Brand Values are the values intrinsic to your organization. They have less to do with the service or product you offer, and more with what your organization stands for and how it behaves.
Your Brand Values confirm that your organization’s commitment to its vision is based on specific qualities that will be at work in team dynamics, customer interactions, and business decisions. Such values will also infuse the social media conversations. If they are to be sustainable, these values need to be rooted in your organizational DNA, meaning they are part of the values the leadership holds as important. Otherwise they become isolated words that lose their meaning somewhere on the wall in the reception area. Clear definitions and expectations should be articulated for each of the Brand/Core Values.
Brand Values give a team the chance to hold each other accountable on specific expectations and behaviors, rather than waiting for management to hold everyone accountable. They also paint a picture of how everyone expects the leader to behave.
Values don’t change. What you as an organization hold as valuable will connect and attract the right team and the right customers. It’s time to recommit to your Brand Values.
How to do that?
- Articulate your Brand Values. If your organization needs help with this, contact us. We’d love to help you with this process.
- For each Value, create a definition that explains what you mean by that word. I remember asking a team of 15 people to define what Integrity meant to them… You wouldn’t believe how different the answers were.
- For each Value choose 3-5 behaviors that model that Value. For example: “We show integrity in our work when we keep the promises we make to our customers and to each other as a team”
- Choose a Value per week or month, and decide with your team how you will recommit to that Value in your daily activity, whether internally or with customers. Make it a topic of conversation, and the subject of a brainstorming session. You may be surprised with the results this will yield.
- Keep it simple. We live in a complicated, noisy world. Only simplicity and clarity will cut through.
Two great examples of Brand Values in action are Nike and Apple. Nike sells shoes, a commodity. Yet their marketing is about great athletes and great athletics. Apple’s core value has been the belief that people with passion can change the world for the better.
Make your Brand stand out by living out your Values.
Marketing is about values. This is a very complicated world, very noisy world. We’re not gonna get a chance to get people to remember much about us; no company is… So we have to be really clear on what we want them to know about us. — Steve Jobs
How do you respond to behavior within your organization that violates your vision?
My long time friend Rick VanDermyden gives an example of such an instance, when behavior did not match the values of an organization he was working with, and its corresponding impact. See Rick’s take on it.
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