Brands don’t exist in a vacuum. Whether you’re a business with Main St. storefronts or an all-online service, your brand is part of a community. Communities may share geography, or they may not, but what binds them together is a shared set of values. No matter how useful your product or service is, it’s your brand values that drive emotional connections with your company.
Aligning your messaging with the real values behind your brand differentiates you from your competition and why people choose your product or service over others. As much as 55% of online customers across 60 countries said they were willing to purchase more from companies making a positive contribution. Here’s how to approach marketing your brand values both in digital and face to face marketing.
Authenticity and Consistency
Values are more than a statement of intent. As Michael Scantlebury, founder of the creative agency Impero, told The Drum, “Whatever you say, remember to prove it. It’s the world’s most simple strategy to becoming an authentic brand. If you make a claim or take a stand, follow that up with real-world actions that prove it.”
What does your brand stand for? Is it eco-friendly? Is it about quality and refinement? Does your brand publicly support social causes? Define your brand values and make them authentic to your company and the actions you take to support those values in everyday business operation. Selling baby products lends a natural support of programs supporting parents. Outdoor gear marks an interest in the environment.
It’s not a “one and done” situation: consistency is key, and you must find ways to tell your values story across all of your touchpoints, from advertising, to packaging, to your live or virtual events. Patagonia created Patagonia Action Works, an online platform connecting environment activists to local and global action, for consistent brand values messaging.
Brand messaging isn’t just for consumers: When 78% of consumers expected to be able to make a positive impact on the world, you can assume your employees are among those that aspire to make the world a better place. Consistency in your approach means involving everyone in your community, and your team members can be crucial allies in promoting positive brand values.
More than Money
Consumers encourage companies to contribute resources to worthy causes, but it needs to be more than just writing a check. Smirnoff made an early identification of their prime customers and marketed accordingly. In 2017, they released a limited-edition bottle, with partial proceeds going to the Human Rights Commission. “The ‘Love Wins’ bottles are showing the country that love truly conquers hate—and that we celebrate you, no matter who you are or who you love,” says Adam Marquez, Associate Director, Corporate Development at HRC.
Think of your best customers and make your contributions, monetary or otherwise, work for them. Volvo announced they will turn their entire portfolio into electric or hybrid cars, which ensures that those eco-conscious consumers in the market for a new vehicle will prioritize Volvo. These companies boast high reviews from their customers and high profits in the market.
Forward-thinking companies succeed when their core brand values align with action and messaging that showcases their engagement with their communities. It’s important, and most of all, it’s the right thing to do.