Summing up your brand in just a few words isn’t always easy. You’ve undoubtedly put years of work into this venture, and reducing that down to a handful of brand values probably sounds impossible! Should you focus on the integrity of your company, or perhaps your ingenuity? And are there any words you should be sure to use, or any to avoid?
It can be tempting to just pick a couple of words or phrases to act as your brand values, and simply move on. But these values may say more than you realise. Your brand values should effectively sum up all the reasons your customers used your service, and continue to do so into the future. What makes you stand out and keeps your customers happy? We’ve explored brand values in a little more detail below, and provided a few handy tips in case you haven’t decided what yours should be yet!
What Are Brand Values?
Brand values are essentially guiding principles for your business. They are the heart and core beliefs of your organisation, and should dictate just about everything you do, from your brand messaging to business strategy. Even if you haven’t written them down, your brand values will be part of your company culture and will help ensure you don’t stray from your fundamental beliefs. Within the business, they should attract new talent when you’re hiring, as candidates will want to be a part of your vision.
But brand values aren’t just important for your company. They are also an essential part of the customer experience. Your values are hopefully what will make a customer choose your brand over the competition. They should make you outshine other companies in your industry, letting your audience know your value and what you stand for.
Why Are Brand Values Important?
In general, your brand values are an asset to your business, as they help point you in the right direction, and are what draw customers to you. More specifically, brand values are important because:
- They help you stay true to your values and encourage brand consistency – when making any business decision, you can refer back to your brand values to ensure you align with your mission
- Your brand values make your brand more memorable, as they simplify your ethos into just a few words
- Brand values help you build better relationships with your audience, especially if they feel strongly about certain values such as sustainability
- Employee engagement can be increased through your brand values – if your staff are confident that they are working for a company with the same values as themselves, they’ll be more motivated and will connect better with the business
Overall, your brand values can be useful internally and externally, and their importance should not be underestimated!
How To Compose Brand Values
If you have yet to write down your brand values, the actual process can take a while! But before you start, there are four main things to remember:
- Your brand values need to be genuine – you should be able to point to various aspects of your business that these values relate to
- It’s important that your brand values establish connections with your audience as well as your employees
- Your values should help you stand out from the crowd – what are you offering that other companies aren’t?
- Be as clear as possible when it comes to your brand values, as if they are too vague, they won’t resonate with your audience
Discovering Your Brand Values
With the above points in mind, it’s time to start defining your brand values. For most businesses, this will start with a brainstorming session. Ask your team to come up with around ten words to sum up the brand. You can also ask that they jot down a few words describing what they want the brand to look like, even if it doesn’t currently. Then, compare the words each person has written down, asking questions like ‘what do we value as a business’ and ‘what do we stand for’.
Another way to consider your brand values is to look at the best aspects of your business, and then think about why you do things that way. For example, if you only use recycled materials in your packaging, what’s the reason for this? Is it just about sustainability in this area or are you passionate about using eco-friendly materials throughout the business, such as all natural ingredients in your products? Once you determine the reasoning behind your strategies, you can more easily express them in your values.
It’s also a good idea to look at brands similar to your own, and find things that inspire you. Perhaps they speak a lot about their attention to detail, which could be a highly valued trait in your industry. Obviously you won’t be copying the values of your competitors, but you can use them as a guide!
Brand Values Examples
There are lots of big brands out there that have great values, but would you recognise the values even if you know the brand? We’ve listed three sets of values below – see if you can guess the name of the company they belong to, or at least the industry!
- Performance, integrity, passion, diversity
- Make great products, simple not complex, exclusive technology, don’t settle for less than excellence
- Judgement, selflessness, courage, inclusion, curiosity, passion, communication, innovation, integrity, impact
While you may not have known the business, the values themselves often do a good job of explaining what the company does, so you might have a rough idea of the type of business they represent. For instance, the first set of values belong to Adidas – you may have associated the word performance with sport. The second set of values belongs to Apple, while the third is more difficult to guess – it’s Netflix. Essentially, your values should do a good job of summing up your business, even if people don’t know enough about your company to attribute them to you specifically.
And if you’re stuck on the actual wording of your brand values, you can find a list of 200 words that are often used by companies, which are likely to resonate with an audience here. Even if you have already written your brand values, it may be time to reassess them, to see if they are still the best representation of your organisation!