. (Blue Scope Steel).
  • Let regular people buy the same things as rich people (Wal Mart).
  • Design for all (Target).
  • A cleaner, healthier way of eating and living. (Macro Wholefoods Markets).


And on and on. But what others say is not really relevant to you. How they say it isn’t really relevant to you. Your organisations promise is a deeply personal thing. It may not even feel directly tied to “what” you do today. It should have room to grow and change in it and should still be as relevant tomorrow as it is today or was yesterday.


Here’s a process to help get you started. Take your current positioning, tagline or any of the company “statements” that you have floating around, or just write a simple sentence describing what you do. Gather together a group of people who know the organisation well – the more diverse the better.


Use the statement you have as a starting point and ask; why? Then take the answers and make a new statement. Then ask why? again. Keep iterating in this way until you dig below the every-day of what you do and how you do it. The process can take time or you might hit it first time – there are no guarantees, save this one. Once you have your promise it can transform the way you think about your organisation and it’s potential.


So what are you waiting for… what’s your promise?


See you next week.




Alignment is Michel’s passion. Through her work with Brandology here in Australia, and Brand Alignment Group in the United States, she helps organisations align who they are, with what they do and say to build more authentic and sustainable brands.


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