Brands deliver on their promises

Brands that put customer services at the heart of their strategy lead the way in the latest Promise Index research, which measures whether a consumer’s experience exceeds their expectations.


Catherine Kite, direct marketing manager at Monarch believes the airline’s customer service philosophy is why the business has a positive experience gap in the Promise Index. Monarch is looking to focus more of its marketing on its customer service proposition.

The whole travel market is price driven at the moment and some people will only look at cost. We’re competitive on price, but it’s also about the underlying “care” element. We’re trying to offer an alternative experience to the easyJets and Ryanairs of this world.

The philosophy around customer care focuses on the onboard experience. We try

to ensure there’s a much more pleasant travel experience – the fact you can pre-allocate your seats makes it a different experience to some of our competitors.

In the past 12 months we have been bringing the customer care element more to the front in our marketing. We need to have those tactical price messages there because it will be the first thing that draws people in, but the care element still plays are crucial part in our marketing. We want the consumer perception to be that Monarch is about being able to get a more pleasant experience, plus a good price.    


Tom Peck, head of consumer insight at McDonald’s, explains why he believes the fast-food chain has moved up 11 places in this year’s Promise Index

It’s important to tailor your offering to fit consumer perceptions [as shown in the Promise Index]. Consumers used to perceive McDonald’s as a rather tired, old-fashioned burger chain, relying on price to pull customers into store.

The company has smartened up its image, is introducing new menu items and providing free WiFi access, opening at 6am and staying open late. The look and feel tries to be up to date and modern.

For just over a year, the brand has been communicating exactly what ingredients and produce go into its Happy Meals. The Planting ad, and more recently the Big Zero (“nothing added”) communicate that chicken nuggets are made with white breast meat and our potatoes are grown by UK and Irish farmers.

The brand has also embarked on a huge reimaging programme for all its stores. Instead of plastic chairs and red colours, the stores now feature smart seats, trendy benches and lighting. Three years ago customers were minded to buy and leave as quickly as possible. Now we want customers to linger, socialise, hook up to the internet and drink a cappuccino.


Innovation is a key reason for the business being at the top of the Promise Index, but ensuring its core search engine works efficiently for

customers is still the most important focus, says Dan Cobley, Google’s director of marketing for central and northern Europe

We’re honoured to be included in the Promise Index for our search offering. Our mission is “making the world’s information universally accessible”, but we still have a long way to go in achieving this aim.

We’ve come far in ten years, but search is by no means a solved problem. Although we’re innovating in a variety of areas, the majority of our engineering resources are still dedicated to our core search engine.

We make hundreds of tweaks to Google search every year to make our results faster and more relevant. Hopefully users and businesses alike will continue to find it valuable.



Consumers are asked to rate each brand included in the Promise Index on image and experience, giving both a score out of 10.

These are then divided by two to give an overall score. The overall gap between image and experience has closed in the 2009 table showing that more businesses are delivering what they promise.

A “positive” promise gap is where experience is greater than expectation. This means a brand delivers more for the customer than expected. A “negative” promise gap is where experience is less than expectation, which means a brand is underperforming.

Those companies that can close the gap stand to make financial rewards. Those with a “positive gap” on average have a revenue growth of 10.5%; those with no gap have an average growth of 4.1%; and those with a “negative gap” have an average growth of 2.8%.

These growth figures were worked out following a joint study with the London School of Economics in 2006 to determine how image and experience had an effect on economic performance of a business.  



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