Why you need great brand values and how to create them
In our branding series, we have talked about brand purpose and your brand mission statement and vision statement already.
A final step in establishing the brand core is to look at the brand values. These three are defining your core brand and will help you build customer relationships much faster and stronger.
Brand values are all about feelings and experiences, both positive and negative. We will try to map out what we like to be and don't like about competitors and other brands. It will be the guide in your future communication.
Do your brand guidelines, company’s visuals, messages, and actions consistently communicate your core brand values as well? Does your company have well-defined core brand values, to begin with?
All questions we want to see answered to finish up the core of our brand. Let's go through a step-by-step guide on how to add company values and take a look at a few brand values examples.
Step by step to your core brand values
Strong brand values based on experiences
Let's start with the negative experiences. Describe negative experiences you had with brands in a similar category. Or figure out what could go wrong with your own brand and what you would absolutely hate happening to your customers.
This is everything you really don't want to be linked to your service in any way possible. Of course, all negative experiences are to avoid, but these are the ones you know your customers would really hate and maybe are experiencing with other competitors.
Next, what’d be the opposite, the desirable experience that you wish you had? Turn all the negative into positive. What makes your brand pop, make it memorable to your customers because of the positive experience they have with your brand.
If you are really focused on customer experience and them feeling at home, make sure you act upon this. Make every experience with your brand memorable, at ease, down to earth, and close to your customer. Almost as if you are next door.
Brand values based on feelings
Again, let's start with the negative. Focus on feelings that these negative experiences left you with. How did that bad brand experience make you feel and how long did these feelings actually stay linked to the brand?
How did the positive experiences make you feel internal? What’d be the desirable positive feeling?
In the end, you are left with all the positive things that you want your brand to represent. It's all you want to be and all you want your competitors to fail at. These core values matter and should be represented at all times, everywhere, by everyone!
As soon as your customer feel you are consistent in getting your brand strategy and strong core values out you will establish brand loyalty as well.
Industry leaders have a few things in common
- They are actionable - Your core values are not just pretty words on a piece of paper or a website. They should invoke the action, and add an action to it.
- They are memorable - Employees are more likely to act on the company's core values when they’re easy to remember. By yourself, your employees, and also your customers.
- They are unique to your brand - Everyone is unique, and so is your company culture, and your core values should reflect what makes your brand special.
- They are specific - To the point, core values should be short and leave no room for any vagueness or interpretation.
- They are meaningful - Brand values play a crucial part in your brand story. They don't just need to sound good, they need to have a deeper meaning for you and your business.
- They are accessible - They should be all over your company. On your website, in the office, in your images, and on social media. Really put them at the center of your brand!
Living by example
Let's take Google's brand value examples. They have set out their brand values and even made a full page out of it. A quick list of their values:
- Focus on the user and all else will follow.
- It’s best to do one thing really, really well.
- Fast is better than slow.
- Democracy on the web works.
- You don’t need to be at your desk to need an answer.
- You can make money without doing evil.
- There’s always more information out there.
- The need for information crosses all borders.
- You can be serious without a suit.
- Great just isn’t good enough.
Google brand's core values are a great example as they meet the requirements we've set above...
They are actionable, directly addressing the employees and making them memorable as well as they breathe the google culture. They obviously are unique to the brand, in particular, they really have a deeper meaning for the company itself, and last but not least, they are all over the place. You can even find them online on their philosophy page.
Let's wrap up defining your brand core
Set up your brand purpose
It all starts with defining your brand purpose. A fundamental essence of your brand. A powerful brand purpose definition or story sets out a company's true intention to change the world for the better.
In a world where so many brands are clamoring for attention, it improves the loyalty of a customer, sets you apart from your competitors and it also sets a clear and strong corporate culture.
Define your mission and vision statement
Next, we have defined the mission and vision statement. Many are confused as they are closely connected, but they are definitely not the same.
A mission statement will let your target audience know what products and services it provides to them and why they are doing so.
A vision statement looks more towards the future, setting a future brand vision of where you want to take your company. A bit visionary, maybe even a bit dreamy to some...
Finishing up the brand core with your brand values
Core values provide you with how you want others to experience your brand. This can be about your visual identity and the feeling they get, but even more, a brand's values are about the experience a customer has.
What makes them feel a particular way after having contact with you. Whether it is about one-time customers or very loyal customers, they are should feel the same way after an interaction. Only then you can start to create meaningful relationships with your company.
A few examples of brand value keywords
Sustainability, Innovation, Excellence, Reliability, Loyal, Committed, Dependable, Passionate, Courageous, Respectful, Inspiring, Honesty, Integrity, Consistent, Efficient, Humorous, Optimistic, Positive, Nurturing, Open-minded, Adventurous, Resourceful, Customer Service, Fun, Humble, Community, Responsibility, Quality, Satisfaction, Delight, Support, Caring, Partnership, Global, Transformation, Leadership, Teamwork, Diversity, Humility, Transparency, Results, Fanatical, Friends, Family, Listening, Learning, Educating, Remarkable