The Importance of Values for Brands
For any company, having strong brand values and communicating them to their audience is essential for growth and longevity. In an increasingly competitive, global marketplace, brand values can be the determining factor in setting a company apart from other businesses offering similar products or services, creating a loyal customer base and attracting new clients.
What are Brand Values?
Brand values are what you stand for. They are the codes and beliefs that serve as the building blocks for everything your company does internally and externally, from the way you treat your customers, to the quality of your service and products, and increasingly, your brand’s stance on social and ecological issues, such as sustainability and fairtrade practices. They guide your internal company culture and vision and strengthen your connection with customers. The conscious consumer is on the rise, as demonstrated by recent world events, with such corporate giants as McDonald’s being forced to bow to international pressure and close their operations in Russia following its invasion of Ukraine. Brands that don’t take heed of this new era of conscious consumerism risk losing customer loyalty and damaging their brand image.
The Evolution of Brand Values
With GenZ and Millennials making up the core of the consumer market base, the shift towards an emphasis on brand values has accelerated in recent years. More than ever, consumers are looking for connections with brands and have higher expectations of the companies they purchase from when it comes to values, including how they treat their customers and employees, and their stance on community and social issues. With the ever-increasing importance of online and social media interactions in the buyer’s journey, purchase decisions are increasingly influenced by a multitude of factors.
Benefits of Brand Values
- Stand out from the crowd—Strong brand values serve to set you apart from the competition. A statistic from Harvard Business Review showed that 64% of consumers stated that sharing the same values as a brand was the primary reason they had that relationship in the first place.
- David and Goliath—For small businesses, strong brand values and identities can provide that all-important edge over larger companies. While online has made the global marketplace more accessible than ever before, customers are increasingly keen to support local businesses that align with their values and are willing to pay a slightly higher price to receive personalised service, quality products and the knowledge that they can trust a company on issues such as the supply-chain of a product or eco-friendly practices.
- Recognition—Having clear, well-defined brand values strengthens your identity and contributes to making your company unique in a saturated market. When your brand values align with your target audience, it is easier to capture the attention of consumers.
And if your new customers can relate to and trust your brand, then a sense of loyalty is fostered that will be reflected in your revenue figures. But, just a word of caution—brand values should not be seen as another marketing tool to drive sales. They should be authentic, unique to your business and consistent across all of your company activities. Values are not just for appearances, but rather form the essence of your business so that what you stand for is clear to employees and consumers alike.
How to Define and Demonstrate your values.
- Research—Take the time to truly understand your target client base. Find out what their needs and expectations are and how your company can fulfil and exceed them. Look at what your competitors are doing and then analyse the unique essence of your business that sets you apart from the crowd. Is there a gap in the market that your brand can fill? Are you delivering the service, products and solutions that your consumer base is looking for?
- Be authentic – It’s not enough to look at the brand values of similar businesses and just follow their lead. You need to examine who you are, the heart and soul of your company and what makes you unique. Brainstorming sessions can help you to focus on the powerful values that really matter and allow for an authentic and harmonious connection with your customers. Of course, you can look to some of the world’s best-known brands for inspiration on how to find your own unique values. Ben & Jerry’s, for example, don’t just represent yummy ice cream. They are transparent about the causes they support, the supply chain of their ingredients and their desire to do business in a way that makes the world a better place. JPMorgan Chase, the largest bank in the US, highlight their commitment to exceptional customer service, smooth operational excellence and integrity and fairness in their dealings.
- Be consistent—In today’s hyper-connected world, any dissonance between a company’s activity and perceived brand values will be magnified and circulate on the social networks at lightning speed. Businesses need to ensure that all of their activity reflects their core values and communicate effectively on an internal level to ensure that all members of the team are aware of, and guided by, these values. Such vigilance is key to retaining consumer trust and loyalty.
- Social Media—Using social media channels is key when it comes to communicating with your consumer base. The various platforms should not only be leveraged to raise awareness of brand values, but also as a tool to proactively demonstrate that your actions align with your business values. A strong commitment to exceptional customer service and satisfaction can be shown by how you address feedback and reviews. If there are any negative comments, respond quickly, efficiently and helpfully, offering solutions. Let your audience know that you care about their customer experience and the quality of your products or service.
At Slava Communication we can help you to not only define your brand’s unique values, but also tell your story so that your client base gains a clear understanding of exactly who you are and what you stand for. Our holistic approach will ensure that your company’s narrative positively impacts your client connection and interactions to build trust and loyalty among your existing client base and attract new customers from your target audience. Get in touch if you would like to find out more about how we can help your brand grow.