A string on your finger. A post-it note. An alert. Those are reminders.
They take different structures and forms, but they remind us to do what we said we would do.
And why do we have so many structures to remind us to do what we said we would do? Because it’s important to keep a promise. A promise, when kept, is powerful. A broken promise is equally powerful — and the fear of disappointing others and the damage that can be done by not following through on a promise drives 100 percent of business transactions. Not a single business transaction — no matter if it’s a five cent lemonade sale or a billion dollar space shuttle contract — happens without the expectations set by a promise. And when a promise is kept with a customer that has a vast network of friends and colleagues, it can lead to future successes through positive word of mouth and recommendations. A promise in business is what you deliver every day that can be technically proven to be true. It’s a constant confirmation that what you said you would do for a specific cost, package, contract, or exchange is what you repeatedly deliver on. Scale comes from a consistent delivery of your promise. Repeatability is where you perfect your promise.
People and brands always talk about promise, messaging and storytelling. But what’s behind a promise?
We sat down with Clifford A. Bailey, a serial entrepreneur and MBE, CEO and co-founder of TechSoft Systems and creator of Procurience (Supplier Management SaaS Platform); and Adam Moore, VP of Sustainable Sourcing at Stellar Consulting (previously Director of Supplier Diversity at Truist and CVS), to explore personal and professional promises. It was interesting to discover how each sees their personal and professional brands evolving and how those evolutions will impact the organizations they represent. We asked both to answer this question: What was the first thing you remember that had MEANING to you?
A PERSONAL brand, or a celebrity brand like Clifford A. Bailey’s, exists based on the reputation the individual has earned as a small business owner. Clifford is dedicated to helping people get to where they want to be. In all aspects of his personal and professional realm, he builds platforms that help people navigate transitions. In reality, Clifford is very specific about what he can or cannot do, because he is in a constant state of engineering solutions. His existing and prospective business partners consistently look to him (and his companies) for technology solutions that will help them solve social, economic or governance related issues within their business promises.
When we dug into the question, “What was the first thing you remember that had meaning to you?”, Clifford recalled a specific family event during which he carefully looked around the dining room table. The core of the family brand was present. The men and women around the table were people of integrity who’d been “chiseled strong.” In fact, they were strongholds both within the family and community. Clifford realized later in life that his family’s structure was managed by a set of unassailable values and engineered to address internal and external issues. Being a part of his family was most certainly a branded experience. As it turned out, Clifford had been groomed to tackle issues and engineer internal and external solutions for brands his whole life.
Adam Moore has a powerful personal brand as well. With a basis in financial analysis and an MBA, Adam looks at businesses for financial health, their ability to deliver on their promise, and confirmation that future partnerships can be mutually beneficial. While leading at Truist, he built some of the supplier diversity industry’s most powerful and impactful brands based on driving results. Yesterday, he was at the forefront of the diverse supply chain revolution at CVS. Today, he’s leading sustainable sourcing at Stellar Consulting, an MBE-certified organization. Any existing or future business partner who hears Adam’s name is sure to know his talent for building businesses inside and out. When we asked Adam to dig into what was meaningful to him, he reflected on his career-long dedication to the supplier diversity mission. He spoke of empathy, and the specific moment he realized that all supplier diversity professionals should understand the intellectual and emotional challenges that come with being on the diverse supply side. His comprehensive sense of what it means to deliver on a promise grows ever stronger as he embarks on his newest adventure: building out a sustainable supply chain at Stellar Consulting.
Personal promises are the basis of business promises — no matter how big the organization.
Clifford does what he says he will do — engineer customized software solutions while elevating the supply chain. As a CEO, colleague, service provider and mentor, his clients refer him regularly, his colleagues support him and his team remains focused. His “ecosystem” thrives with scalable, dependable, repeatable referrals, and recommendations and revenue that reflect what he is focused on. His business thrives, his clients’ businesses thrive, his employees thrive and the ecosystem continues to flourish.
Adam does what he says he will do — scale suppliers and enterprises through supplier diversity vetting and mentoring. Everyone in his ecosystem thrives. His corporate employers receive positive ratings from Wall Street, stockholders and employees. His suppliers receive revenue and contracts that reinforce THEIR promises. The better the company delivers, the more contracts Adam can seek to place and the more his suppliers succeed. Now on the supply side, Adam is a voice for diverse suppliers and is in the trenches encouraging corporate contracting from both sides of the buy/sell.
Promises represent the business results that your CUSTOMER encounters. It’s not just about what you “make” as a promise.
Clifford was influenced as a young boy by the strong family structure he grew up within — one that was engineered to encourage and build integrity and strength within its members, both male and female. As a result, he grew up within a powerful family brand equipped to address and resolve both internal and external issues.
Today, Clifford is a bona fide thought leader. His understanding of diverse supply and the diverse supply chain ensure that Procurience customers BELIEVE in TechSoft Systems’ ability to deliver engineered software solutions with integrity. As a result, more contracts for TechSoft Systems get confirmed and more commitments to Procurience get secured. TechSoft Systems’ clients get solutions that positively impact their ability to serve their customers. Procurience customers get more powerful solutions in securing contracts between highly qualified diverse suppliers and their supply chain needs, driving greater economic wellness in the suppliers they commit to.
