I found myself in a conversation the other day about the Microsoft Brand and was stunned to realize that I could not articulate Microsoft's Brand Promise. Understanding that a brand promise is different than a tag line, I still thought I should be able to articulate it. FedEx's tag line might say: Absolutely positively overnight. But their brand promise is really: "you can trust us with your package". Volvo's tag line might be "There is more to life than a Volvo." but the brand promise is: "you and your family will be safe." I don't know what Apple's tag line is but I think their brand promise is "we know cool better than anyone (including you)". See my post the other day on the Apple brand promise.
Microsoft used to say "A PC on every desk and in every home" but that was more fortune telling than either a tag line or a brand promise. Here is an article from 2002 where Mich Mathews the Corporate VP of Marketing explains the campaign that intended to "help people realize their potential". The new Microsoft ads say "Windows 7 was my idea" but I have a hard time getting any promise out of that. Here is a recent article from the Seattle Times where David Webster, Chief Strategy Officer in the Microsoft Central Marketing group, explains the campaign but not a brand promise.
So what is the Microsoft brand promise?