Just like when building a house, the foundation should be as strong as possible to sustain whatever is built above it. Brand values are the foundation to which a company can be built upon and what can guide further growth and transformation.
Established brand values communicate what a company believes in. These powerful elements can articulate a brand’s purpose on a deeper level, attract top talent, and authentically reach a company’s ideal customer.
“The brand that you put out in the world reflects much more than just the product that you're selling,” says Ellen Macy, Anthem’s senior brand strategist. “It speaks to what you as a company believe in, your personality, your aesthetic, a vision for the industry you're in, and the culture you represent and stand for,” says Macy.
Why do brand values matter?
63 percent of global consumers prefer to purchase products and services from companies that stand for a purpose that reflects their own values and will avoid companies that don’t, according to a recent report from Accenture that studied consumer insights and growth.
When used correctly and consistently, brand values are the center from which everything expands. This includes a brand’s aesthetic, voice, messaging, and target audience.
An example of how a brand can live out its values comes from American Express, as highlighted in a recent HubSpot article. The brand values for the financial services company include:
- Customer Commitment: We develop relationships that make a positive difference in our customers' lives.
- Quality: We provide outstanding products and unsurpassed service that, together, deliver premium value to our customers.
- Integrity: We uphold the highest standards of integrity in all of our actions.
- Teamwork: We work together, across boundaries, to meet the needs of our customers and to help our Company win.
- Respect for People: We value our people, encourage their development and reward their performance.
- Good Citizenship: We are good citizens in the communities in which we live and work.
- A Will to Win: We exhibit a strong will to win in the marketplace and in every aspect of our business.
- Personal Accountability: We are personally accountable for delivering on our commitments.
These values can be found in the company’s strategic initiatives, messaging, and marketing campaigns.
Even for the most successful and well-known brands, communicating brand values isn’t always something that is prioritized, despite the proven impact on growth and customer connection.
One thing the CEO of Zappos says he would do differently with the now 1.2 billion dollar online shoe and clothing retailer, is to have the company’s brand values written out from day one.
Your website is a great channel to communicate company values, keeping them top-of-mind for employees, customers, and other key stakeholders.
Brand values can differentiate your company from competitors
When defined and brought to life in the market, brand values can be a leading differentiator for your brand to stand out. When they are done so through the culture that is fostered around them, employees know how to represent the company and how to connect with your audience.
How to develop brand values for your company
Dig in to find out what makes your company unique
Do your employees thrive off of the company’s friendly atmosphere and inclusive culture? Does your company strive to be the best in service? Does it strive to have the best quality?
Whatever may make your company unique, it is important to know what your company stands for in order for people to trust that it lives up to its brand values.
While values like “trustworthy” or “quality products” sound nice, they are mere lip-service unless they are brought to life. Successful brands demonstrate their values in a variety of ways.
For example, we partnered with Open Sky to create a brand story, telling the narrative of brand’s values by developing a visual identity and a cohesive apparel line that communicate their values to customers and partners.
Find out what your customers value
As our Senior Brand Strategist Ellen Macy pointed out earlier, a strong brand that is confident in who they are will resonate with their consumers whose beliefs align. Hence the importance of knowing your customers beliefs so that you can reach them in an authentic way.
Find out what your competitors brand values are
Brand values are a way to differentiate yourself from the crowd, so it’s important to know what your competitors are doing so that you can stand out and find the white space they’re missing that your company can fit into.
Talk to your employees
Your employees are the people who will be promoting your company values throughout their interactions, so making sure to align your values with those of your employees is a good way to make sure your company will live up to them.
The brand's unique value proposition should remain at the foundation of your company — one of the few things that remains the same throughout the course of the company’s life. Being consistent is vital to their impact and influence on growth, awareness, and loyalty.
Speak to one of our branding experts to learn how to develop and define your very own brand values and how they can be consistently leveraged in tangible ways.
Related: Brand Ethos Explained