Adam’s influence comes from years of talking the corporate talk but finding a softness in the corporate walk. He’s known for administering, creating and running several corporate initiatives, including a piece that was lacking: the strong voice of the certified diverse supplier. He became fascinated with the strong DEI proponents within firms and the search for a strong and diverse certified firm that knows how to talk both the languages of enterprise and entrepreneurialism. His mission became helping MBEs and corporations share the struggles and hardships they face when they try to do business with each other.
Adam’s customers believe in his ability to determine if a supplier can provide the sourcing promised, and navigate the procurement needs of the organizations he represents. As a result, more highly qualified diverse supplier contracts are secured to help deliver on his employer’s promise.
For Truist, it was diverse supplier contracts. For CVS, it was “delivering healthcare in ways no one else can.” And for Stellar, it will be driving the continual ascension of the Stellar brand and actively promoting sustainable sourcing in this indispensable space. They each get the benefits of powerful supply chain delivery and keeping promises while underwriting and expanding measurable positive community impact.
THERE ARE TWO JOURNEYS: A buyer journey and a supplier journey. When the two intersect, it should be mutually beneficial. What Clifford is focused on is helping both parties get there quicker, better and faster than what they are accustomed to. For Adam, it’s making sure the process of procurement helps both the buyer and supplier reach the highest potential outcome of value.
Adam and Clifford both promise highly qualified diverse supplier INTELLIGENCE.
- Clifford does it through providing services using artificial intelligence.
- Adam does it through buying services using emotional intelligence.
Now let’s talk about how promises are upheld through BUSINESS BRANDS.
A good promise takes time to evolve and take root. It gets proven over TIME.
Now that we are on the same page about what a promise impacts, let’s talk about what makes up a promise.
A good promise is of “value.” It’s like the executive summary of why someone would pay you for something. It is not the commodities of what a company (or individual) offers.
Brands often sell on “support” — the details of the brand. Support consists of all the details that prove you can deliver on your promise. It involves the details leading into the sum total.
A good promise is backed up by solid support (or evidence) of the brand promise.
Details provide your support. They are the types of people your company employs, the patents or IP you hold, the processes you can repeat, the types of solutions you’ve provided in the past, and the testimonials, locations, operations, services and capabilities you provide. And they are organized in a hierarchy of importance based on your unique promise.
A promise is not witty language — it is honest, pure and technical.
Your promise must be understood in the most basic manner. If someone has to figure it out or google it to understand, your promise is too clever. A good promise is easy to understand and creates the notion of, “Yes, I do need that and I want to learn more about what you are offering.”
A brand can’t promise to be honest. Honesty is the metric of a brand promise.
If a promise is well-developed in the realities of your company’s performance and delivery, then the promise will by definition, be honest. If there is honesty in the promise, the natural takeaway for the prospect, customer, employee and stakeholder will be that your brand is honest.
Signs of a Good Promise
- A good promise results in dependable, scalable and repeatable revenue.
- When a brand delivers on a dependable promise, revenue becomes dependable. That means that the promise impacts all internal operations, culture, purchasing, vetting, employee pathing and more. When all internal operations are aligned to create dependable outcomes, customers see that and do one or two things: they refer others and they engage in loyalty.
- A good promise leads to hyper focus on what you deliver every single day. Eventually, more people want that, and more people are needed to deliver on that promise. The more honed a promise is, the more streamlined a business is. Streamlined leads to effective scale.
- A repeatable outcome means that the brand can deliver over and over with the same power, passion and quality. It means that what customer X receives will be what customer Y receives. The promise delivers on repeatable positive outcomes.
It can feel overwhelming to think about the commitment required to deliver on a promise that drives scale, dependability and repeatability. What’s more overwhelming are the negative impacts of not honoring those commitments. But don’t worry. If you think about it, you’re probably doing the same things Clifford A. Bailey and Adam Moore do to fulfill their respective promises: owning your strengths and talents. Talking openly and honestly. And doing what it takes to ensure consistency. A brand promise is what your company delivers every day, day in and day out.
And don’t go it alone.
We find that entrepreneurs and employees drain themselves trying to craft really intense stories about their businesses in a tag line, a flip statement, or with “fewer words.” The truth is, behind every powerful promise is the intense support needed to prove it has integrity. When your support is aligned to defend your promise, it’s simplicity that wins every time.
People just want to know what value you offer. And that’s because they have something of value they want to offer to someone else. So keeping it simple is the best bet.
Jayne and MBE Magazine will use survey data to bring richer insights specific to the MBE universe into our grand finale article in December. We invite you to take the survey now.
Use the QR Code below or go to: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Clarity2022
Come join Jayne Agency, MBE Magazine, TechSoft and Stellar Consulting in our third webinar titled “Brand Promise – Finding Your Scalable, Repeatable, Dependable Revenue”, hosted by the brand strategy consultants of Jayne and the media experts at MBE Magazine. In this webinar, we’ll actively workshop questions around promise and support. September 8th, 11:00 – 12:30 pm EST/10:00 – 11:30 am CST. Stay until the end and enter a chance to win a half-page ad in MBE Magazine’s next issue with a featured spot in our 4th quarter webinar!
You can register here.
If you’d like to participate in a brand strategy session with Jayne Agency please feel free to reach out to us at Clarity@JayneAgency.com and we’d be happy to help you start exploring how to achieve clarity in 2022 and beyond.