Your brand values reflect your company’s culture and moral compass. They are the center of your business’s personality.
A good business always keeps its brand values at the core of all of its operations. But where do such values stem from?
You! The person in charge.
If your company has been doing business for a while and you still don’t have clearly defined values, it’s time to stop, get your core team together, lock yourselves in an office, and stay there until you have at least 5 of them.
And, even when you decide what your core values are, that doesn’t mean your work is done.
The relationship between brand and values
Your brand’s message, look, and relationship with customers are all dictated by your company’s values.
Every business owner who hasn’t been living under a rock without an internet connection knows their company’s brand has to have its cornerstone in that company.
Aside from the two “more tangible” aspects, the voice identity and visual identity, your brand values are the third key aspect to your brand.
Your brand’s values capture something vital. They capture the three Ps: purpose, personality, and proposition.
They serve as guides. Without them, your business is just another one among the myriad of others.
If you are not recognizable and distinct, your entire operation suffers, but mostly your sales and growth.
Value vs. Values: Are they the same thing?
This is not a simple yes or no question. Plenty of people look at brands from a monetary perspective.
For instance, a generic pair of blue jeans could be worth $20. A similar pair of jeans with a Levi label goes for $120.
Clearly, a brand’s value can be defined by a monetary sum. Values, on the other hand, come more complex semantics.
Let’s say customers go for a pair of jeans that cost $150 simply because the brand is prestigious, and they never buy that product again.
When prestige is the only reason behind the purchase, the brand isn’t worth that much. One time customers are not something businesses can rely on.
Let’s say there’s another pair of jeans under a different label that costs $60. But, the customers who buy that exact model keep buying it again and again. Obviously, that brand has much greater value.
Repeat business is the lifeline of most companies.
But, what “creates” a repeat customer?
According to the CEO of Starbucks, people will stay loyal to the brand if they share values with the company.
Kids don’t like Mc Donald’s Happy Meals because they’re meals. They like them because they are happy.
Having clearly defined values gives your customers something to connect to.
Defining core brand values
Deciding core values is not a “set it and forget it” thing.
You will have to revisit your decisions to make sure the values are always capturing what your business is and what it represents.
That especially goes for freelancers who are the entirety of their brand.
As you evolve as a person, so will your brand’s values. Because of that, it is important to constantly monitor that process.
However, if you want to make sure you have timeless brand values that will contribute to your business’s development, each value has to have some key properties.
So, what do good, well-defined values have in common?
1. They are clear
Vagueness is a bane of all brands.
Vague messages can be a temporary marketing tool to inspire curiosity, but that’s just what they are: temporary.
Make sure that the things you stand for are clear and easy to understand.
What does your brand revolve around? What do you represent? Are you doing a good job of communicating it?
Your values and how seriously you take them to have a great impact on your company’s relationship, as well as its perception among the public.
For instance, in the games-of-chance market, reputation is all. Vagueness can be interpreted as sketchiness.
Honesty and transparency are the core values that dictate the way their site operates.
They bring genuine real players’ genuine experiences and opinions to their visitors, and their brand name reflects that simply and clearly.
2. They are actionable
Choose actionable language when putting together your manifesto.
Don’t just go with platitudes like “integrity”. Instead, communicate to your customers what exactly do you do to do the right things.
When defining your principles, keep in mind that you are defining a guide on how your business will operate, and not just taglines that you will communicate to customers.
Analyze the customer base and competition. How does your endeavor differentiate from others in the same branch?
Make sure your brand’s values address gaps and flaws in the market.
While you’re studying the market, you may discover that your modus operandi is not unique and different from the rest.
Although it can be painful, make sure to address the issue.
3. They are meaningful
Hollow phrases that look like they’ve been randomly plucked from the Merriam-Webster won’t do you any good.
Only include principles you are willing to fight for. And once you’ve defined them, fight for them.
That way, you can rest assured your brand’s principles will resonate with consumers.
If you’re thinking of terms like reliable and friendly, throw them out of the window. They don’t describe what makes your business unique and powerful.
Which business isn’t advertised as reliable?
Think about what you’re truly passionate about and leave the idealized terms behind.
Don’t wait. Taking action must be your main priority. The best time to start defining what makes your brand is right now.
And once you know what it is, act on it.
If your brand is fully aligned with its core values, you’ll have greater engagement, greater success, loyal clients, and a team that has something meaningful to stand behind.
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