When your brand is new, each brand value you identify drives the company forward. You know exactly what you stand for and how it plays into your long term goals. Then customers come along. Then design changes, language updates, trends, and new team members. Add in consistent content creation and the values behind your business can get lost in translation.
I’m not saying – at all – that the goals have changed, or that you’re suddenly piloting a value-less, baseless entity. But it’s possible that even though you keep the business focused on your goal, as initiatives grow, the connections between each element of a brand become more distant. It gets easy to see a business as separate departments rather than working towards maintaining a brand’s holistic ecosystem.
We have a secret sauce for making sure that everything a business shares stays cohesive and value based. It’s called a Brand Value System. Today we’ll talk about what that is, along with defining a brand value and how to use them to grow a business.
What is a Brand Value?
A brand value is a company’s beacon. Taken together, brand values make up the center post for defining “what is” and “what 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.
Now, a company can place value on a lot of things. Staying transparent, making money, honesty, sustainability, forward thinking, being a leader, being kind, choosing organic, and having boundaries are all great things to value.
But when asked, “what is a brand value?” I want to focus on the core values that a brand holds dear. These need to be broad enough that they can cover decision making for all aspects of a brand and specific enough that it can be tailored to the brand. So “making money” may not be the best core value because most businesses have a monetary goal, too broad. But something too specific like “choosing organic” doesn’t make sense for customer support decisions. “Forward thinking” is great because it can be used in several ways, and in every part of a company.
How We Use Brand Values to Grow Businesses
From where we sit, brand values are the key to growing a business.
Brand values make fantastic content. Value messaging coupled with educational content around the different ways a company is keeping their promises is golden when it comes to content marketing.
Value-based strategies also lend themselves to a consistent brand voice because you’re always focused on the same few ideals. And no, it doesn’t get repetitive. It allows a brand to get creative and dive deep into what they care about and why. It churns up more questions, more to care about, and it gives companies a chance to share their expertise.
This is especially important in the sustainability sector (in all sectors, but especially ours) because it’s so new and greenwashing is so prominent. Customers are hungry for companies that have values, ideals, and the proof they’re upholding them. Not to mention the fact that the sustainability sector is pretty new and innovation is growing rapidly. The work isn’t commonplace (yet) so potential customers look to the brands to explain what they’re doing and why.
In this sector, brands that fall to the green hush don’t last long because people don’t understand what they do!
So how do we use a brand’s values to grow their business? We communicate through them. That’s it. And to make it clear and simple, we have a little trick. It’s the Brand Value System.
The Dandelion Way: Using a Brand Value System
Our secret sauce to staying cohesive and keeping a company goal focused AND value based? The Brand Value System.
In simplest terms, a Brand Value System is a phrase that is unquestioning, unshakable, and true of your business every time.
We choose 3-4 core values that the brand never strays from. We define those values and ensure that they work in a myriad of situations the company will come up against.
Once this is decided for a company, it is implemented by systematically infiltrating its meaning into the decision making process. This creates a singular golden thread running throughout a company that keeps whole teams on the same page.
And when you adhere to your Brand Value System for long enough, it becomes seamlessly ingrained in your business.
The Brand Value System in Practice
Although in theory it’s quite simple, in practice a Brand Value System can add challenges to operations. The whole point is to stay aligned with the core values, so every time you find yourself with a business decision, hold it up to each brand value in your system. For every query, the answer must be “yes.” When the answer is “no,” it’s back to the drawing board.
Our Brand Value System is authentic, transformative, holistic.
If something is holistic and authentic but wouldn’t really move the needle (ie. doesn’t transform) – we don’t do it.
If we’re looking at taking on a project that is transformative and authentic, but it would only impact part of a brand (ie. not holistic) – we don’t do it.
You get the picture.
In the beginning, it’s common to feel frustrated by a company’s system because it can feel limiting. But after some time with it, it becomes second nature – especially if you’re staying aligned with the core values of the brand.
Try it! Share your core values in the comments.
And if you want help creating a marketing strategy based on your core values, schedule a call: https://calendly.com/dandelion-branding/marketing