Brand values are rooted in the core of your business model. Your brand values create the moral compass of your business. They help to define the culture of your business – and how you get things done.
Why do your brand values matter?
Your brand values help shape what makes your brand different, individual and irresistible to your prospects because they determine:
- Your behaviour
- How you express your brand personality and
- How you relate to others.
Your brand values will help to attract and keep customers, employees, suppliers and investors.
When you work in tune with your brand values you’ll feel satisfied. When you take on work that is not in tune with your brand values, you’ll feel uncomfortable or even anxious.
Your brand values are one of the keys to differentiating your business from your competitors.
Take Tesco and Sainsbury’s supermarkets in the UK.
Tesco is the biggest supermarket. It seemed that the bigger it got, the more arrogant it’s behaviour became. For many years it was not well-liked and people would spontaneously say ‘I don’t like shopping at Tesco’.
This affected their PR. It always seemed to be Tesco who got the bad publicity. They were the retailer highlighted in the ‘horsemeat in beef burgers’ food scandal. Eventually Tesco business results started to suffer.
One day, whilst driving past Tesco to shop at Sainsbury’s, I asked myself the question ‘why am I driving past Tesco to shop at Sainsbury’s?’
The answer lay in the better ‘fit’ of my personal values with those of the Sainsbury’s brand. Since that time, Tesco has got a new CEO and the core purpose and brand values have evolved. Now Tesco is back on the list of supermarkets I shop at, although not yet a favourite!
Tesco brand values
Tesco’s purpose used to be ‘We make what matters better, together’.
Now the core purpose has evolved to ‘Serving Britain’s shoppers a little better every day’ – which is more about us and less about the might of Tesco.
Here are the three Tesco core brand values:
This is what Tesco say about the value of their brand values:
‘Since we first introduced our Tesco Values more than a decade ago, they have become a vital part of our culture – and an essential underpinning of our growth and success. They ensure that every person at Tesco understands what is important – about how we work together as a team and how customers are at the centre of what we do. They are universal values, which have helped guide our people as Tesco has grown into new markets and new countries.’
Click here if you want to read more about Tesco values.
Sainsbury’s brand values
Sainsbury’s corporate mantra is ‘Our values are part of our long-term strategy for growth’. Take a look at what they say:
‘Our values underpin our strategy – they make good business sense and give us real competitive advantage. With 24 million customer transactions each week, 161,000 colleagues and over 2,000 direct supplying sites in over 55 countries, we need to manage our significant economic, social and environmental value chain.’
There are five Sainsbury’s core brand values:
The key difference for us, at the moment is how Sainsbury’s approach sourcing and how they treat their suppliers. Tesco used to be about power, size and scale and their culture is changing. Sainsbury’s just has the edge with a proactive approach to sourcing with integrity.
Sainsbury’s have created a brand positioning based on values that resonate with many people, including us. We feel better about ourselves when we shop there – because we can find fish sourced sustainably, Fair Trade coffee, tea and bananas.
It may seem a little thing for a Tesco buyer, but for us it’s a big thing that Sainsbury’s only stock Fair trade bananas and are the world’s largest retailer of Fairtrade by value, with sales of over £290m.
In short Sainsbury’s brand values match ours, which makes them a brand of preference. That’s how brand values work!
Click here if you want to read more about Sainsbury’s values.
How do you define your brand values?
When we work with you on your brand strategy and positioning, our process starts with defining your ideal client personas and the attributes and benefits of the products and services you offer each persona. It’s a straightforward exercise and includes benchmarking your competitors too.
The fun bit starts when we get human and a little bit emotional.
This is the part of our process that really helps with differentiating your business. It’s when we dig into why your brand behaves in the way it does and how your brand is perceived by your customers and prospects.
We start with your brand values and move onto your brand personality. The reason is simple – all your prospects have a choice – to buy from you or your competitor. After all there are lots of other businesses doing just what you do…
We go beyond the tick list of the usual suspects because these are the essential to every business:
Instead, we search for specific values, that relate to your unique way of working. Developing this specific list may also reveal what you have in common with your customers and suppliers. Remember that ‘like attracts like’.
Your brand values will help you create an emotional bond with your prospects. They are part of that ‘click’ – when they will prefer to work with you because:
- Your gardens are designed to attract wildlife
- You believe in plain speaking on financial matters
- Your interior designs reflect the symmetry you love in nature
- Your cupcakes are only made with fair trade chocolate
- You coach shy women, like you, to build their confidence and enable them to shine in their profession.
Other tips to try:
Define your dealbreaker
One way to define your brand values is to define your dealbreaker.
What will you never do in business? The opposite could be a core brand value.
Analyse your brands of preference
Think about where you prefer to shop and who you prefer to buy from.
Ask yourself why and your answers could help you discover more about your own brand values…
Know your brand values
Knowing your brand values gives you greater clarity on the things that really matter in your business:
- The culture of your business
- The way you work with suppliers, employees and customers
- How you bring your products or services to market
Let’s hear from you
What are your 5 core brand values?
If you find it difficult to define your brand values, do get in touch and we can help.