Brand values are the foundation of what matters most to a company, and why.
A company’s values answer the questions:
- Who are we as a company?
- What value do we provide to our community?
- What do we stand for -and against- within our marketplace?
- What products/services do we sell, and why?
Values are a direct demonstration of what’s most important to a company, what the company stands for, and where they will not compromise, even if challenged.
Why do brand values matter?
Let’s explore what happens when a company is unsure of its core values:
Their patrons and community are unsure of what quality of products, treatments, and services to expect.
- Loss of potential customer engagement
- A community lacking shared momentum
- A scattered business story that doesn’t communicate and spark action
Strong, demonstrable values set a company apart in the marketplace. Because values are demonstrated through each of the brand pillars (vision, village, visual identity, and voice.), they are key to standing out from the crowd.
Let’s have a look at the core values of one of the most successful companies with strong, effective branding, Coca Cola, an excellent example to look toward to understand this concept.
Coca Cola summarizes their values in the following statements, displayed on their website:
“Our values serve as a compass for our actions and describe how we behave in the world.”
- Leadership: The courage to shape a better future
- Collaboration: Leverage collective genius
- Integrity: Be real
- Accountability: If it is to be, it’s up to me
- Passion: Committed in heart and mind
- Diversity: As inclusive as our brands
- Quality: What we do, we do well
Their sugary sweet value statement goes down so well because they speak clearly to their customers, reinforce their mission to only sell products of quality, and emphasize their commitment to leadership and integrity.
Let’s look at the keywords in Coca Cola’s value statements that embody what they stand for:
These are all ‘power words’ that invoke trust, build confidence in their product, and speak to the customer about what they can expect.
They leave no room for doubt. With these values, Coca Cola is ensuring all customers and company collaborators that they are committed to high standards and nothing less.
Here’s another outstanding example. Let’s look at the value statements of Southwest Airlines:
- Warrior Spirit – Strive to be the best. Display a sense of urgency. Never give up.
- Servant’s Heart – Follow The Golden Rule. Treat others with respect. Embrace our Southwest Family.
- Fun-LUVing Attitude – Be a passionate Team Player. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Celebrate successes.
- Wow, Our Customers – Deliver world-class Hospitality. Create memorable connections. Be famous for friendly service.
These creative, unique statements speak to what Southwest stands for. You can clearly identify what matters most to them. You can also see their unique voice shining through. Their tone and style are relatable and informal.
They provide flight services that are basic and affordable. They want to communicate that in their marketing, image, and value statements. They aren’t fancy with their communication and aren’t fancy with their flights.
Customers know what to expect and can get a strong sense, from just the values alone, of what the company prides itself on most.
What’s notable about both of these examples is that the value statements are well-thought-out. Time and care were taken into crafting solid core values for each of these companies.
Values sit at the foundation of your business. When you take time to carefully think through your values, you can use this information to shape how you operate, what you deliver, what you charge, and how you interact with your community of customers, clients, partners.
The time and energy you take to get clear on them, along with how you will communicate them to your audience, is non-negotiable. It will fuel your business through challenges and obstacles, help set you apart in your industry and set clear community expectations.