In the era of digitally connected consumers and on the way to what may be the 5th industrial revolution, in the era of virtual reality and the metaverse that is already on the horizon, people need to find real reasons to connect with brands. This forces companies to offer employees and customers something in which they can see themselves reflected, far beyond a logo or an attractive product, and which is nothing more than a return to the origin, to the fundamental essence of human relationships: trusting in order to share.

During the last decade, brands have been concerned with achieving notoriety, but today we know that, in the face of the multiplication of stimuli, people only connect with those brands that give them a meaning with which to feel identified. Brand values are primarily responsible for the construction of that meaning, located at the back and front of the business, they act as a propellant of everything that surrounds the brand. They have the powerful ability to transform the way relationships with customers and other stakeholders are configured. It is from values that it is possible to build a culture of your own brand , in the same way as identifying a purpose capable of generating trust.

 

Brands & Values

Howard Schultz, founder of Starbucks, said that “if people believe they share values with a company, they will stay true to the brand.” This means that we don’t prefer one brand to another because it’s better, since in some cases it’s not even the case, but the difference between them lies directly in our hearts.

Since brands are created by people and are aimed at people, if we want to build lasting relationships between the two, it will be necessary to first identify what our values are and to what extent they fit with what customers demand.

Transparency, ethics, commitment, responsibility, honesty… All of these are values that today would not be understood if they were not adopted by any company. What happens is that most corporate brand values are currently based on similar ideas, helping very little to build differential value propositions.

For values to be unique, you need to understand the environment and interpret and describe them in a distinctive way. Instead of using overly frequent terms, you need to select them carefully and express them in a personal way. The list below can be a starting point, but after choosing those that best identify you, you should develop them so that they can be interpreted equally by all those involved with the brand.

 

Accessible Caretaker Intelligent
Affordable Creative Luxurious
Aspirational Dynamics Positive
Authenticates Communicator Realist
Audacious Equal Responsible
Daring Exclusive Sure
Close Familiar Simple
Collaborator Fresh Unique
Committed Honest Brave
Reliable Innovative Etc.

For example, on the value of innovative:

Innovative spirit. We believe in the power of innovation, the strength of strategy, and the ability of technology to accelerate change. We seek to help you get out of your own paradigms, daring to discover the possibilities offered by the digital universe, favoring growth.

 

Securities & Actions

What happens is that brands face widespread scrutiny on their business model and behaviors every day. Social networks have become a great channel to launch all kinds of opinions, and the value-share gap becomes one of the main problems. The reality is that the way the organization behaves has a much more important role in conveying values than any of the visual elements associated with the business. Behaviors

are responsible for bringing beliefs to life and getting convictions and ideologies recognized.

But this gap doesn’t just affect brands, this is a pattern that also intervenes in the inconsistency between what customers say they believe and their own actions. For example, consumers are becoming more aware of the environmental impact of their purchases. However, when it comes to committing your money, sustainability concerns often take precedence over other desires. According to research conducted by Kantar, 92% of people say they want to live a sustainable life, but only 16% are actively changing their behavior.

In general, what consumers say they want doesn’t always align with their purchasing decisions, so building a brand that meets their aspirations isn’t exactly straightforward.

To make it more difficult, we know that customers actively lie about their purchase intentions. Up to 30% of respondents are dishonest in the answers they provide to a survey. There are several reasons for this. On the one hand, there is the so-called “peacock syndrome” according to which people tend to appear smarter, richer and happier than they really are. On the other, the “current syndrome” whereby many people say what they think they are expected to say.

 

Bridging the gap

When more than half of consumers believe that brands only take ethical and social stances to try to drive sales, it’s critical that companies start by addressing their own value-to-action gaps before expecting customers to do the same.

It is not about promising but about aligning actions with what they say they believe, with the purpose that moves the brand. Only when beliefs become part of the DNA do they then become reality through behavior. And this is something that the customer always perceives, it cannot be concealed.

Good brand behavior invites internal and external teams to explore relevant ways to convey the essence of the brand, engage people with the brand promise, and ultimately change the way the brand makes them feel.

 

3 Steps to Identify Brand Values:

    1. Go deeper. It will be of little use to identify as values those more generic ones that may sound simply positive but are not capable of describing what makes the Company unique. In this process, it can help to think about negative experiences with other brands and, from there, identify just the opposite values.
    2. Focus. Once the previous exercise has been carried out, it is essential to highlight those that are truly backbone, in a transversal way, taking into account all the variables of the business. There shouldn’t be more than three, it’s the core values, the ones that really give meaning to what the brand stands for. In any case, these will be able to coexist with others that act at a secondary level and that cover relevant aspects for the different audiences of interest and that also help in the complete construction of the brand.
    3. Consistency. Ensuring the correct transmission of values in everything that surrounds the brand is not a simple task. Once the values have been identified, at the two levels described above, it is necessary to describe them so that they can be understood in a homogeneous way throughout the Organization. Consistency involves the constant analysis of how the brand is representing those values, throughout its different life cycles. Only in this way will it be possible to correct any deviations that may occur.

 

Values, Culture, Behaviors

Brand values are essential in brand building and significantly modulate the way people will end up perceiving what it represents, its meaning. To be truly effective, they will need to take shape through positioning, culture, and the behaviors derived from all of this. This will be the best way to attract and retain talent, as well as to build loyalty and attract new customers.

 

 

Carlos Puig Falcó

CEO of Branward®