“If you stand for nothing, then what will you fall for?”
I’m paraphrasing a great line from a fantastic musical called Hamilton here (go see it if you can!). It really sums up how I feel about the importance of brand values for your business. Without knowing what you stand for as a business, you can fall into these issues:
- Trying to engage anyone and everyone as your “target audience”.
- Being seen as not really knowing what you’re doing and more importantly why you’re doing it (not very professional!).
- You don’t know the role you play in your customers’ lives, so how are they supposed to?
But what exactly are brand values, and why are they so important?
What are brand values?
Brand values are the very core of your business – they dictate why you do what you do. Your brand values should be at the forefront of your mind in everything you do. They are crucial for your brand look, message and the customer service you provide.
You may think it’s enough to think “well my brand is all about helping people”. It’s not. How do you help them? How does that translate to your day to day operations, marketing etc?
Deciding on your brand values
Coming up with brand values is a really creative and fun process. It doesn’t have to take up lots of time, but it is a key part of your overall business plan.
To help you along the way, here are my own brand values and a brief synopsis of each:
- Creativity – I take a creative approach to my work, refusing to settle for the mundane.
- Ambition – I am ambitious in my goals to develop and grow, and help my clients to do the same.
- Transparency – I provide jargon-free, honest advice and guidance.
- Collaboration – I work closely with my clients to understand their business, reach their goals and communicate regularly to provide great customer service.
- Passion – I work with business owners who are passionate about what they do, just like me.
These brand values are incorporated into everything I do – from communication with my clients, the work itself and any marketing I do for my business.
So how do you inject your brand values into your online marketing specifically?
Brand values and your website
For any website visitor, it should be clear on a basic level what your brand values are. Whether you literally list them on your website on an about page, or they are simply considered in the language you use when talking to a potential customer through the website copy.
If one of your brand values is to be empowering for your clients (for example, if you are a coach), then you will want your website copy to empower people! Jen Carrington does this well by using very specific language in her copy that encourages action in an empowering “go get ’em!” way.
Brand values and your blog
If you have a blog for your business, your brand values must be a part of your blogging strategy.
For example, with this blog, I aim to publish creative content that helps my clients get a deeper understanding of online marketing in a jargon-free way which empowers them to take their online presence more seriously. Naturally, you’ll see at the end of this post a call-to-action to work with me too!
Hopefully, you’ll see I’m ticking off quite a few of my brand values with my intent.
Brand values and social media
A brand I always use as an example for fantastic social media is innocent drinks. They are often cited by others too!
The reason why innocent are so successful on social media is because their brand values are at the heart of every tweet, Facebook update, Instagram post (etc etc) they put out.
Here are their brand values and how they use them for social media:
- Natural – this applies to both the products they sell and the language they speak. innocent are in touch with their pre-dominantly young audience by remaining relevant in a natural, non-cringy way.
- Entrepreneurial – as a young company, they are regularly sharing new product launches on social media and introducing campaigns to grow their brand. They appear successful because they are.
- Responsible – innocent get involved in popular social media events such as awareness days around the topic of environmentalism in order to further convey their message of being eco-friendly.
- Commercial – innocent take every opportunity they can to utilise popular culture and news. They are tongue in cheek in their marketing which makes it more appealing commercially as it cuts through all the other promotion that we see every day.
- Generous – Some would say innocent are generous in their humour (their social media content can cheer up the greyest of days!), but they are also incredibly generous in their time as they will answer social media notifications even if they don’t really have to!
Translating your brand values into social media content doesn’t have to be literal – it is all in your overall approach to engaging with customers online.
Your next steps…
It’s time to seriously think about your brand values! If you don’t have any, get your thinking cap on. If you do, are you using them in all that you do for your business and customers?