Brand values are the ruling principles and beliefs that a company stands for and incorporates into its identity and operations.
They are crucial in shaping a brand’s reputation and influencing how consumers perceive and interact with the company.
Firstly, brand values establish a sense of purpose and identity for the organization. They go beyond just selling products or services; they communicate what the company believes in and its commitment to certain ideals.
When consumers relate to these values, they are more likely to grow an emotional connection with the brand, fostering loyalty and trust.
As brands align their values with those of their customers, they can create a powerful sense of community and shared purpose.
Unquestionably, brand values are not just about what a company says but what it does.
In this guide, you’ll learn what brand values are, how to identify yours, and how they’re communicated. You’ll also see real-world examples to inspire you.
Here’s a proper definition of the term.
What are Brand Values?
Brand values are the fundamental principles, beliefs, and ethical standards that a company or organization stands for and uses as a guiding framework for its actions, decisions, and interactions.
These values serve as a compass, shaping the company’s culture, behavior, and the way it communicates with its stakeholders, including customers, employees, and the public.
They represent the core and identity of the brand, helping to establish trust, build relationships, and differentiate the brand in the marketplace.
Brand values are often reflected in the company’s mission statement, corporate culture, and the messages it conveys through marketing and branding efforts.
Think of them as the heart of your brand.
Developing brand values isn’t a task to be taken lightly. You’ve got to sit down, reflect on what your brand represents, and articulate those principles clearly.
Identifying Your Brand Values
So, let’s talk about how establishing brand values. This process is introspective and involves asking yourself, “Who am I as a brand?”
It’s important to involve key stakeholders in this process and ensure your company’s core values align with your mission and vision.
The Introspective Process
The introspective process of defining who you are as a brand is a crucial step in brand development and marketing. Just as individuals have unique personalities, values, and identities, brands also have distinct characteristics and attributes that define them.
Here are some key elements to consider when conducting the introspective process to define your brand:
- Mission and Purpose: Start by articulating the fundamental reason your brand exists. What problem does it solve? What need does it fulfill? Your mission should reflect your brand’s core purpose and the value it brings to customers or society.
- Values and Beliefs: Identify the core values and beliefs that guide your brand’s actions and decisions. What principles are non-negotiable for your brand? These values often resonate with your target audience and help shape your brand’s identity.
- Target Audience: Understand your target audience deeply. Who are your ideal customers? What are their needs, preferences, and pain points? Your brand should align with the aspirations and desires of your target market.
- Brand Personality: Consider the personality traits that characterize your brand. Is it playful, serious, compassionate, innovative, or something else? Define a brand personality that aligns with your values and resonates with your audience.
- Customer Experience: Consider how customers interact with your brand at every touchpoint. Each interaction should reflect your brand’s identity and values, from the website to customer support.
- Brand Promise: What can customers anticipate when they choose your brand? Your brand promise should be clear and consistently delivered to build trust and loyalty.
Ultimately, the introspective process of defining your brand is an ongoing journey. It is essential to stay true to your brand’s core values and consistently communicate them to build a strong, authentic, and memorable brand identity that resonates with your target audience.
Involving Key Stakeholders
Stakeholders often include employees, customers, suppliers, and investors who are vested in the company’s success.
By engaging them in the process, you demonstrate that their opinions and perspectives matter and tap into their collective wisdom and diverse insights.
When involved, employees are more likely to feel a sense of ownership and commitment to these values, leading to increased morale and productivity.
Considering your customers and suppliers can help create a brand image that appeals to the target audience and fosters loyalty.
This collaborative approach fosters a sense of cohesion and shared purpose within the organization, which can be a powerful driver of brand success.
- Invest in Conversations: Regularly communicate with your stakeholders to understand their perspectives. This will help to define your strong core values.
- Share the Vision: Ensure they understand and are aligned with your brand strategy.
- Invite Feedback: Encourage them to voice their opinions. Their input can enhance brand loyalty.
- Implement Changes: Act on the valuable insights they provide. This will solidify their trust in your brand.
Excellent Real-World Examples
Let’s dive into some excellent real-world examples of brand values that’ll give you a clearer understanding of brand values in action. Learning from powerful brands and effectively implementing their values is essential to forming a reputable identity.
LEGO, the Danish toy brand known for its iconic plastic building bricks, has a set of brand values that have contributed to its success and reputation over the years.
These values guide the company’s actions, decisions, and relationships with customers, employees, and the wider community.
While the exact wording and emphasis of these values may evolve over time, LEGO’s brand values generally include:
- Creativity: LEGO is all about inspiring and nurturing creativity in children and adults alike. The brand values the power of imagination and encourages people to think outside the box.
