When your brand is new, it’s easy to stay focused on the problem you’re solving, your brand values feel like a very clear driving force. Then customers come along. Then design changes, language updates, trends and timeline changes. Add in your emails and content and ROI and ads – things can get a little muddled.
Even though you keep your business focused on your goal, each initiative grows. Everything becomes a series of individual tasks.
The connections between each element of your brand become more distant 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.
What is a Brand Value?
Every sustainable brand needs to define their brand values – for themselves, for the working community, and for their customers.
A company’s brand values are its beacon. They are the 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 because there are so many 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.”
Defined: Brand Value System
In essence, it is very simple. A Brand Value System (BVS) 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 as they 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 for long enough, it becomes seamlessly ingrained in your business.
What do brand values look like in practice?
Although in theory it’s quite simple, in practice it can add challenges. Every time you find yourself with a brand or business choice, you need to hold that question up to your brand values. For every query, the answer must be “yes.” When the answer is “no,” you have to realign what you’re building with your value system.
Here are some examples:
- Before hitting send on every marketing email, run the language and imagery through your BVS Filter. If it’s no, rewrite it.
- 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 extra training on how to speak in the language of your brand values.
- Your operations team will adhere to brand values when they’re placing their orders. Find out that your main suppliers aren’t upholding the value? It has to change or you have to find a new supplier. (See? Simple in theory, difficult in practice)
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?” 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 Values
Choosing your brand values takes time because you need to think through your brand now and for the future. Even if you aren’t value focused right this moment, you will become this 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 or four words is the easiest for people to remember.
Our process is something like this:
- Free write all the words that come to mind when thinking about your sustainable brand and the vision you hold for your valuable growth.
- Group those words into categories (lots of your words will be synonyms).
- Choose a general theme for each word in the Brand Value System.
- Use the thesaurus like a mad (wo)man to find the perfect fit. Each word should encompass a piece of the vision you have for the brand value. When you’ve found the right words, all of your brand values will be 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!