How to define your brand values and why it’s crucial to your business success

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Adam Cook

Without values, you have no brand.

Our core brand values are to be the base – the foundations – of everything brand-related. 

When we talk about branding, we don’t just mean your logos, colours, and typography. What does your business stand for? What are you working towards? Brand values should be at the core of all brand and business decisions.

Why Brand Values?

  • When your brand values are clear, your sales funnel shortens. Customers can decide much quicker if you’re the company for them as they align their values with yours. If your core values align then fantastic you’ve probably gained a quick sale. 
  • Having values with your customers that align means you have a common ground to foster a stronger relationship and turn your customers into advocates of your company. 
  • Creating a brand from scratch can be an arduous task, but by having core values set out you make this process much more straightforward when aligning brand and business decisions with your values; if your values don’t align, then it’s the wrong decision. 
  • Your employees will also benefit from having shared values. After all, if you don’t set out values for your team culture, then they’ll create their own by default. Having control means customer service satisfaction is much higher than average. It can also help streamline your hiring process and tell candidates exactly what you value in them. 

“62% of workers and 78% of Millennials said they’d accept a pay cut to work for a company with a mission that mirrored their values” – (Udemy)

Defining Your Core Values

Step 1 – The Competition

Gather your ideas on other brands you like and their values. Discuss your market and what your Competitor’s values are like – we should list these too, so we don’t entirely overlap values. Even if you do share similar values, phrase your value differently. Listing your competition’s values first makes “seeing where you fit in” easier, and gives you a better insight into your market and see any trends that might be occurring. 

Step 2 – Brand Archetypes

Archetypes work hand-in-hand with brand values. Brand archetypes are the personality behind your brand and help you further align your brand with a target audience. Take a look at the 12 classic archetypes and see where your business would naturally fit. You can also choose other characters from movies that you like, and breakdown what qualities you think would align with your company. 

Step 3 – Customer Feedback

There’s a chance you’ve been in business a while and still not seen the need for brand values until now. Use this as your advantage, because now you’ll have collected no end of feedback on your products, services and business. What do your customers think? Why did they choose you instead of the competition? Look back through your notes and feedback forms, and have them ready to feed into your brainstorming session. 

Step 4 – Brainstorming

No doubt you’ve collected some great ideas, now it’s your time to have a rethink and run-through of everything you’ve collected. Sive through the values you’ve found, group them into similar characteristics and match them up against your chosen brand archetype. Or maybe you’ve actually collected a rather clear set of values your company would easily fit in and already know what fits best. 

Big Brands and their values

Apple

  • Think Different

The company that has brought the fastest innovations in the technology sector. Apple has its products and services at the core of it’s values, by making never-before-seen hardware that works seamlessly with the software it runs on. Apple has worked to a common goal under their values of “Innovating” and “think differently”, knowing that customers will follow the very best products. Their think different campaign has stayed a constant reminder of Apple’s core values throughout everything they do. 

If we take a look at the product and packaging its simplicity and clean white look is so different from any other company. Their product launch events were the first of their kind, and Apple stores focus on radical customer service. 

The Apple brand has used a typical core value of product leadership, which is nothing new and many companies keep this at their core, yet Apple has dialled this up into an extreme form of products leading the company. 

McDonalds

  • Responsible Leadership
  • Progressiveness
  • Local Integration

McDonalds prides itself on being an ethical company. Their responsible leadership means they use their scale to be nutritionally mindful, reduce their waste, and to focus on sustainable and humane sourcing of produce. Similar to Apple’s innovation model, McDonalds phrases theirs as progressiveness. Their progressiveness means they are trying to move the industry forward and invent new and improved methods and products such as the Drive Thru and Happy Meal. Thirdly, they have capitalised on making themselves appear as “local” no matter where they are in the world. This big American brand invests in their restaurant’s community through local programs, hires locals, and matches local culture with their menus. 

Brand Values: Conclusion

Developed brand values have helped all brands create a strong identity and resonate with their audience. Values give meaning to a company’s existence instead of just competing blindly for sales. Any long-term business strategy would include brand values as a focus for market positioning. Establish your core values today and strengthen your brand anatomy. 

team discussing the importance of their brand's core values and brainstorming ideas