It is not an easy job to find your core brand values. But with that said, it might be critical to your brand’s success and something that definitely should be prioritized.
Too often, brand values are down-prioritized, forgotten, or simply ignored by companies. If done properly, your brand values will help you add credibility and trust to your brand and build long-lasting relationships between your customers and your organization, bringing you greater success in the long run.
But how do you determine those values? When identifying your unique brand values, there are different aspects to consider, but first, you need to understand what they are and why they are important.
What are Core Brand values?
When talking about core brand values, there are two different schools of thought about its definition: financial and perceived worth.
The financial worth is your company’s actual worth in terms of money. If you were to sell your company, what would it be worth?
The other definition, the perceived worth, is the far more interesting one. Your company’s perceived value will help you create the roadmap for your company’s journey.
Your perceived brand value is determined by how people feel about your brand, whether it’s how you contribute to their daily life, their social status, or their job. Brand values help create a genuine relationship between you and your audience and can turn a one-time customer into a lifelong brand advocate.
When building your brand, attributes such as visual identity, logos, and tonality will help you create recognition and awareness for your brand. But your brand values will deliver the real engagement from your audience.
Why are brand values important?
Beyond the products that you sell or the services you provide, your brand values are the foundation upon which your company should be built.
We can see a shift of change in the buyer decision, where consumers choose companies with values that align with their own and act to make the world a better place. People want to know about you, your company, and what you stand for. So, to stay relevant to your audience longer term, finding your brand values is critical.
Compared to a logo or brand colors that might change over time, your brand values are consistent and should always remain the same. Brand values are what will create true engagement and loyalty among your customers.
Despite the importance of brand values for building customer loyalty, the work of brand values is often not prioritized in companies. Have you tried to convince colleagues about the importance of brand values but been met with resistance?
If you have trouble convincing internal stakeholders about the importance of brand values, let us help you with some additional convincing arguments.
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Brand core values – a guiding star for your business strategy
Finding and establishing your brand core values does not only influence your customers; it facilitates how you run your business. Defining your brand values will be beneficial when:
Making decisions. You can always ask yourself – “Is this aligned with our brand values?
Shorten the sales cycle. When your values are distinct, prospects can easily see that your values align with theirs and seek contact.
Credibility – if you walk the talk. Choosing to stand for something and act on it will add trust and credibility to your brand.
Attract and hire the right people. A clear value culture makes it easier to hire new team members.
Discover new potential partners. Find new opportunities with companies that share the same values as you.
How to find your core brand values
Now, let’s get to work. We have talked about the importance of core brand values, and that you need to determine your own. But you can’t just choose words you like and run with them. Whether you are a start-up at the beginning of your journey or an established business looking to grow, you need to reflect on your current situation. Here are the steps to finding your brand values.
1. Don’t do it alone.
The creation of brand values is not a one-person job. Create a project group with people from different business areas and do the work together. This will gather insights from different parts of the company and be invaluable when finding your company’s brand values.
2. What is important to you?
Start by asking yourself what is important to you and your business. Do you have a specific matter that is close to your heart? What do you value, and how do you want to impact your surroundings?
Don’t take the easy way and google “example of brand values” and choose a standard word you think sounds good. Of course, Google is your friend when it comes to inspiration, but you need to use the inspiration in the right way. Choosing standard values will get you nowhere, or worse, backfire and reflect badly on your brand.
Stop thinking of an idealized version of how you want your business to be perceived. Dig deeper and think about what aligns with what you prioritize and how you operate in your daily work. What are your core values? Step back and look at how your company started and where it is going. There is a high chance that a significant core value is buried in your brand story.
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3. What you don’t want to be associated with
One way to start finding your brand values is to reflect on your brand experiences, especially the bad ones. Can you think of any situations related to a brand that you want to avoid? Maybe the product or service didn’t meet your expectations, or the customer service was bad. Are there any learnings you can take from those situations and say “that is not what I want my company to be associated with”?
It is usually easier to identify what you don’t want rather than what you want. So make a list or a map, and write all the things you don’t want to be associated with, and from that, you might start seeing a pattern and figure out what you truly value and care about.
4. What do your customers & competitors say?
When you are determining your brand values, you need to think outside of your business as well. You need to do a proper external scan of your customer’s wants and needs and analyze your competition.
Do market research about what your audience is missing and what matters to them. It’s much easier to fill an existing need in the market than convince your audience to feel the same way you do about a concept or value. Look for a gap in the market to see if your values fill that gap or you might need to re-consider to better differentiate yourself from the competition.
A great place to start is reviews sites such as G2 etc. to hear what your customers are saying about you and the competition.
5. You can’t be everything to everyone.
Find something or a few things that matter the most to you, and make it a part of your business DNA.
It is common to want to attract everyone in every possible way. But unfortunately, that can lead to diffused values and positioning which leaves you not really relevant to anyone.
Choose your path and decide on the core values closest to your heart and stick with them. You cannot be everything to everyone.
6. Stick to and live your values
Once you have identified your brand values, make sure they are something that you will stick to forever(or at least for a very long time). This might be the essential part when deciding on your brand values. You need to be able live by them. Otherwise, you might end up being accused of not walking the talk in the end.
Your brand values should be the guiding star for your company’s roadmap and help you navigate all areas of your business. Whether it’s how you communicate, operate, or when important business decisions must be made; stick with your values through thick and thin.
Example of Brand core values
One well-known example of a company that realized the importance of brand values is Apple. Apple was struggling with its positioning and launched a campaign called “Think different” to communicate its focus on making the best, most innovative products in the world. They managed to create a clear picture, making everyone well aware of their vision as well as their values.
Lego has definitely done its homework to differentiate itself and take advantage of its brand values. They have considered the fact that you need to attract both the user(children) and the buyer(parents). By finding the perfect balance between creative learning and high quality, Lego has positioned itself as a trusted and loved toymaker across the globe.
When you see the brand “Nike” the term “Just do it” tags along quite naturally, right? Nike’s values encourage success, and movement, and tell everyone(no matter their fitness level) that they can achieve their goals. And it is all summarized in a simple yet very powerful tagline that reminds people daily what Nike stands for.
Rome was not built in a day. Neither will your brand values. We cannot stress the importance of core brand values enough for the future success of your business. Identifying and implementing brand values takes time, but with the inspiration of this blog post, we hope that you have a roadmap to finding the brand values of your business.
And remember, your values need to be genuine, transparent, and naturally integrated into your daily business. Ensure that your core values are communicated and lived by throughout your organization, from the intern who started last month to the CFO working the numbers all day. The core values of your business are what shape the company’s culture and will be the key to creating long-lasting, strong relationships with your audience.
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