Featured Carousel Features May 2019

Values Matter in Marketing and Branding

Written By: Jena Bezesky

Just like people, brands can change over time. Interests, tastes, looks and opinions are likely to evolve over the years. But, also just like people, there is one thing that has a tendency to remain with a brand for much longer: values.

A brand encompasses the experience customers have when they interact with the product or service your organization provides. Values, once established in a brand, are powerful because they can be a constant point of recognition. And if each touchpoint with your brand is infused with the values that your organization holds dear, customers are going to develop a personal appreciation for your brand.

For better or for worse, your values will always impact your branding, so it’s essential to leverage them. In this article, we’re going to explore how those values guide how a brand communicates to the public, how it operates internally and the reputation it creates.

Leveraging Value-Driven Marketing

Among the many benefits that values offer when they direct a brand’s marketing strategy, the greatest is how they can provide clarity to consumers as to what your purpose is. Take note on how to do this by observing the marketing of plant-based food maker Kashi.

Over 30 years ago, Kashi began by making cereals with simple and nutritious ingredients to minimize the impact on the planet. “Seven Whole Grains on a Mission” is the original tagline Kashi coined for itself to explain both the recipe and meaning of the cereal it produced.

Despite Kashi expanding its product offering beyond whole grain cereals and into desserts and even entrees, the brand still uses that tagline because it expresses its mission to serve the planet through nutrition and by promoting ethical farming practices. As a result, the company hasn’t missed a beat in keeping loyal customers or by drawing new ones to their brand. Because Kashi’s marketing expresses support for natural health and sustainability, people who are aligned with those same interests and values seek to purchase any foods they make.

It’s easy for messaging to become muddled in the midst of adopting marketing trends and new media formats. Or, if your organization decides to add or remove new offerings, consumers can get confused. However, if your brand holds on to its values, you’ll never have to fear that your brand identity is at risk despite seasons of change.

Driving Company Culture with Values

While it’s important to showcase values in branding, it’s also important to “practice what you preach.” Applying your core values within your company culture will instill those values into every engagement your brand has with its target audiences.

Think of employees as brand ambassadors. How they behave toward each other and with consumers speaks a lot about your organization to observers. By having clearly defined values, your employees will be empowered to make decisions that are aligned with your company and will further promote your brand.

At PHOS Creative, a digital marketing agency based in Gainesville where I work, we have five core values as a brand: love, integrity, community, leadership and creativity. Our team is encouraged to find every opportunity to apply these values while engaging with one another and our clients. Then, at our weekly team meetings, we set aside time to give shout outs to others on the team who have demonstrated our brand values while on the job.

By consciously thinking about ways to fuse your brand values into your company culture, your branding will stay consistent with any product or service that your organization produces.

The Legacy Strong Values Leave Behind

Considering the general distaste against misleading information in the media, consumers are taking more precautions than ever when deciding which organizations to trust. People across the world are craving authenticity. If you make a habit to incorporate values into all aspects of your brand, you’ll avoid the fumbles that can potentially devastate an organization.

Another company that is often recognized for its commitment to values is Subaru. The carmaker is known for its dedication to environmental sustainability. It frequently brings attention to company-wide efforts to reduce waste and emissions, such as being America’s first zero-waste automaker. For North America, Subaru created a video documentary campaign called “Who We Are Is What We Leave Behind” to help people understand the impact of the trash in our national parks and the solutions we need to resolve the issue.

Subaru is beloved by its customers, and the car company is admired by many people who have not even stepped foot inside one of their vehicles. This respect and admiration have been earned because their branding has values, and those values are appreciated by people who share those views.

Each of us has our personal values, and every brand is composed of people. By unifying your brand through its values, you’ll forge an even deeper connection with each consumer and boost your bottom line as a business. 

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