Why Are Brand Values more important than ever (and what are they anyway)?
Before I dive into answering this question, let’s start by defining what brand values are and why you should even have them in the first place? At my recent presentation at the KTBA (Kensington Talmadge Business Association), I noticed that there is still a lot of confusion around brand values.
What are Brand Values:
Brand values are the core belief system your company stands by. They are a set of underlying principles that show up in your business practice almost every day and are the heart center of your entire brand system.
Brand Values will:
- keep your brand consistent and reliable: people will start to recognize your brand and can count on the quality of your offerings
- make your brand predictable: clients—and people in general—feel comfortable knowing what to expect
- build trust with your audience: clients know exactly what they get
- help you with all of your decisions: always measure your decisions against your values. Does your decision hold true to your values?
- attract the right clients (defer the wrong ones): clients usually buy from businesses that align with their values or values they thrive to make their own. If your values are not in alignment, they are usually not interested.
- allow you to grow your business that you can be proud of. After all, your brand values are a reflection of yourself, and this way, you can stay true to yourself and the reason why you got into business in the first place
Brand Values guide the way your brand does pretty much everything, including:
- how you react to world events
- how you respond to questions and client inquiries
- the service or product you offer
- the content of all of your messaging and communications
- your choice of words and the way you sound
- the look and feel of your brand (think logo, colors, pattern, typography)
- What photos and imagery you use
- who you hire, and how your team interacts
- where you speak (conferences, podcasts, Clubhouse rooms), and what you talk about
- where you write (guest blogs, articles, Social Media posts), and what you write about
- who you partner or collaborate with, and what organization you join and affiliate with
- who you choose as a vendor
- where you manufacture your products and what materials you use
- how you give back (think donations, mentoring, and sponsorships)
- who you endorse and accept advertising from
- what Social Media platforms you use
- where and how you market your products and services
- what your retail and office environment looks like
- what your customer’s journey looks like and the business processes you have in place
- how does your website look and function
- what tools do you use (physical tools but also software and programs)
So, yes, pretty much everything.
Examples Of Brand Values
To clarify, let’s look at a few examples of brand values. Let’s say, for instance, one of your values is that you “respect your client’s time and just get it done,” then you would have a straightforward, easy-to-navigate, clear website with an easy check-out process and clear communication. If your brand values are “inclusion and diversity”, then you would probably speak up during world events and social uprisings such as the Black Lives Matter movement. Your team would make it a priority to show diversity in all of your imagery, and even have translations of your communications material available in other languages.
Once you established your Brand Values, they should be set in stone. Yes, you can always go back and revise and refine them, but the core beliefs should remain the same.
Brand Values should be:
- timeless and unwavering: ask yourself, are these values true today and will they be true in 10 years?
- start from the inside out: brand values come from the leadership and team and should be brought to attention regularly to encourage commitment and action
- actionable: brand values should have some sort of action attached to them and be as tangible and functional as possible. Instead of just declaring “Integrity” as your value, think of what integrity means for your business. SnapLogic defines integrity for itself as following “Integrity is the defining quality of our people and our work. Strive to do the right thing always, act truthfully and honorably, and be unafraid in being your true self. Do it all even when no one is watching.”
- unique to your brand: there are many great values out there, and most of them you probably strive to embrace. But think of the most important ones you are really passionate about and won’t compromise for anything.
- inspirational and aspirational: your brand values should inspire your team and your actions every day. They can also be aspirational. If there are values that you are super passionate about but don’t really practice yet, that’s OK. Sometimes just declaring them triggers commitment and action. Just be realistic.
So, why do Brand Values matter more than ever?
The last year was a year of tumult with the pandemic, social injustice, economic fluctuation, and presidential change. We were all asked to stand up for what we believe and even challenged to take a closer look at our values. With more buying choices than ever and the ease of selecting brands at our fingertips (right on the keyboard), we demand the same activism from the brands we consider. We want to see what they are all about beyond their offerings and features. And if it aligns with our values, we commit, return, and ultimately become fans, even if they are more expensive.
Implementing Brand Values
So, yes. I strongly encourage you to establish your own Brand Values. Define them on your own or with your team and write them down. Don’t just plug them into a Google Doc and then forget about it. No. Find a way to incorporate them into your daily work life. Display huge decals in your office lobby, so your team and clients see these values when they walk in, (post-pandemic, of course). Or have smaller frames sitting on everybody’s desk. For one client, we wrote these values on a stress ball that everyone got to squeeze as needed. Another client printed them on bowling pins (it is a bowling fun center) and passed these around weekly depending on which employee displayed that value most that week. There are many creative ways of making these values visually prominent to be seen every day. It is important to ingrain these values internally first to live them out publicly. If your values are nicely formulated, think about incorporating them onto your website. Then they not only serve as an internal statement but also as a promise to your clients.
Here are a few great examples of brand values from Google, Starbucks, Adidas, and my own Lime&Co values:
If you are interested in defining your values, I put together a handy and FREE workbook on how to define your own brand values in 3 simple steps.
? You can find the FREE WORKBOOK here ?
Take your time with it, involve your team, and iterate until you are happy with the outcome and feel like these values are 100% true to you.
This exercise is part of my CLEARLY BRANDED Signature package work I do with my clients very early on in the process because I believe it is that important.
Do you have any questions or want to see how I can help you to advance your brand, schedule a 30-minute call with me.
We are also proud to be named one of the Top 30 Branding Agencies in San Diego by DesignRush. DesignRush is a B2B marketplace that connects brands with professional full-service agencies, web design companies, digital marketing firms, and top technology companies.