Last updated: 17 June 2024

What are brand values?

We’ve briefly covered brand values in our What is Branding? and What is Brand Tone of Voice? articles. But as brand values are such a meaty subject, we thought we’d cover them in a bit more depth.

So, what comes to mind when you think of brand values? Does it feel a bit ‘fluffy’? Or could you name your brand values on the spot right now? 

Do all organisations need brand values?

All organisations need brand values (we go into some examples in more detail further below). The truth of it is, if you don’t have clear brand values then your stakeholders and audience won’t know what you stand for. You might think your mission statement covers it. But that’s just the start. Your mission statement will shape your values and really get to the heart of who you are. 

It’s hard for a potential customer to make a decision about working with you if your brand values are not clearly communicated. How do we know this? 

64% of consumers say that sharing the same values with a brand is the primary reason they have a relationship in the first place​

Harvard Business Review

64% of consumers say that sharing the same values with a brand is the primary reason they have a relationship in the first place​

64% is huge!

Let’s say that you’re looking for a pair of jeans. You’re browsing online and there are a LOT of online jeans stores to choose from. You as a customer have values around sustainability and family. You care about where the jeans were made, who made them, the manufacturing process, and how your eco footprint might be affected. You want the jeans to last. You hate fast fashion. You’re prepared to pay that bit extra for a pair of jeans you can wear for years to come.

Are you going to buy from the brand that is shouting about their sustainability brand values at every touch point? They make it very clear they are hands on with the ethical manufacturing process in their family run business. Or are you going to buy from the brand that hides their mission statement on an ‘about us’ page? You’re not entirely sure what the business stands for when you read the mission statement because there’s not enough detail on there.

It’s a pretty clear answer right?

Getting clear on your brand values and communicating those into the overall energy and life of your brand, means that those 64% of people who are looking for those shared values will stop in their tracks the second they find you. They don’t need to keep researching. They’ve found the perfect match! They are now in the position where they are much more likely to buy. 

Investing in your branding to ascertain what your brand values are, and how you communicate those, will grow your business. You’ll reach more customers and essentially make more sales.

How to find and create your brand values

Finding and communicating your brand values is an exciting process for an organisation. It’s one that we get a lot of joy from as it uncovers so much about your purpose and who you help. When you’ve spent years building your brand, sometimes the emotion that was there in the beginning becomes lost among the day-to-day processes. Awakening that purpose brings fresh new perspectives, insights and even new directions and goals.

  1. Go back to your origin story

Why was your organisation set up? What were the values around that story and how do they connect with the brand? Start to write down the values from there. Was it that you wanted to create something more sustainably? Was it that you wanted to fill a gap in mental health services? Think about what makes you different and WHY you chose that path.

  1. Consult with your team and customers

Speak to the people in your team. What do they say about your brand values? Ask them what they think the organisation stands for and what it values most. Then check out your customer reviews. Is there a common theme in the feedback you’re getting? Are there words being repeated over and over?

  1. Are your brand values authentic?

You can look at your competitor’s brand values to see how they compare to yours, but make sure you don’t copy them. Of course there may be some crossovers – but don’t pretend to have values to stand out or it will become apparent in your marketing. Values are there to connect with your audience. People who use values in a dishonest way are very quickly called out.

  1. Go deeper by pulling out more content from your brand values

To make your brand values more unique, pull out words that align with the value. So, for example, a broad brand value like ‘We value customer care’. What does this mean? It means that you value empathy, people are treated like people and not a number. You value clear communication. You value transparency. You can explain your values in this way to give more depth so that these values can be translated into your brand.

  1. Match your brand values to your customers’ values

Pinpoint which of your brand values resonate most with your customers. You may have created a long list of brand values after working through the processes above, but you don’t want to overload people. Concentrate on the ones that you know will align the most.

This feels like a really simple exercise, but pulling your brand values together is an something you want to take some time over. Brand values are set in stone. Only requiring revisiting when there are big changes in your business. You want to get these right if they are going to be a permanent fixture. 

It can help to look around at other brands (not necessarily in the same industry as you) to get a good idea of what brand values look like and how that’s communicated.

Examples of brand values

  • Be Natural – Not just our products, but being natural in how we treat each other and how we speak to the most important people – our drinkers.
  • Be Entrepreneurial – innocent began as a small, entrepreneurial company, and nothing much has changed. We aren’t afraid to do things differently, and we’ve never given up on a good opportunity.
  • Be Responsible – We keep our promises, are mindful of our impact on our community and our environment, and always try to leave things a little bit better than we found them.
  • Be Commercial – We wouldn’t be here if we didn’t keep our eyes on the numbers at all times. Ultimately we want to deliver growth for us and our customers too.
  • Be Generous – This means giving honest feedback to one another, taking time to say thank you, and where we can, donating our resources or money to those who need it more than us. It’s that simple.
  • 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.
Adidas
  • Performance: Sport is the foundation for what we do.
  • Passion: We are always moving forward.
  • Integrity: People trust us because we are honest and ethical.
  • Diversity: It takes people with different backgrounds to make our company succeed.
Coca Cola logo
  • Leadership: Courage to shape a better future.
  • Collaboration: Leverage collective genius.
  • Integrity: Be real.
  • Accountability: If it is to be, it’s up to me
  • Passion: Committed in heart and mind
  • Diversity: As inclusive as our brands
  • Quality: What we do, we do well
Virgin Media 1
  • Be fun (but responsible).
  • Give value for money (never be cheap).
  • Offer quality and attention to detail (but not at the cost of affordability).
  • Innovate (be willing to take risks).
  • Competitive challenge (be ready to respond to customer needs).
  • Customer service (always hire professional, empowered people capable of giving a great experience).

Once you’ve nailed your brand values, you need to integrate these into your business – consistently!  Brand values need to align with and reinforce all decision making, so keep coming back to them time and again.

These are some fantastic quotes to take away with you!

Two Shoes Creative has the expertise to define your company’s tone of voice with:

  • Analytical resources to target and research audiences
  • In-depth brand knowledge to define your company values
  • Ability to unify how your company uses language so that your tone of voice is communicated across your channels and business
  • Writing experts to express your brand’s personality

If people believe they share values with a company, they will stay loyal to the brand

Howard Schultz: Chairman & CEO, Starbucks 1986-2000 & 2008-2017

If people believe they share values with a company, they will stay loyal to the brand

Rafe Offer: Brand Management & Innovation Speaker

If you want to work with a business that values authentic and ethical branding to deliver a powerful and effective tone of voice that connects with your ideal customers, then book a free discovery call with our Founder Emily today to have a chat about your next branding project.

Want to explore your brand values?

If you’re now thinking ‘Help me, Emily! I need to nail my brand values!’ then don’t worry because we’ve got you. We can help you create compelling brand values that connect with your audience.

It’s really easy to get started – just book a no obligation call with Two Shoes Creative founder Emily to chat about your project today.

DSC 8817 retouch copy e1709593776810

Emily Jones

Founder and Creative Lead at Two Shoes Creative

The creative agency for nice people doing nice things

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