Core Values – Like individuals, companies and brands too should have a set of core values that stand as the guiding principles of how the brand would behave consistently in all situations. Just as they enable people differentiate between right and wrong, brands too would know how to behave in the right manner and keep up the brand promises that they make to their customers.
Core values are not descriptions of a brand’s product or service. They are not operating practices, business strategies, cultural norms or competencies of the business. They are principles that govern customer relationships, guide our business processes, clarify what the brand is all about, articulate what the brand stands for and help explain why we do business the way we do.
Core values help brands make the right decisions – the ones that benefit the brand and it’s customers in the long term instead of short term gains that may ultimately hurt the brand. For instance, when evaluating entering a particular market segment, if one of the core values goes against issues that are related to that market segment, then the brand does not enter that market.
Core values clarify what the brand is all about – it is not just about the products or services or making money. A brand should go beyond these things. It should stand for something. And core values define what it is that your brand stands for.
Core values articulate what the brand stands for. This does not change not matter the business situation, the economy and so on. The articulation enables customers align the brand with their world view.
To determine if your core values are robust you have to start with the following questions:
- Have we identified the specific, measurable objectives for our brand and how each objective links to the overall corporate vision? – This would help you come up with a list of attributes that align with the overall corporate vision. Then compare these attributes with the list you have come up with to see if they align.
- Can our brand objectives be summed up in a simple, yet informative, brand mission statement? – Compare the mission statement with the set to see if they articulate the mission statement.
In case you are wondering what some of the common core values are for brands out there, here is a brief list:
- Dependable – Committing to provide a service or product in a robust and reliable manner
- Loyal – Loyalty is highly values in the business world
- Open-minded – This plays well with having a great culture in the business
- Consistent – People love consistent brands
- Honest – Something that is seriously lacking in many brands today
- Efficient – If embraced to heart, this will enable a brand with brand positioning
- Innovative – This one will ensure the brand is always ahead
- Creative – In any market segment, companies that embrace creativity come out on top
- Humorous – Brands are there to serve people so why not do it with humor?
- Inspiring – Being inspirational is quite an attribute
- Passionate – An over used word
- And so on…