- Learning through Play: LEGO believes that play is an essential way for children to learn and develop critical skills. They create products that promote learning through hands-on, interactive play experiences.
- Quality: LEGO sets are known for their high quality and durability. The company values excellence in design, manufacturing, and materials to ensure that its products last for generations.
- Safety: Safety is a top priority for LEGO. They design their products with the well-being of children in mind and adhere to strict safety standards.
- Community: LEGO fosters a sense of community among its fans and customers. They encourage collaboration and sharing of ideas and creations through platforms like LEGO user groups (LUGs) and LEGO Ideas.
- Respect for the Environment: LEGO has made efforts to be environmentally responsible by investing in sustainable materials, such as plant-based plastics, and committing to reducing its carbon footprint.
- Innovation: The company values innovation and constantly explores new ways to enhance the play experience, whether through digital technologies like LEGO video games or new types of building sets.
It’s worth noting that these values have contributed to LEGO’s status as one of the world’s most recognized and respected toy brands.
Adidas is a renowned multinational corporation that designs, manufactures, and markets a wide range of athletic and sportswear products.
The company was founded in Germany in 1949 by Adolf Dassler, and its name, “Adidas,” is a portmanteau of his nickname, “Adi,” and the first three letters of his family name, “Das.”
Adidas is primarily recognized for its sports footwear, clothing, and accessories. The brand offers products for various sports, including soccer, basketball, running, tennis, and more.
- Performance: Adidas has a strong focus on performance in sports and athletics. They aim to create products that enhance athletes’ performance, whether professionals or everyday enthusiasts.
- Sustainability: Adidas is committed to sustainability and environmental responsibility. They work to reduce their environmental footprint by using sustainable materials, reducing waste, and implementing eco-friendly manufacturing processes.
- Integrity: Adidas values integrity in all aspects of its business, including its relationships with customers, suppliers, and employees. They aim to conduct business ethically and transparently.
- Diversity: Adidas promotes diversity and inclusion within its workforce and in its communities. They believe that diversity brings different perspectives and ideas, which can drive innovation and growth.
- Quality: Adidas places a high premium on the quality of its products. They aim to deliver durable, high-performance items that meet the expectations of their customers.
- Consumer-Centric: Adidas puts its customers at the center of its business. They heed customer feedback and strive to provide products and experiences that meet their needs and preferences.
Google is an international technology company that specializes in Internet-related services and products. Larry Page and Sergey Brin founded the company in 1998 while they were Ph.D. students at Stanford University in California, United States.
Google is one of the world’s largest and most well-known technology companies, and its name has become synonymous with internet searching.
Their company’s brand values include:
- Focus on the User: Google’s primary goal is to provide the best possible experience for its users. This involves understanding and meeting users’ needs, preferences, and expectations in all its products and services.
- Innovation: Google is known for its innovative spirit. The company encourages its employees to think creatively and develop new ideas and technologies that can improve people’s lives and the world.
- Openness: Google emphasizes transparency and openness in its operations. It has a history of making its products, platforms, and data open and accessible to the public when possible.
- Freedom and Flexibility: Google values a flexible work culture that allows employees to be creative and productive. The company has a reputation for offering various perks and benefits to its employees.
- Don’t Be Evil: Historically, Google’s unofficial motto was “Don’t Be Evil.” This value reflected the company’s commitment to ethical business practices and responsible use of technology for the betterment of society. It’s important to note that the wording of this value has evolved, and it may not be as prominent in Google’s official statements.
As Google maintains its global reach and continues to innovate and shape the digital landscape, it reflects these brand values in every aspect of its operations.
So, if you have already identified your core brand values, the next concern is how you can communicate them effectively.
Communicating Your Brand Values
Now, let’s talk about communicating your brand values. Creating a bold statement is not enough. You must integrate brand values into your marketing and messaging.
Values integration is an essential aspect of building a powerful and ethical brand. Consumers today are increasingly conscious of the values and principles that a company stands for, and they often make purchasing decisions based on these factors.
Here are some strategies for achieving this:
Brand messaging is the collective voice of your company. It is the unified and consistent communication style and content that represents your company’s identity, values, and offerings to your target audience.
Here, it encapsulates the essence of your brand, conveying its unique personality, purpose, and promise through various channels such as advertising, marketing materials, social media, and customer interactions.
Here are some steps to ensure that your marketing materials align with your business brand values:
- Know your target audience’s demographics, interests, and preferences. Tailor your messaging to resonate with their values and needs.
- Establish a brand style guide that outlines your brand’s visual and verbal identity. This guide should include guidelines for logo usage, color schemes, typography, and tone of voice.
