Core Brand Values: What they are, why they matter, and how to get them right.

16 September 2021

Imagine buying a Hermes Croc Leather bag while being a vegan. Or a Starbucks Vanilla Milk Latte while being lactose intolerant. Pretty unlikely, right?

That is because successful brands align with their audience’s values. 

“Well, but wouldn’t we be able to garner a wider audience by being vague about our brand values?” you would ask. But the answer is no. The more defined your core brand values, the more polished and genuine your brand looks. And the more genuine your brand is, the more customers are drawn to you.

In other words, some businesses may not take the process of defining their fundamental values very seriously. You could select a few uninspired cookie-cutter corporate ideals that everyone agrees on and call it a day. Your brand’s core values are not just a vanity endeavour, something to include in the “About Us” part of your webpage to make it appear as though you’re doing more than just selling goods. It’s way deeper than that. Let’s have a look.

Core Brand Values: What they are, why they matter, and how to get them right.

What are core brand values? 

The principles that you, as a business, stand for are known as your brand’s core values. They operate as a beacon, guiding your brand’s story, activities, habits, and decision-making.

Take “Customer Commitment,” one of American Express’ business principles. If you’ve had a good encounter with one of American Express’s customer service staff, you’ve probably seen this value in action.

Consider one of Google’s statements: “Focus on the user, and everything else will follow.”

Most solutions to your frequent inquiries are undoubtedly found on Google’s first page, which is likely to be sorted into its own highlighted excerpt.

Why are they important?

Defining and establishing your brand values helps you:

  • Make decisions in line with the goals of your company.
  • Make your brand stand out.
  • Create a stronger bond with your customers.
  • Maintain your brand integrity.
  • Increase your brand consistency
  • Encourage customers to stick with your brand.

What are the best ways to define and live by your brand’s core values?

Identifying your corporate values necessitates a thorough study of the culture and vision of your firm. Consider how you might utilize your values to demonstrate what your firm aspires to do and symbolize. When deciding on your brand message, keep the following in mind:

1.) Keep it brief. 

Your principles should be simple to remember and embody for your staff. Instead of drafting an essay, consider the true significance of your principles. Reduce things to language that the ordinary person can comprehend and follow.

2.) Maintain your focus

Writing in hazy business jargon is perplexing and waters down the significance of your words. Values must be linked to the objectives and purpose of your firm. They should be related to the goods or services your firm provides, as well as the culture of your organization.

3.) Consider both internal and external objectives. 

A firm’s decisions influence its employees, but they also have an impact on the outside community. It’s dishonest not to think about how your company impacts other people. When you address how your firm wishes to connect with the outer world, it makes staff feel positive and encourages consumers to trust you.

4.) Make them stand out.

Using the same values as another firm, or even worse, a rival, makes your organization appear average. Consider what makes your company unique, and focus on highlighting those characteristics in your company values to attract the appropriate consumers and workers.

Companies that got their brand values right

1.) Coca Cola

Coca Cola’s Global Diversity Mission page illustrates the company’s diversity core value by listing the firm’s diversity-related endeavours, including “gathering employee feedback through formal surveys, studies and informally through their involvement in our business resource groups, various diversity education programs, and our Resolution Resources Program, where associates can work to resolve issues”

2.) Kellogg’s

Kellogg’s is another iconic American brand. Kellogg’s six fundamental principles reflect the sorts of workers and brands they want to collaborate with, as well as the types of goods that will meet customers’ needs:

Kellogg has received several awards for its outstanding adherence to its principles. Kellogg’s was named to Black Enterprise’s list of the 50 best businesses for diversity in 2018, as well as Diversity, Inc.’s list of the top 50 employers for seniors and LGBTQ+ employees in 2018. Kellogg was also designated as a 2030 candidate by the US Environmental Protection Agency.

3.) Google

Google is a name that everyone has heard of. Google’s corporate principles are outstanding, as befits a company with such influence. They refer to their values as “10 things we know to be true,” which were first published when Google was only a few years old and include:

It is evident that Google takes its principles seriously and holds its staff to the best standard. Google also says that they review its values regularly to ensure that they remain aligned with the company’s aims and mission, something they’ve done several times since they were initially created when Google was just a few years old.

Finally, a core value is worthless unless your firm can demonstrate that it has taken deliberate, determined decisions to choose values over profits.

4.) American Express

When it comes to pleasant, helpful customer service, American Express doesn’t simply perform the bare minimum; they go over and above to assist their clients, even when there isn’t a procedure in place.

An excerpt from a Forbes interview with Raymond Joabar, the Executive Vice President of American Express, “..there isn’t a script for every circumstance, therefore we allow our care providers to do what’s best for the client. We also recognize what they do with their newfound authority. Employees that go over and above to serve customers get prizes and their experiences are shared throughout the organization.”

Capturing Your Brand’s Core Values: Best Practices

After you’ve settled on your desired core values (3 to 5 is optimal), the following step is to write them down and define them.

Here are some helpful documentation tips to ensure that your fundamental values have the desired impact:

1.) Make use of action words. 

Your fundamental principles are more than simply words on a page or a website. If you want your staff to live by those principles, write them down in a way that encourages them to take action. The words “diversity,” “integrity” and “innovation,” are insufficient. Instead, use action words like “strive,” “respect,” and “recognize.”

2.) Make use of colloquial language. 

Short, snappy words are simpler to remember and more prone to elicit a response. It’s also important to pay attention to the terminology utilized. It’s also a good idea to utilize terminology that’s similar to what your staff uses.

Final Words

It’s unlikely that just asking your consumers what they think you value would generate significant results. For many individuals, the notion of values is too abstract; a straight fill-in-the-blank inquiry requires far too much explanation and debate.

However, more advanced psychological approaches including direct engagement with your top consumers may be used to determine your brand values and analyse your core values.

The involvement of your consumers may add a magical component to your efforts to identify your fundamental values, particularly your brand values. Make sure to include your consumers in the conversation.

A brand value proposition, as previously said, is something that should not change with time. Even though your logos, colours, and even your company name may vary over time, the values you uphold must remain constant if you want to achieve true brand loyalty.

Consider how you may condense what you care for into a few essential terms and phrases that your company team can use as a guide when creating your brand values statement. The better your employees understand your principles, the more they can help you keep a consistent corporate image across all platforms, from social networking sites to offline events.

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