If you’re starting up, already in the process or are on the road for a while now, but never had the time because things are going hard, you should take 5 minutes to consider generating brand values if you haven’t already.

” Set your course by the stars, not by the light of every passing ship”

– Omar Bradley

Identify The Tangible Brand Values Between The Thin Air

Being fresh, cool, new, the cheapest or the first with a product might be enough in the excitement of the buzz, but they’re never long lasting. Your competitor might be starting-up as you read this, those two talented kids just found a different apporach to your service, … Brand values will allow you to acquire a unique position within your market and arm you against competitors today, tomorrow and the day after. Good brand values generate an interaction between product, sales, marketing and most of all create a face towards the consumer, all this for the long run. It will nurture a stream of daily improvements affecting all aspects of your business from the inside out and the other way, not only in marketing or your next content strategy but also in sales meetings, new product designs, …

Watch & Learn From The Big Boys

Apple is ( or at least it sure was ) a real good example of brand values. In every aspect of the experience, brand values are the guidelines for every interaction with the brand or any usage of its products. From the moment you open the box until you accidentally step on your chargers cord. User friendliness, accessibility, innovative and quality are all part of the experience. It’s simple, solid and identifiable. It’s what Steve Jobs probably learned the hard way through his many adventures and so strongly pursued. Almost like a maniac, designing & implementing it in all aspects of every possible consumer journey or experience.

Through my experience while working intensively on campaigns for a local energy brand, I watched & learned brand values was exactly what some major brands were missing. When the market opened up, a lot of new players moved in. Some were clear, green energy suppliers, or had a unique approach in service providing, but most of them just played the price card. Appealing in those first years when people just payed too much because of a market monopoly.

During this period I noticed almost all campaigns were generated from a price incentive. In 2 years time I witnessed how with every new big campaign launched, the pricing difference spiraled downwards fast. Campaigns were launched, social channels were activated mostly without any long term vision build upon solid unique brand values. Customers switched & switched again bargaining for the best deal. An exciting market, but what was bonding customers with the brand in the long run as all other players were lowering their price settings also?

In the end these brands will realize price isn’t an incentive anymore through the often minor difference. Interesting enough it was the former monopolist who came with a new approach, the experience you get from their energy. Soon, you could see all all the brands without clear brand values set their course in the same direction. Just another temporary tactic which will dissolve in a stream of “great energy experiences”.

“Running campaigns & actions without brand values is like trying to win the Tour de France on a bike with training wheels. You’ll be disappearing in the big group when things get rough!”

Like Always, Three Is The Magic Number!

So how to identify your unique brand values? You must realize it won’t be that cool whizzkid or that big name in advertising delivering it on its own to you on a gold plate. You will have to meet, evaluate, research, … It will take external views, customer insights, market insights, insights from your sales and other divisions, … It’s a team effort and yes, you’ll need a good guide helping you get through the process, but the thing is anybody can get them at a reasonable investment.

Don’t do 1, don’t do 5, like in all holy matters, 3 is the magic number. Allow these 3 words to captivate broader meanings in order to keep every single aspect in balance and relatable from product design, over marketing, to consumer journeys, campaigns, experiences, … Not all 3 brand values must be applicable to every message you send out, at least one will do, two is better, three is magic. You will find out they’ll become a second nature and all together they will be applicable in everything you do. Above all they will generate a solid face for your brand. We all love a face to talk to, don’t we?!

So What’s The Tangible ROI?

For a long period you will know what to do, which story to tell and how to tell it to the right person. Through tangible implementations, efforts will become more natural, easier and will result in a faster delivery of spot-on campaigns. Effects will go way beyond your marketing & communication. Customers & job applicants will know what you stand for, designers & agencies will know what to tell, your employees will start carrying out & implementing this identity automatically. You might be thinking, “no need, it’s all there in my or my colleague’s head”. Keep in mind, business changes fast. Your organization can grow, people might leave and without a clear compass your ship might be heading towards shallow waters.

If you have any questions drop me a line!

© image: VÄGT, No unauthorized lending, copying or distribution without written permission.