Brands are more and more human and people want to interact with the brand as humanely as possible. That means you should consider behaving like a human being… as a brand. So, how about your values?
Brands are nothing but a set of perceptions, if the brand is well built they will be induced and controllable, if not, they are organic and uncontrollable. A brand has two functional components: an external one, oriented towards the client and an internal one, oriented towards the people inside the organization. They create the employer brand, structures and procedures on one side, and the identity and personality of the brand on the other.
Internally brand values have the purpose to draw the guidelines for employees and management teams.
To influence brand perception is necessary to go through a process that it nor simple, nor easy to implement. It’s absolutely necessary to know our target audience, to know its values and needs and then to define a set of our own values to build the brand upon. Any project starts with the foundation and brand values are exactly that.
What are brand values actually?
Brand values are the core components of an organization but they are not just a set of words put on a wall, on a website or on some promotional materials, they need to be supported by action. They’re brought to life through internal and external actions of the brand. Brand values are the elements that build the organization internally and externally. They will dictate the internal dynamic and the way employees see their place in the organization.
The employer brand will be built on brand values and the set of perceptions that make your company interesting and attractive for potential employees. Brand values propagate through the company efficiently when they are fully understood and have a clear usage guide. To maximize their potential it’s necessary to make their implementation as simple and clear as possible.
Brand values are also relevant for the potential client, especially now when the relationship between consumers and brands has changed significantly. Millennials want meaningful relationships with brands, they want brands that share their values and that can help them express themselves. This requires that the brand’s value system is well defined, strong and well implemented in communication. Consistency is also very important, you need to put in a continuous effort to maintain and perpetuate the brand’s values.
How do you discover brand values?
You have to start with the people inside the business, yourself as an owner or your employees, and focus your attention on what makes you love what you do, what kind of organization you want to have and how do you want the brand to be perceived. It’s a simple idea: tell me who you are and I’ll tell you how to communicate.
The values of a brand are established taking into consideration the target audience and by being consistent with your business purpose. They are most relevant when defining your internal systems, so they need to be connected with your values as a business owner. The culture of the organization will be built on them so it’s really important they relate to everyone behind it.
When you set up the brand values you need to keep in mind what you desire when it comes to business performance and what you want your audience to feel about you. Brand values are divided between employees and clients, so they need to be established considering both sides of the spectrum. For example, if one of your main values is “performance” you need to know that you’ll require performance from your employees and promise performance to your customers. It works the other way around, too. A brand value needs to be actionable and easily implemented at all levels of the organization. This requirement will also help you establish what type of brand value suits you the best.
Another important thing when you set your brand values is how easy they will be to keep, just like a promise, because communicating your values means making a commitment. Maintaining these values is a big influence on the brand’s consistency and credibility, so you need to be damn sure you’ll be able to do it. Brand values can boost your brand in the minds of the audience, but “with great power comes great responsibility”
Why is it necessary to define brand values?
Because the majority of your consumers want to see that, and that should be reason enough. But, if you are more demanding than that, let’s talk about the incredible help they can be when developing the internal procedures. When you have clear directions about what you need to do, it’s way easier to establish a set of rules to follow and it will allow your brand to be well represented all across the touchpoints.
To tell the whole truth, brand values are just the first way to organize your brand, internally and externally. Brand values influence everything about the brand, overall communication, tone of voice, identity and communication channels. A brand is defined by its values.
Brand values are essential elements for brand growth and they are absolutely necessary when you want a strong and healthy identity, but more than anything, they are the foundation of the future of your brand.