What Are They and How to Define Yours (+ Examples)
What makes one brand stand out in front of its competitors? What about a brand that grabs a customer’s interest and leaves them curious to learn more? What inspires brand loyalty, keeping customers coming back consistently? There are tons of factors at play when answering this question, and brand values are one of them.
In today’s hyper-competitive consumer landscape, more and more customers are looking to shop with companies that share their ideals, beliefs, and values. They want to know that your company is standing for the same things they are.
So how do you establish your own brand values and show them to the world? That’s just what we’ll cover in this article. We’ll also show you some examples of brands that have mastered their own brand values of their identity in the marketplace.
What are brand values?
Brand values are what a company believes in and stands for. They’re the key principles that shape the customer experience and how the company operates from a foundational level, typically from an ethical and humanitarian perspective. Brand values can impact every aspect of a company, including how it:
- Designs its business model
- Sources materials for production
- Manufactures products
- Distributes products or provides services
- Hires and manages team members
- Uses its revenue
Typical brand values can include more political topics, like sustainability, environmental protection, and human rights. On a more relational level, brand values can include ideals like teamwork, compassion, accountability, bravery, creativity, and respect.
How to find your brand values
As you work to develop and integrate brand values in your company, take note of these tips and considerations.
Think about what matters
You can do a quick search online or conduct some interviews to find tons of ideas for strong brand values. But the most authentic way to find your values is to turn inward and examine your own personal values, then see what you can bring to life. Ask yourself questions like:
- What’s important to me?
- What mark do I want to leave on the world?
- How do I enjoy helping other people?
- Who inspires me through their own actions?
- How can my company make a difference?
Collaborate with your team
A company’s core values represent the whole company. So if you have other people on your team, be sure to include them in the process. This applies to partners and co-owners, as well as employees who are on the ground level bringing your company to life.
When you include your team in the process of establishing values, you’re more equipped to weave them into the foundations of your business and the everyday process and practices that keep it running.
Maybe it’s important to you to be a carbon-neutral company, but it’s not quite realistic in terms of the materials, tools, and process you need to actually make it happen. In cases like this, go easy on yourself. Maybe you can work toward goals, like aiming to become carbon-neutral in the next five years, as opposed to jumping the gun right now.
Get inspired by other companies
There are some incredible brands out there doing some incredible things. There’s nothing wrong with starting with some research. Dig into other brands in your niche and industry—and even those outside of your niche and industry—to see what they’re up to.
You may encounter some inspirational and motivational ideas that hadn’t occurred to you before, or learn some new strategies or processes to develop strong core values.
Implementing your brand values
Once you’ve established your brand values, it’s time to implement them. This requires some strategic thinking since they should touch every aspect of your business. Below are a few tips to help you live your brand values.
Make them front and center
If you want to keep your brand values top of mind for everyone, make sure to highlight them in digital and physical spaces. Emphasizing them in commonly used channels helps to keep them at the forefront of your business. Here are a places to consider:
- Company documentation: House core brand values in a document accessible to all.
- Workspace display: Consider showcasing your brand values at the entrance or in the boardroom of your central headquarters.
- Communication channels: Pin your brand values to highly frequented channels in team communication apps like Slack.
- Meeting openings: Discuss brand values at the start of important meetings, like quarterly all-hands team calls.
- Employee onboarding: Take the time to walk new employees through your brand values when they join the company.
Communicate them to customers
To captivate potential buyers and establish brand loyalty, it’s vital to effectively communicate your brand values across various marketing touchpoints.
Take a cue from Allbirds, a brand that exemplifies this approach by clearly showcasing its commitment to sustainability in different places.
Here are some direct ways to communicate your brand values to customers:
- Website: Utilize your About Us page to communicate your brand values and explain their significance to your business.
- Marketing: Consistently reinforce your brand values through email marketing and social media posts, ensuring your audience is reminded of them.
- Packaging: Incorporate your brand story into your packaging. Use icons and concise text that quickly convey what matters to your company.
Embed them in your business
Want to integrate brand values into your day-to-day with maximum effectiveness? Then you need to ensure these values are ingrained in every action and decision you make. Here are a few ways to embed brand values in your business:
- Operational integration: Consider how your brand values can be embedded in your company’s daily operations. This might include partnering with eco-conscious suppliers or implementing employee perks like paid leaves that align with your company’s goals.
- Customer-centric approach: Take a look at your customer policies and explore ways to align them with your business objectives. If your brand values prioritize sustainability, for instance, you can incorporate policies such as product repair services to minimize waste.
- Employee empowerment: Identify personnel who champion your values and actively contribute to their execution within the company. By nurturing such individuals, you cultivate a culture that radiates your brand’s essence.
Examples of brand values
Take a look at brand values examples of a few companies that have carved a name for themselves in this area.
4Ocean: Ocean conservation
4Ocean is a purpose-driven business that strives to reduce the ocean plastic crisis. The company uses proceeds from sales to directly fund volunteer work, pulling plastic and waste out of oceans, rivers, and coastlines. 4Ocean directly manages an ocean cleanup operation, making it one of the few organizations with this level of hands-on contribution to a cause.
The company was founded by two surfers who saw first-hand the impact of pollution in our oceans. They decided to sell bracelets as a way to fund their conservation and cleanup efforts. Today, the company has grown—it’s removed millions of pounds of trash from the ocean, and has expanded its product line to include other items like apparel and subscriptions.
Dove: Self-esteem education
Hygiene and beauty brand Dove has been a long-standing example of an international brand that puts its values on the forefront. Its current campaign, The Self-Esteem Project, aims to help improve self-image, self-esteem, and body image for millions of young people.
The company partners with organizations and educators across the globe to help accomplish this, even extending the partnership to the TV show Steven Universe on the Cartoon Network.
Boy Smells: Gender inclusivity
Boy Smells is a brand that sells candles, fragrances, and intimate wear. One of the core values of the brand is gender expression and inclusivity. As one of the founders puts it, the brand is “a permission to harness your power from wherever you want it.” The founders aim to help customers make it a daily ritual to love their identity.
The company launched exclusively with candles. It continued to grow, eventually launching lines of intimate wear and unmentionables, and venturing into the realm of fine fragrances and body care products.
Brand values are more important than ever
Today’s consumer is savvy and selective. Core values matter more with each passing day, especially as the new generation of shoppers is emerging. They’re a fundamental part of a strong brand strategy, while being a shining beacon to attract and engage customers who share those values with you.
Just remember: One of the most important things you can do is stick to the values you set. It needs to be obvious that you’re following through on the promises you’re making to your target audience. Failing to follow through can be worse than not establishing brand values in the first place. But when you do it well, the impacts can be invaluable.