First, let’s take a look at how your core values can positively impact your brand.
Why are your brand values important?
Brand values, when taken seriously by executives, are important because they affect how consumers and employees see and interact with your brand. Here are 12 ways brand values can have a positive impact on your brand:
- Let your audience know what to expect from your brand
- Build a memorable brand
- Improves brand consistency
- Promotes brand authenticity and uniqueness
- Builds a connection with your customers
- Helps to attract customers who share the same values
- Promotes customer loyalty – ensures you keep making sales for years to come
- Leads to higher ROI and customer loyalty
- Increases sales & awareness
- Differentiate your company from the competition
- Attracts and binds top talent – 47% of active job seekers Name the corporate culture as the driving force behind the job search
- Increases the motivation and commitment of employees – 76% of employees believe that clearly defined business goals help cultivate a positive work culture
This is how you develop your brand values
The goal is for your brand values to reflect the reality of your company. Using brand values like Customer Service, Quality, Integrity, and Teamwork is easy, but remember that these are overused values. You want to stand out from the crowd and differentiate yourself.
While figuring out your unique core values can be difficult and time-consuming, it’s important to get the work done ahead of time to take advantage of the benefits in the backend. Here is my 4 step method for developing your core brand values.
Brands as inspiration
Check out brands you love (and hate! I’ll get to that later …) for inspiration. Use your personal experiences to list what made them special. The goal is to capture the following …
- Think about what appeals to you and this brand.
- How do you feel about interacting with this brand?
- Have you ever bought from this brand? If so, how was the experience?
For any brand that you’ve had a negative experience with, it’s important to capture it and how it has changed your perception of the brand and your future purchases from that brand.
With all of this information, check to see if you can identify consistent topics, qualities, experiences, and / or values that emerge that can help develop your brand values.
Gather all of the past consumer research and customer feedback the company has received over the past two to three years. Pull together and analyze the following:
- Customer ratings / feedback
- Social media comments
- Live chat sessions / support
- Recorded sales calls
- Discussions in the online community forum
- Customer service call feedback
- Polls and polls
- Focus groups
- Quantitative research / testing
After analyzing this data, look for consistent topics, qualities, experiences, and / or values that emerge that can help develop your brand values.
Assemble a team of executives, key stakeholders (i.e. founders, board members, investors, suppliers, customers) and / or employees. You should only involve those people who really understand why you are in business, not what your business is. There is a difference.
Assign a moderator to conduct this brainstorming session. The moderator…
- Facilitates the discussion
- Remain neutral in discussions
- Has the ability to control group politics
- Is the administrator: greets / intros, keeps time, delegates tasks, keeps everyone at work, etc.
- Builds a trusting relationship with the participants
- Encourages all members to participate
- Is a good decision maker
As a group, start brainstorming your brand values. List them in the room for everyone to see. Here are a few ideas to start your brainstorming session:
- A list of 600 basic values to get you started: templates
- Questions to the team:
- What do you value most about your brand?
- What do you think your brand stands for?
- What values do you value that are shown by your current employees?
- What is important in the way you run your business?
Once you’ve made your full list, you’re ready to narrow it down to the first three through five. Give people colored dots that represent their top 1 to 5 choices. Have everyone walk around the room and put their colored dots next to the top five brand values (i.e. first choice is red, second choice is green, etc.)
Once you have your three to five key brand values, put them together, share them with the team, and sit down with them for a while. It is important to see whether the company lives these brand values. You may need to go back and make some adjustments as a team.
Make you unique
If you want your brand to stand out from the competition, developing unique brand values is imperative. Use the tips above to draw on your brand’s DNA as you begin developing your core values. Here are four additional tips to ensure your brand values are having the intended effect:
- Be specific: make sure your core values are clear and specific.
- Prompt for action: Use verbs to prompt for action.
- Short sentences: Easier to remember and more likely to trigger a reaction.
- Multi-sensory branding: Use as many senses as possible to communicate your brand values (e.g. music, video, sound, visuals, etc.). Raja Rajamannar has a great book on quantum marketing that talks about it.
In today’s market, being good is not enough – you have to be exceptional! There are a ton of competitors who are great and they are hacking on your heels. To be exceptional, you need to invest the time and effort developing your brand values. Show your audience exactly who you are, what you stand for, and why you are unique. You have that!
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