core brand values

5 Steps To Defining Core Brand Values: How To Choose The Right Ones?

Studies show that 91% of purchases are driven by subconsciousness.

Core brand values have more significance than people tend to think. They are not random words that you put into a brand book and call it quits. The values you choose will affect every aspect of your brand: from communications style and marketing to development decisions and connections with your customers. At least, this is how it should be.

What are brand values?

The core values of your brand reflect the beliefs, truths, principles that guide you as a company. For your customers, they explain what stands behind every decision and action you are making. 

Brand values answer the question: What drives your company except making money? 

Why are core brand values important for a brand?

Core brand values direct.

Successful brands know full well what their values can do for their business. They carefully select what’s true to them and incorporate every value into every aspect of the company, team, message, sales, marketing, service, and offerings. 

Businesses use core brand values as a filter for their decisions, behavior, and the direction they are heading at.

When there is time to make a tough choice, your values will serve as a constant reminder of what’s really important. Having these guidelines in mind, you can make any decision a lot easier. You will simply know where to go.

Core brand values influence.

It’s no secret already that consumers are more likely to purchase from a brand they see as an ally. They look for such companies, whose values coincide with their own ones. 

If your values echo in every element of your brand, through the logo, brand personality, content, colors, and even typography, a single encounter with your brand will create a whole, unforgettable experience for the customer.

If people believe they share values with a company, they will stay loyal to the brand.” – The CEO of Starbucks, Howard Schultz.

Core brand values unite.

If every employee that works for your company marches under the same flag – it being your core values – it is a successful company. Employee engagement is significantly higher if everyone believes in the same standard if everyone is guided by the same guidelines.

How to define your core brand values?

There is no single way to go about defining your brand’s values – every brand is different after all. However, having previously worked with quite a few companies, we can state a few pieces of advice that will definitely help.

1. Analyze competitors

I think this is the most common advice you would hear from us. Before doing anything, check what your competitors are offering, what mistakes they make. In the case of values, you want to see what experiences they provided that made a wrong, not pleasurable impact on their customers. Now, think about how you can avoid doing that? What value will allow you to do better?

For example, let’s say your competitors don’t do well on their social media – they reply rarely or even leave comments unanswered. You know people don’t like being ignored. Set your core brand values to the Appreciation of clients’ opinions, openness, and friendliness.

Upon doing that, you have to remember about it. Reflect that, and show the clients that you are, in fact, a better service provider than your competitor.

2. Reflect on what you’re already doing

Go over your processes in your head. Stop at every step – from making an offer to receiving the order, preparing it, and shipping, for example. Think about why you are doing certain things, what principles do you follow? 

To illustrate, write out: I am determined to ship my goods in the first 24 hours after receiving the order. Why? One of my core brand values is timeliness.

3. Look up to favorite brands

Make a list of your favorite brands, and write out why you think they are great. Analyze the answers then, and single out the common traits that you have detected a few times. 

Now you can use them to create your own core brand values that resonate with you.

4. Look up to your team

Brainstorm some ideas with your team, they probably have some values associated with the brand they are working on together. Single out common themes, see what they believe true to your brand’s mission and vision.

To make it a bit easier, you can offer the team some questions.

  1. What adjectives would you use to describe the brand?
  2. What do you think is the global purpose of the brand?
  3. What do you think is important when working with clients?
  4. What values should a respectable and memorable brand possess?
  5. What are the brands that you personally love and why?

5. Stay true and unique

Take a look at this post. 

On the internet, you will find a plethora of brand values examples: lists of hundreds of abstract words. The issue is – those words can apply to any of the brands, and all brands together. Commitment, Sincerity, and Leadership tell nothing. But ‘You can make money without doing evil’ is unique, it’s telling, and tied to its brand. It’s one of Google’s core brand values, by the way. We think they hold true to that sentence, how about you?

At Gingersauce, we would advise business owners to stray away from using overused, abstract terms. This is the place where you brainstorm, and speak through your heart. 

Remember, whatever you place at the brand value pedestal will be then used to judge you. People will notice if you’re not true to what you ‘believe’ in, and will hold you accountable. 

That is why you should think hard about what you’ll consider a brand value, and always make sure to double-check everything you do.

How big brands are doing it?

Starbucks

  • Creating a culture of warmth and belonging, where everyone is welcome.
  • Acting with courage, challenging the status quo, and finding new ways to grow our company and each other.
  • Being present, connecting with transparency, dignity, and respect.
  • Delivering our very best in all we do, holding ourselves accountable for results.

Why do you go to Starbucks to get your cup of daily coffee? The coffee itself? Yes, sure. But if you think about it, the atmosphere of the coffee shop is indeed warm, their workers are respectful and the company seems to be inclusive. The values Starbucks stated has since influenced their decisions as a company: the employment choices, the product delivery, and even the coffee shop interior design (coziness and warmth taken into account).

Apple

  • One person, one computer.
  • We are going for it and we will set aggressive goals.
  • We are all on the adventure together.
  • We build products we believe in.
  • We are here to make a positive difference in society, as well as make a profit.

There is a reason Apple is so famous today. With the addressive goals they set, they have in fact changed society, the way people view technology, and its everyday usage. Their values are short, straight to the point. What is more important, they turned out to be meaningful to themselves: the team held true to their values, being dedicated to them since day one.

WholeFoods

  • We Sell the Highest Quality Natural and Organic Foods.
  • We satisfy and delight our customers. 
  • We promote team member growth and happiness. 
  • We practice win-win partnerships with our suppliers.
  • We create profits and prosperity. 
  • We Care About our Community and the Environment.

This is another example of excellently written values. No abstract words. WholeFoods managed to shortly describe what people should expect from them, as well as what they stand for on the global scale – they care for people’s health and the environment surrounding them. 

How Do I Stay True To My Values? List Them In A Brand Book

Gingersauce is a professional tool for creating brand guidelines, that combines smart automation and your creativity. It’s a professional tool – meaning, it won’t do a half-baked job, leaving you with a mediocre result. 

A key goal of brand guidelines is keeping a record of all your branding elements, including the core brand values: Gingersauce will gather everything in one place and will help you make sure your brand design stays consistent and cohesive.

You can download a created brand book right away – it will look promising even with no customization!

Create My Brand Guidelines

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