06 Jun 2023 - 6 minutes to read
Developing strong brand values is an essential part of your brand strategy and can impact the overall success of your business, whether you run an in-person physical store, an eCommerce website, or both.
But before we look at how to define brand values, lets understand what they are exactly,
To put it simply, core brand values are the foundational beliefs and principles that an organisation stands for. They give meaning to the existence of the business and must always portray what is truly important to the business, and therefore forming an essential part of the brand’s distinctive identity.
Core brand values must be completely honest and applied throughout every part of the brand strategy, from communication with consumers to strategic decision-making amongst employees and managers.
Brand values go hand-in-hand with a company's guiding principles, which state ‘how’ the business should act to meet these values and reach the set goals. For example, if your company’s brand value is ‘transparency’, then your guiding principle might be to show your pricing strategy in detail, or to be completely honest about where your products originate from.
So, now we know what they are, let’s find out how you can define your own brand values.
Here are some steps to help you define your brand values:
First and foremost, you need to clarify your brand's mission, purpose and vision, as these of course will have to align with your values. Ask yourself a number of questions such as: What is the reason my brand exists? What value does it bring to our customers and the world? What issues and problems does it solve?
You should also determine what truly sets you apart and makes you unique from competitors in your industry. Pinpoint your unique strengths, features, and characteristics as these qualities will mould your brand values and differentiate you from others.
You should also gather insights from key stakeholders such as employees, current customers and your target audience, as this will help you to gain a full perspective and ensure that the values you choose resonate with key individuals involved in or effected by your business.
You can conduct this research in a number of ways:
Once you’ve gathered valuable insights from key stakeholders, it’s a good idea to round up the troops and set up a brainstorming session with key team members. The aim of this session would be to generate a list of potential brand values by considering words, phrases, or concepts that represent your brand. The sort of questions you could be asking include ‘What do we value most as a company?’ or ‘What does our brand stand for?’. Then work together to narrow down this list until you have around 3-5 main brand values.
Remember to make your values memorable, meaningful and of course, unique to your brand.
It’s also worth looking at the values of the brands you love and inspire you for some ideas. Make a list of brands you love and note down the different qualities that make them unique and special. Then determine the consistent themes and qualities that you find and use them as a guide for developing your own core brand values.
American Express is a great example of a large organisation with strong core values. By consistently providing faultless customer service, the business stays true to its brand mission: “Provide the world’s best customer experience every day”. Some of it’s brand values are as follows:
Having a strong set of core brand values helps a business in many ways - it helps to build customer loyalty and of course attract the best possible talent. Let’s take a deeper look at these benefits:
The key to long-term business success is having loyal, returning customers. Did you know that 'existing customers are 50% more likely to try new products and spend 31% more, on average, compared to new customers'? Nowadays, consumer trust is at an all-time low, which is why clearly establishing core brand values and constantly delivering on these values will help you maintain brand authenticity and help build a strong connection with customers, which in turn increases loyalty and retention.
When customers feel connected with your values, they are much more likely to become brand advocates, spreading positive word-of-mouth and driving organic growth.
Just like customers do, employees want their business to have core values, too. Brands with clear, strong values can easily attract potential talent whose personal values align with the brand’s core values. What’s more, recent studies show that working for a business with similar values of their own has a significant impact on employees’ engagement and retention rates.
With such a crowded marketplace, it’s essential that your brand has its own distinct identity. This is the beauty of having a strong set of core brand values as they differentiate your brand from competitors by illustrating what your business stands for and your principles. Strong brand values can help your business discover its own niche and attract like-minded customers who align with your beliefs.
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Written by Kate Jones for Tramshed Tech.