Brand Values: What They Are, Why They're Important, & How to Define Your Own
80% of consumers forget branded content after just 3 days of seeing it.
That probably wasn't a statistic you were expecting. It got me thinking - and probably will you as well - does the branded content you're making resonate with your target audience enough to leave a lasting impression? Do consumers remember my brand for longer than three days?
Brand awareness can be hard to measure for businesses but a good start would be staying in audience's minds' longer than that 3-day mark. And you can make your brand more memorable by defining it around strong Brand values.
1. Do your company’s visuals, messages, and actions consistently communicate your core brand values?
2. Does your company have well-defined core brand values to begin with?
If you answered 'no' to either of these questions, chances are that your target audience is struggling to keep your brand in their mind. And that’s why core brand values are so important.
So What Are Core Brand Values?
Core brand values are the beliefs that you, or your business or organization, stand for. They are the compass that guides your brand story, actions, behaviors, and your decision-making process.
Core values are there whenever you need to make decisions to remind you what’s important to your business and your customers, and so making the right decision becomes easy. This way your decisions are defined by principles that are aligned with your brand’s mission.
Brand Mission vs. Vision vs. Values
A brand’s mission, vision, and values build on one another and work together to build a solid company foundation. They’re intertwined and work to guide the business.
Brand Mission: The reason why your company or organization exists and does the work it does.
Brand Vision: Your company or organization's aspirations for the future and what you hope to achieve.
Brand Values: The standards your company or organization will follow in pursuit of its mission and vision.
Why You Need Core Brand Values
Having strong brand values helps brands to connect with customers and their employees. And it goes far beyond simply providing great products and services.
Repeat customers are 50% more likely to try new products and spend over 30% more on your business compared to new customers and establishing core brand principles helps you maintain brand authenticity, which brings this sort of customer retention.
Strong Work Culture
Plus working for a company with values similar to their own has a significant impact on employees’ engagement and retention. Building a brand with strong standards and beliefs inspires teams to work together to grow a business that they’re proud of and passionate about.
Speeding Up Processes
Defining your core brand values provides a brand strategy that serves to help employees become more efficient decision-makers because they have something to base their decision making on. Brand guidelines can align a team and help increase the speed of product launches and campaigns as even difficult choices become easier and more obvious when considered based on your brand’s core values.
Making quick decisions is key to having a competitive advantage in today’s fast-changing business world. Plus, communicating your values in your marketing let's you to show off your brand to the world in a way that creates deep connections with your audience. When customers feel connected to brands, 57% increase their spending with that brand, and 76% buy from it over a competitor.
Some Examples of Brand Values
Here's a few industry leaders really embodying their brand values.
Starbucks makes great cup of coffee, but its success can be attributed more to its culture than that. Starbucks’ mission statement is, “To inspire and nurture the human spirit - one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.”
The brand’s core values are: - Creating a culture of warmth and belonging, where everyone is welcome - Delivering our very best in all we do, holding ourselves accountable for results - Acting with courage, challenging the status quo and finding new ways to grow our company and each other - Being present, connecting with transparency, dignity, and respect.
Ben & Jerry’s
This famous ice cream brand is so much more than a delicious treat. The company believes that ice cream can change the world. Its mission statement says they are committed to, “Using our business to make the world a better place gives our work its meaning.”
Its core values include: - Human rights and dignity - Social and economic justice - Environmental protection, restoration, and regeneration.
Patagonia is another company that is known for its strong mission, which is, “We’re in business to save our home planet.” The company uses its resources, which are its investments, voice, and imaginations, to make a difference.
Its core values are: - Build the best product - Cause no unnecessary harm - Use business to protect nature - Not bound by convention.
How to Find Your Core Brand Values
One of the biggest problems people encounter when doing their own branding is when it comes to defining their brand values. But this shouldn't be the case because you already know your brand, you just need to know how to frame what it's about into concrete brand values. Here's some ways you can do just that:
Either by yourself or with your team, write down a list of values that represent your company or organization. Think about answering questions like: “What do we value most as a company?” “What does our company stand for?” and “What is our identity?”
Research your customers' values
You should share your brand values with your customer or clientele base since this what you'll be developing your relationship over. So finding out their values to use as a base for your own or to make sure you're aligned is a great place to start. You can start having conversations around values with you customers and ask, "What makes you like certain brands over others?", "What “Why do you choose our products and services instead of our competitors?” “What do you think we do well?”
Their answers will give you insight into your brand’s key strengths and weaknesses as well as why you may be losing some of your audience.
Analyze what you’re already doing
Think about the things you’re already doing and ask yourself why you’re doing them. Do you go out of your way to make sure that your products are sent to your customers in less than 24 hours? That’s probably because you value being efficient and on-time. If you’re using only from certified fair trade providers then you most likely value human rights, etc.
Make a list of companies or organizations that are well known in your niche and brands that you love. For each one write down what makes them you connect with them and also the qualities that they're known for or that make them stand out; whether or not these resonate with you. Then look through these and consider which of these can apply to your business or organization too.
Make sure you think about your brand without any preconceived ideas you might have and really self-reflect, to think about what your true core values are and if they all work in harmony with each other.
Some Final Tips
Once you’ve decided what your core brand values are you need to clearly define.
Choose actionable words - Your core values are not just words on a but value to live by so they should prompt action. Using words like “diversity,” “innovation,” and “integrity” aren’t enough, but verbs like “respect,” “strive,” and “recognize” drive people to action much better.
Make them memorable - Employees are more likely to act on values when they’re easy to remember so don't make too long of a list or use lengthy descriptions. Shorter, less common words and phrases are better. Also words that rhyme or use alliteration will stay top of mind and trigger a response better.
Make them unique - Your business or organization is unique so your brand values should reflect that. Develop a special voice and tone to differentiate your values from competitors.
Be specific - Don’t be vague. Your values should be short and to the point.
Your brand’s core values are the foundation of what your business or organization is and does and they'll help you frame your story in a way that connects with your target audience so don't overlook this important piece of creating a successful brand.
Need more help with finding your core brand values?
Check out my branding services for everything from discovering your values to creating whole brand identities and style guidelines.