Why are brand values important?
In short, I believe they matter for 3 key reasons:
Along with your brand purpose and personality, your values create the heartbeat of your brand.
As Howard Schultz said “If people believe they share values with a company, they will stay loyal to the brand” – and achieving brand loyalty is one of the ultimate aims for your brand.
Let’s take a closer look at each of the 3 reasons why your brand values matter:
1. Differentiate your business
Your values help shape what makes your brand different from competitors, and uniquely individual – so that it is difficult to copy the way you do business.
I often say that although many people will offer similar products or services, the approach you bring to your business is hard to imitate.
This is why you must hone your values so that you get to the most important 3 to 5 that truly define the core of your brand.
Having done this, you’ll have the foundation on which to build your strong brand.
2. The moral compass of your business
Values create the framework within which your business operates and also the culture of your company.
They create clear boundaries for all the decisions you make in the business – from strategic decisions to the everyday. This is because values determine behaviour and consistent behaviour creates company culture and brand consistency.
When you think about it, having a clear set of brand values makes your decision-making processes easier and faster too. Whether it’s a purchasing decision or providing an aspect of customer service or customer experience.
3. A magnet that attracts clients
Not just your clients – your values will also attract your employees and suppliers, as well as shareholders – any type of stakeholder.
This also means they can act as a repellent too.
This is why it’s good to know your dealbreakers – the things that your brand will absolutely not do – because these define what truly matters.
Your brand values help create an emotional bond with your target market – they are intrinsic to creating that key affinity or ‘click’ – when your target audience prefers to work with your brand.
Here are a few examples from clients I’ve worked with. Notice how they are specific to the business:
- Gardens designed to attract wildlife
- Plain speaking on financial matters
- Interior designs reflecting the symmetry in nature
- Cupcakes made only with fair trade chocolate
So, you can see that when your brand lives its values, it’s a key contributor that:
How do you define your brand values?
My approach to branding your business is to think in human terms, always.
Hence, just like a person, your brand believes in something – to quote Howard Schultz again “Customers must recognize that you stand for something.”
If you want to build a strong brand, you’ll need to put some thought into your values, so that every action your brand takes, every day aligns with them.
Here are some start points for inspiration, based on how Mary Gormandy White has categorised values in four ways:
- Based on a commitment to Behaviour and Character Traits such as dependability (myfm) or adventurousness (Patagonia)
- Some values are rooted in Rights and Causes – like environmentalism (Greenpeace) or human rights (Amnesty International)
- The Business Practices of your brand and how your products or services are made and marketed – like craftsmanship (Cushions & Creations)
- People tend to be comfortable buying from or working for a brand with a Company Culture that reflects their own personal values – like empowering women (Successful Women Academy)
One last thought
I describe brand values as intangibles. However I believe that it’s vital to translate them into tangible actions and behaviours. Because without this implementation your brand values will just be empty words.
So, once defined, make sure you and everyone working in the business, bring your brand values to life everyday. Remember that these, along with your brand purpose and personality, make your brand difficult to copy. You can read more in this post Use these 3 key ingredients to differentiate your brand and attract clients
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