Defining your brand values and why it's important
When you bring it right back to basics, at its core, a brand consists of three component parts; purpose (why you exist), values, identity. Being really clear on these things creates a springboard for brands to create their unique proposition, positioning and a consistent end-to-end customer experience (including comms). This is the stuff that people get to know, like and trust. It’s what people relate and connect to. It’s the reason we pick one brand over another. It creates value.
And it’s more important than ever for brands to get this right now, as we’re a lot savvier to what they say and do. Our expectations are noticeably higher.
So when you’re looking at creating a brand that will appeal to your audience and keep them loyal, here are some questions to ask yourself:
What do you stand for and why?
Think about a brand experience that you’ve really not enjoyed or one that you believe conveys values that you don’t agree with. How does it make you feel? Now flip these feelings and turn them into values that you want to build into your own brand.
Make a list starting with the negative brand experiences you’ve had or would hate to be associated with, and turn those into positive values you’d like to cultivate in your brand. From here pick your top three values that mean the most to you and that you’d like to focus your energies on.
What do your customers care about?
Whether you have a large customer base or you’re just getting started, whether you’re focusing on retaining existing customers, winning new ones, or both – understanding what they care about is probably the most important thing you can do.
If you have customers, speak to them. Most people are willing to have a conversation, especially if it means improving the service you’re providing or the product you’re offering. Here you can start to understand what they want from the product or service you offer but more importantly, what values they hold that your brand can appeal to.
The CEO of Starbucks, Howard Schultz, nicely summarised a brand’s connection with its customers when he said: “If people believe they share values with a company, they will stay loyal to the brand.”
What's your brand promise?
This is the underlying guarantee that you’re offering to your customers by doing business with you. It’s something that everyone in your organisation should internalise, and it should come through easily in your messaging, preferably as one of the first things your audience reads. Your brand promise must be aligned with both your brand values and your brand experience.
How will you convey this in your messaging?
This is the voice of your business — what you need to say and how you say it. Brand messaging includes things like your tagline, positioning statement, brand promise statement, key messages, and marketing copy. Messaging strategy is an important part of brand building, since the talking points you use and the writing style you adopt help define your brand. Your brand’s personality should come through in your messaging, which helps to connect with people on an emotional level. It should always be relevant, consistent, and true to your brand.
What experience will you give people?
This is the way in which your customers interact with the products or services you offer. How you deliver your offering is critical since the experience your customers have with your business solidifies their opinions and contributes to positive reviews and word of mouth. To create a successful brand experience, make sure that the quality and performance of your offerings, as well as the process of interacting with your company, are strongly aligned with your branding.
Carefully developing your brand is key to the success of a business. It takes effort to build and maintain all of the component parts of your brand, but it’s a process and investment that helps your business grow and stay strong… so it’s well worth it.
For help in building your brand, we'd love to hear from you. Contact us today and let's talk.
Candace Gerlach: Marketing Co-ordinator at Stratford BID and Founder of The Conscious Marketing Group