Building a legacy promise

Howard Lake | 17 July 2008 | Blogs

Buying a TV today isn’t what it used to be. As I searched for a solution I found my way back to the sureness that is John Lewis. I had succumbed to the brand promise.
Brand promise is not a mission statement – which focuses on what you are, your purpose. It’s a promise to the customer – what you offer. Because we focus on our cause we can easily forget the experience the donor has firstly in their life and secondly when they interact with a charity. That experience creates a set of objections that build major obstacles to leaving a gift in a will. Once identified, it’s a short walk to how you meet them but requires a clear path and map. You need 3 things in place as a starter. Firstly, an organisational commitment and approach. Secondly – a clear strategy. Thirdly, people behaving in the right way. From this, which comes first – building the offer to your donor or building the infrastructure to support one? We chose the offer – from which we could build and develop together.
A natural step therefore, was to meet deep routed legacy objections with an upfront commitment. Our legacy brand promise was born – from which came our legacy charter. 10 simple statements were crafted that met the key issues head on. The approach is the way we will change not the other way round. The strategy that follows is built around legacy conversations made possible by empowering all staff not just the legacy team to be able to talk about legacies using the charter as a means to reassure, to position ourselves, to lower the guard and to begin to feel confident. If we can get people feeling comfortable then we believe that the donors experience with us will become part of the change itself.
How many of you have had a brand promise broken at John Lewis? When you want to buy a TV or anything come to think about it, where are you most likely to end up? Exactly.
This is an abridged version of a full article that is in the current summer edition of Codicil – Smee and Ford‘s Legacy magazine