May 30, 2019

How do you define brand values that have real meaning?


A significant part of building a strategic narrative and verbal identity for your brand is creating a set of brand values.

If done properly your brand values ensure that every member of the team is a living representation of your brand and ensure your customers enjoy a consistent experience each time they interact with the business regardless of which function or department they liaise with. They also provide a guide for the business in shaping its strategy and making sure decisions about its future align to the core of what the brand stands for and do not damage it.

However, we often see businesses create a set of values that are very generic, have little meaning to the business and therefore don’t resonate with its people.

Here’s an insight to how we define brand values that have a genuine impact on the businesses we work with.

Our approach is to create a ‘brand wheel’.

A brand wheel is a simple representation of how each and every stakeholder in the business can all ensure they live the brand, every day.

Each brand wheel we create is built based on the same structure. At its heart is the brand purpose. It defines why the brand exists, what the brand represents and stands for. How the business brings this purpose to life is defined by the outer segments of the wheel that comprise; brand values, brand behaviours and communication principles.

Brand Values drive everything the business does. They are the things the business values to ensure it deliver a class leading service that always exceeds the expectations of its customers and enthuses internal teams.

Regardless of whether your business is B2B or B2C it is customer facing. The way it presents itself through the way its people behave is fundamental to ensuring it establishes, retains and grows a good reputation. Brand Behaviours are a guide to how the business and its employees conduct ourselves at all times.

Communication Principles act as a guide to the way the business communicates, whether it is on an email, face-to-face with a customer or a national TV campaign the tone of voice of all communication should be guided by these principles.

Each section of each segment should be informed by and aligned to the one it adjoins, for example the brand value informs the behaviour which in turn informs the communication principle. Creating the segments in this way ensures there is a consistent and cohesive alignment between each one.

All of the elements of the wheel should acknowledge where the business has come from and what has shaped its success to date. It is a guide to how each member of the team conducts themselves at all times and should be defined in a way that they should recognise themselves in each aspect of it.

In bringing the wheel to life the business and its people should always ensure they are representing at least two segments of the wheel to ensure our customers always enjoy an experience that is both consistent and uniquely aligned to their brand.