Brand values are a set of guiding principles that shape every aspect of your business. They tell potential clients who you are and what you stand for.
Brand values put more simply are what you want your business to be known for. When people think of your brand or talk about your brand to others, these are the values that you want at the forefront of their minds.
Examples of brand values
This is not an exhaustive list by any means but sometimes seeing some ideas can get your mind thinking about what your brand’s values might be. So, in no particular order, here are some examples of brand values.
What do brand values need to be?
For brand values to be effective and beneficial for your business, they need to be three things: Meaningful, Actionable and Consistent.
You can choose anything as a brand value but if it doesn’t mean something to you, chances are you won’t meet the other two needs below. A brand value should be something that you care about deeply. Something that you want everyone to associate with your business. Something that you’re committed to upholding.
Your brand values should be able to be carried out by yourself and your employees. For instance, if mental well being is at the heart of your brand, what does that look and sound like? It might mean you’re committed to giving your staff a day off each month to ensure their good mental health.
Your brand values should also be consistent. If your brand value is enthusiasm, you can’t be enthusiastic for only half the time. That would be very hit and miss for your clients and there’s no way you can build a reputation for enthusiasm when half your clients aren’t vouching for that.
What are the benefits of clear brand values?
Having clear brand values will enhance your business in a variety of ways.
If you have meaningful brand values that you’re actioning on a consistent basis, then your credibility within your industry and to the general public is immediately raised. People will know that those values are definitely what you stand for. And they will know they can rely on you for those things.
Make better decisions
Remember your brand values are your guiding principles. They will help you make decisions that align with who you are and what you believe in. For instance, if your brand is all about inclusiveness and you’re looking for somewhere to advertise, you would avoid publications or channels that are very conservative and not known for their open views. Failure to follow your values might lead to a backlash from customers.
Hire the right team members
Knowing the values you stand for from the outset will help you hire team members that are aligned with your principles. If your brand value is friendliness and you interview a candidate who is sullen or abrupt, then you’re immediately in tune with the fact that they don’t gel with your brand values.
Attract the right clients
A great side effect of nailing your brand values is you will attract like-minded clients or customers. This will save you untold heartache, especially if you have a service-based business where you are dealing with a client in more than a one-off transaction.
Stand apart from competitors
I’m going to use Apple here as an example. Their brand values would have to include being innovative and thinking outside the box. These values permeate all their advertising and communication – even the way they run their stores. So when consumers think of mobile phones and computers, the Apple brand is at the forefront of their minds. Because people shopping for those things want a product that is innovative and different.
Is your business living its brand values?
This is a question I recently asked on my Instagram stories. Just over half of those who responded weren’t sure and this makes me think that they possibly aren’t living their brand values. Or not living them to the fullest. Maybe they’re just a bit fuzzy on what their brand values are.
To those people (and you if you think you’re in the same boat), I would say go back and read this post again and try to identify 3 or 4 principles that you want your brand to be known for. Then ask yourself, are we doing those things and are we doing them every day and every time we deal with a client? If you were to randomly ask a staff member what the business’ brand values are, would they know? Do your emails, advertising, blogs, phone conversations and meetings reflect those values?
Tone of Voice Document
If you answered no to any of those last questions, a Tone of Voice Document can assist you to identify your brand values and put them into action in a meaningful and consistent way. It’s a handy guide that you can give to any employee, advertiser, web designer or copywriter (amongst others) to ensure that everyone is on the same team – your team – and living your brand values.
If you need a Tone of Voice Document for your business, please get in touch.
I develop Tone of Voice Documents for businesses through an interview and research process. My guidelines are specific to each business and include:
Your vision statement
Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
Your product features and benefits
“Avatars” of your target audience or ideal clients
Your brand values with detailed explanations of what they sound like
Your brand personality traits with detailed explanations of what they sound like
A general writing checklist
A word bank to assist with communication
Web writing tips
Imagine having a document that includes all of the above that you can hand to anyone communicating on behalf of your brand.
Mailchimp, Uber, Virgin Mobile, Ikea and Nike are just a few examples of businesses that have Tone of Voice Documents. The documents or guidelines ensure that those brands are successful because all their communication reflects their values.
But Tone of Voice Documents aren’t just for big companies. Remember that all of them started as ideas and as small businesses that grew. Get a head start on your competitors and stamp your brand as a leader in its field by requesting a Tone of Voice Document quote.