When you’re building a brand, there are an overwhelming number of things to consider.
Whether it’s your mission statement, company culture, logo, tagline, or something else entirely, there are a ton of things to figure out, and inevitably, something’s going to get overlooked.
In my experience, one of the things that tend to get neglected the most is a brand’s values.
Unfortunately, many business owners don’t consider brand values to be very important, and if they do define them, often they end up relegated to a little corner on their about page, never to be thought of again, like some old, unfinished novel collecting dust on a bookshelf.
But the truth is, creating brand values is incredibly important to the success of your business because they’re integral to defining and maintaining your brand’s identity.
You see, one of the most important aspects of developing a brand is trust, and one of the best ways to build and preserve that trust is to maintain consistency in your branding.
This helps to show people that you’re reliable, creates a sense of authenticity, and stops you from watering down the recognizable elements of your brand.
But in order to maintain that consistency, you need a solid set of values that can be used to inform every single aspect of your marketing and branding.
If you don’t have a set of values to work from, more than likely, you’re going to end up with a hodgepodge of inconsistent elements.
This gives the impression that you’re not quite sure what your brand stands for, or what you’re trying to accomplish, making you seem unreliable and inauthentic, which can erode whatever trust you’ve built.
So, if you’re asking yourself, “What are brand values?”, wondering how to define brand values, or you just want to learn more about how to build trust in your brand, then you should definitely keep reading.
Because in this article, I’m going to explain what brand values are, why creating brand values is so important, and how you can define the values of your brand.
What Are Brand Values? To sum it up in as few words as possible, brand values are simply the values espoused by your brand.
More specifically, these are the values that motivated you to create your brand and inspire you and the members of your organization to do what you do.
Depending on the brand, these values can be very lofty, defining what your brand stands for culturally, economically, politically, or otherwise.
Large corporations tend to be obsessed with these kinds of values, and typically, they’ll include things like diversity, transparency, and sustainability.
This makes sense for a multibillion-dollar conglomerate, as much of what these organizations do can have a significant impact on the cultural, economic, and political climate of the area(s) where they operate.
These types of organizations are also held to a much higher standard than smaller ones and are expected to consider the cumulative effect they have on society at large, so it makes sense for them to have these very broad values.
On the other hand, when it comes to small and medium-sized organizations, the values they espouse tend to be pretty modest, focusing more on the minutia of day-to-day operations, such as how these brands treat their customers.
Typically, these kinds of values include things like integrity, compassion, and empathy, for example.
In any case, brand values help to define the identity of your brand, bring a sense of meaning to your brand and what it does, and work to build trust in your brand.
And even if people don’t go to your about page to read about your brand values, if you use those values consistently throughout your branding and marketing, they’re going to get a sense of what you’re all about regardless.
Read: How to Define Brand Identity and Maintain Consistency in All Your Marketing Materials
How to Define Brand Identity and Maintain Consistency in All Your Marketing Materials
Creating brand values that position you as genuine and trustworthy is vital to the success of your business.
But if you don’t maintain consistency in the way those values are expressed, across all your communications, then it’s going to work against the interests of your brand.
So, if you want to learn how to define the identity of your brand, and maintain consistency in your branding and marketing, then this article is definitely for you.
It explains how to define brand identity, why consistent branding is so important, and offers several strategies to help you apply this to your brand.
Keep reading on our website.
Why Creating Brand Values Is so Important To give you a better idea of what brand values should entail, and why they’re so important, let’s look at an example from a client of ours called Lucid Payments.
When the owner of Lucid Payments, Surge Cumiskey, asked us to revamp her website and update her brand, she wasn’t quite sure what the values of her brand were, but after speaking with her a few times, it was pretty easy for us to figure it out.
Surge’s company provides payment processing services, and she’s been adamant about disrupting this industry by encouraging Canadian business owners to avoid giving their business to the big banks, many of whom are foreign corporations that have dominated the payment processing industry from its inception.
At the same time, she feels like many business owners are confused about payment processing, and the big banks aren’t making things any easier to understand, so she wants to provide greater clarity for business owners, hence the name Lucid Payments.
Surge feels that these things are not only bad for her bottom line, but also for the best interests of business owners in general, as they discourage competition, drive up the cost of payment processing, cause confusion for business owners, and weaken the Canadian economy.
So, right off the bat, we knew we had to bake these beliefs into Lucid Payments’ brand values.
This kind of language is found throughout Surge’s brand values, particularly when it comes to protecting the best interests of business owners and strengthening the Canadian economy. In addition to revamping her website and branding, Surge also hired us to do her content marketing, in the form of a monthly article and newsletter.
That said, we used her new brand values to inform the kinds of content that would work best for Lucid Payments.
With that in mind, we decided that the content should focus on helping business owners to better understand the world of payment processing, and encouraging them to give their business to non-bank providers.
All of Lucid Payments’ blog articles aim to either help business owners to better understand payment processing or save money on it.
Using Surge’s brand values to inform her content marketing strategy in this way has allowed us to ensure consistency and build more trust with those who need her services.
So, why is creating brand values so important?
Well, as this example shows, it gives you a solid set of principles to work from, allowing you to maintain consistency and exude trustworthiness throughout all your marketing and branding.
In the case of Lucid Payments, this approach allowed us to create content that’s fully aligned with their values and build trust by showing that this brand is genuinely committed to doing what’s best for business owners.
How to Define Brand Values At this point, many of you are probably anxious to start creating your own brand values, and the example of Lucid Payments shows how to go about doing that and why it’s important.
But for many of you, this might still seem kind of intimidating, so I wanted to provide some more tips to help you start creating brand values of your own.
So, if you’re trying to define the values of your brand, start by asking yourself questions like:
Why did I start my business? What do I want my business to represent? What kind of culture do I want for my employees? What sort of changes would I like to see in my industry? What am I hoping to accomplish by running this business? What inspired me to get into this industry in the first place? What can my business do to make the world a better place? What does my business do to solve problems for my customers? How do I want my business to be perceived by potential customers? How should I and/or my employees be perceived when we’re out in public? Once you’ve answered all these questions, and hopefully more of your own, take some time to pore over your answers again, so you can start figuring out how to concisely communicate these values in a way that’s as easy to understand as possible.
And remember, if you don’t consistently espouse these values throughout all of your marketing, branding, and everything else you do, then it’s going to work against you.
One thing I find is that business owners don’t seem to understand how deep this concept goes.
What do I mean by that?
Well, it’s not just your about page, your advertising, or your content marketing that’s used to promote your brand values and ensure they’re consistently communicated.
You, as the owner of the brand in question, are also an integral part of that equation.
For instance, if one of the values of your brand is professionalism, then you can’t be going to events wearing track pants and a hoodie, right?
So, if you want to make sure that your own actions and appearance are also aligned with your values, then make sure to dress and act appropriately.
Another thing many business owners tend to forget is to make sure their employees understand their brand values and are operating in alignment with them.
This is crucial, because if your employees aren’t well-versed in your brand values, then it’s only a matter of time before one of them says or does something that creates a black mark on your brand.
At any rate, if you fail to define these values, or apply them inconsistently in your communications, then people won’t know what you stand for, and you’re running the risk of causing confusion, eroding trust in your brand, diluting the impact of what differentiates your brand from the competition, or putting your brand in an embarrassing situation.