- Choose language and tone that align with your brand values. For example, if one of your values is professionalism, use formal language and a serious tone. If you value creativity and innovation, adopt a more creative and innovative tone.
- Share stories that exemplify your brand values. Use narratives that connect with your audience emotionally and authentically.
- Maintain consistency in your social media posts by adhering to your brand’s tone, values, and visual style. Engage with your audience in a manner that reflects your brand identity.
- Ensure that your entire team, including marketing and customer support, understands and embraces your brand values. Consistency across all touchpoints is crucial.
Granted, consistency is key when it comes to reflecting your brand values in marketing materials. By following these steps and regularly assessing your efforts, you can create a brand that resonates with your target audience and builds trust and credibility over time.
Craft a Brand Story
A brand story is a narrative that a company creates to convey its unique identity, values, and purpose to its audience.
Undoubtedly, it goes beyond just the products or services a company offers and delves into the deeper, emotional aspects of the brand.
A compelling brand story typically outlines the company’s history, its founders’ motivations, and the journey that led to its establishment. It also articulates the company’s mission, vision, and core values, illustrating what it stands for and what it aims to achieve.
Through a brand story, a company connects with its target audience on a more personal and relatable level, forging a meaningful and enduring relationship.
Furthermore, a well-crafted brand story helps a company differentiate itself from competitors and resonate with consumers who share similar beliefs and values.
By telling a compelling brand story, a company can engage customers emotionally, inspire brand loyalty, and create a lasting impression that goes beyond the functional aspects of its products or services.
Accordingly, maintaining consistency across all touchpoints is critical.
Create a Brand Manifesto
A brand manifesto is a formal written statement that communicates a brand’s core beliefs, values, purpose, and mission. It serves as a foundational document that defines the essence of a brand and provides a guiding philosophy for the organization.
So, it clarifies why the brand exists and what it stands for, allowing both internal stakeholders (employees) and external stakeholders (customers, partners) to understand its purpose.
Manifestos are often written in an inspirational and passionate tone. They aim to connect with the audience on an emotional level, creating a sense of shared purpose and identity.
Train Your Team
Your team must understand and embody your core brand values. They should be able to articulate these values to customers and stakeholders.
Here are some ways to help you achieve this:
- Create Training Materials: Develop training materials that explain your brand values in detail. These materials can include documents, presentations, videos, and examples that illustrate how these values should be reflected in your team’s actions and interactions.
- Hold Brand Training Sessions: Schedule regular brand training sessions for your team. These can be in-person meetings, virtual webinars, or even self-paced online courses. During these SDR sessions, go over your brand values and explain their significance.
- Encourage Open Discussions: Foster an environment where team members feel comfortable discussing and asking questions about your brand values. Encourage them to share their thoughts on how these values can be integrated into their daily work.
- Provide Real-life Examples: Share real-life examples of situations where team members successfully embodied the brand values and situations where improvements were needed. These examples help team members understand how to apply the values in practical scenarios.
- Feedback and Coaching: Offer constructive feedback and coaching to team members. When they demonstrate alignment with the brand values, acknowledge and praise their efforts. For areas where improvement is needed, provide guidance on how to embody these values better.
- Lead by Example: As a leader, set the example by consistently embodying the brand values in your actions and interactions. Your team will look to you as a role model, so walk the talk.
Training your team to fully embrace your brand values is essential for maintaining consistency in brand representation. Consistency in brand representation is crucial. So, how do we ensure that we provide a consistent experience to customers?
Consistency Across All Touchpoints
It’s essential to consistently represent your brand values across all touchpoints of your business. A consistent brand experience enhances the customer journey.
Whether a customer interacts with your brand through your website, social media, customer support, or physical stores, they should have a similar experience that aligns with your brand’s values and promises.
Here are basic strategies:
- Brand Guidelines: Create and document brand guidelines that detail your brand’s visual identity, voice, tone, and messaging. These guidelines should be accessible to everyone in your organization and any external partners.
- Regular Audits: Review all touchpoints to ensure they align with your brand values. This includes your website, social media profiles, marketing materials, product packaging, customer service interactions, and more.
- Feedback and Adaptation: Be open to feedback from customers and employees. If necessary, be willing to adapt and refine your brand representation better to meet your market’s evolving needs and expectations.
Building a strong, enduring brand takes time. Consistency helps reinforce your brand over time, making it more memorable and resilient to changing market conditions.
So, you’ve learned what brand values are, how to identify yours, seen some stellar examples, and discovered how to communicate them effectively. Remember, your brand values aren’t just pretty words; they’re the core of your business. They shape your decisions, inspire your team, and attract your ideal customers. So, put them into action, let them guide your journey, and watch your brand thrive.