Some companies need to be convinced that they need brand values in the first place while others just need help in discovering what theirs are and how they can bring them to life in the day-to-day activities of their workforce.
Below are a few tips that can help you figure out the key principles and values that are at the heart of your organisation, so that you can build a stronger business with employees who are aligned with your brand values and highly engaged.
Embrace the Process
You shouldn’t expect to quickly create a clear list of brand values simply by getting your company’s founders to brainstorm what they think will work best. The most effective brand values are ones that have drawn on a comprehensive, inclusive process.
This includes the vision of the founders and leadership team, but also the thoughts and feelings of your workforce. You may find that your brand values should be slightly different than you’d imagined, or that they have evolved from when you first started your enterprise and have since grown to take on more employees and customers.
Also, this exercise needs to be revisited over time to ensure that your values remain aligned with the true essence of who you are. Company expansion, mergers, rebrands, changes with clients and customer targeting parameters can all influence the way your brand is positioned even when the values at its core remain consistent.
Even if there is no change to speak of, it’s important to clarify that your organisation is using the right framework to pull in the right direction.
Be Open Minded
To discover what truly matters to your organisation, it’s important that you move beyond the cliche brand values that many organisations use.
If you want your culture and values to actually come to life for your business and for them to stand out in the eyes of your customers, then simple, abstract terms should be avoided and you should choose values that are specific to your company, reflect your essence and what sets you apart from other competitors.
Work with Your Employees
At the very least, you should inform your employees of any decisions you make regarding updates to your new brand values. However, it is far better to get them involved in the process itself so they can feel more aligned and invested in the culture and values of your company.
Your employees are such a large part of your brand and they often end up being the most powerful advocates for your organisation. Treating them as an afterthought is ineffective as well as potentially damaging. Individuals who no longer feel their personal values align with their companies may start to become disengaged and unmotivated.
There are many ways to consult your employees including informal meetings, questionnaires, feedback requests, and informal discussions.
Brand values should be relevant to your product and services, and they should be practical in the sense that employees should have a clear idea about how they can help uphold them and move towards shared goals.
If one of your brand values is to preserve wildlife or prevent deforestation, but you are a tech or finance company, it might be hard for people to understand how their roles can contribute to these goals.
By no means is this to say these are not admirable and potentially suitable brand values for your enterprise, but you must map out exactly how your company and employees can contribute to such wider goals. Is it through donations to charity, internal schemes, or just a kind of ethos that you want to instil?
The best values are those that are tangible and can be achieved. For instance, values focused on improving conditions within a specific sector are easier to visualise for your team and therefore will help them to map out how their personal behaviour and actions can contribute to the shared goal of your organisation.
Need Help Discovering Your Brand Values?
If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to defining your brand’s core values, we’ve facilitated this exercise with companies of many shapes and sizes and might be able to help you discover the important principles and values that are at the heart of your organisation.