Think more about brand ‘value’ than ‘values’

Nov 25, 2014

I recently worked with a large organisation helping them create a series of core messages.

They had previously engaged a brand consultancy. Who undertook stakeholder interviews and brainstormed ideas. Discussing in detail what it was the organisation did and what it stood for. With the aim of differentiating them in the marketplace.

This work resulted in a series of documents outlining organisational values, a mission statement, brand wheels and a brand essence. But, when the communications team came to consider their brand messages they still were unsure of what to say. They did not have ownable stories on which they could ‘hang their hat’ but rather a series of somewhat generic statements.

It’s not because the work they undertook was not relevant. An organisation’s values are important. But in my opinion, they focused too much on the theory of branding and not on the truth behind the brand.

Documents like this can often read like a text book or an academic journal on the science of branding. This approach may have worked in the past but things have changed. Branding is closer to ‘art’ than it is to ‘science’. In that it is now about emotional connections not rational explanations.

Our world has moved from the industrial age to the social age. Value is now created through connected individuals. Coming together around ideas and building relationships based on trust, authenticity and purpose.

Today you must think about your brand as the relationship you have with your customers. But remember like any authentic relationship it is never one sided. You brand is as much about how your customers feel about you as it is about what you say. And, for the relationship to work both parties must bring value to it.

So that’s where to start.

Don’t think so much about your values as much as the value you bring your customers. After all that’s why they are with you and that’s why they will stay. Once you understand this it’s easier to ensure every brand expression is designed to strengthen this emotional bond.

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