When your brand is new, it’s easy to stay focused on the problem you’re solving. When customers come along with design changes, language updates, trends and timeline changes and you add emails and content and ROI and ads to the mix, things can get a little muddled.
Even if you keep your company focused on the goal, it’s easy to start to see each initiative you have as an individual tasks. You can start ignoring the connection between elements and seeing your brand as separate departments rather than working towards maintaining your brand’s holistic ecosystem.
That’s why we suggest defining your company’s brand values and turning it into a Brand Value System.
Why You Need Brand Values
Every company that is building a brand needs to define their brand values because values remove the guessing game.
If something doesn’t adhere to your brand values, it doesn’t belong in your business.
A company’s brand values are its beacon. This is a center post for defining what is and is not the brand. Everything that comes through your brand (internal decisions, images, emails, ads, article content, website design, affiliated and influencer companies, communication with your customers etc) should uphold your brand values.
This can get a little tricky though because there are a billion (at least) aspects of running a business. So to make it easier to stay connected to your values we suggest turning them into an easy to remember “Brand Value System.”
What is a Brand Value System?
In essence, it is very simple. A Brand Value System is a phrase that emboldens a brand’s nature and vision.
It is a phrase that is unquestioning, unshakable, and true of your business every time.
Once you have your phrase, use it by systematically infiltrating its meaning into your business. Having this singular golden thread running through your business is the easiest way to assure that you and your team are on the same page and prepared to make decisions that uphold the standards of your business.
Where did the system come from?
We first heard of the BVS because the CEO we were working with wanted his team to be able to make simple decisions that upheld the company’s standards.
When we actively put their Brand Value System into play, we saw how easy it made the decision making process for everyone on the team! We also had the chance to watch as the brand values blossomed throughout the company overtime. Decisions became easier, everyone was on the same page, and the team found it easier to work together to solve problems. The brand grew like wildfire.
We realized it’s because when you adhere to your Brand Value System, it becomes ingrained in your business—even if your company isn’t sharing it as part of your marketing (though you should consider it). The values BECOME the system and customers can sense that you’re a no bullshit brand.
What does a Brand Value System look like in practice?
Although in theory it’s quite simple, in practice it can be a challenge. Every time you find yourself with a brand or business choice, you need to hold that question up to your Brand Value System. For every query, the answer must be “yes.” When the answer is “no,” you have to realign what you’re building with your system.
Here are some examples:
- Before hitting send on every marketing email, run the language and imagery through your BVS Filter.
- When you write new content copy, your internal editor is thinking, “does this up hold with our values?”
- When you’re looking at a lead generation landing page you ask yourself, “does this adhere to the phrase that we define as, ‘us’?”
- Your customer support will need to speak in the language of your brand values.
- Your operations team will adhere to brand values when they’re ordering.
In the beginning, it’s really common to be like, “seriously, I have to think about this phrase all the damn time? How much freaking brainspace does it need, bro?” But after some time with the Brand Value System, you start to realize that it’s second nature – especially if you’re aligned with the values you set out – and THAT, my friends, is the system.
How to Choose Your Brand’s Value System
Choosing your Brand Value System takes time because you need to think through your brand now and for the future – because even if you aren’t value focused now, you will become this value system in the future. Think about the problem you’re solving, connect with the emotions you want to convey as a brand, and reach for your vision.
Words will come to you – probably A LOT of words – that’s a great first step.
We’ve done this a few times, and we have found that a Brand Value System that is just a three words is the easiest for people to remember. But that puts a ton of emphasis on each word.
Our process is something like this:
- Free form write down all the words that come to mind when thinking about the brand and the vision.
- Group those words into categories (lots of words will be synonyms)
- Choose a general theme for each word in the Brand Value System.
- Use the thesaurus like mad women to find the perfect fit so each word encompasses a piece of the vision of the brand, and together the entire brand is represented.
Oh – our brand value system: authentic, transformative, holistic
Try it! Tell us what you come up with in the comments.
If you’re struggling with finding the perfect brand value system, reach out to us!