I’m still surprised when I ask business leaders this same question and they respond with their thoughts on their company logo or brand identity. It’s all very interesting and I love a good logo as much as the next graphic designer, but I then feel compelled to explain that they’re missing out on a massive opportunity.
In my view, without a set of defined core values, your brand is at worst simply a veneer and at best nothing short of window dressing. Without an understanding of who you are and why that matters, your marketing efforts will have limited impact with your target audiences, your employees are likely to lack clear purpose, and as for your bottom line… well, I’d wager it’s less than your closest competitor.
Often, when the subject of ‘brand’ is raised at board level, there’s a struggle to get everyone round the table to understand why it’s an agenda item in the first place. In my experience, Finance Directors particularly struggle with the concept. But change the word ‘brand’ to ‘reputation’ and suddenly everyone is all ears, as we all know that credibility and happy customers contribute directly to commercial success and the bottom line.
I’ve long believed that all businesses are defined by what people say about you when you’re out of earshot. So, if you think about it, there are values alive and kicking within your business – whether you like it or not. Surely, then, it makes sense to take time out, ideally with as many of your team as possible, to clarify what you believe in, and carry out some reflection on why that matters to your customers.
Then, once they’ve been defined, invest a little time every year to check in on whether your core values are still valid. How else can you ensure your employees uphold your beliefs and enhance your reputation at every stage of the customer journey? Heartfelt, meaningful values can resonate far beyond your marketing and day-to-day operations. They can inform our everyday but also prepare you for future challenges your business might face.
If you’d like to get some tips on how you can organise your own brand workshop, get in touch!