You use your personal values to choose your closest friends – those people with whom you share core values make the best ones. Why not bring this personal branding principle to your corporate branding strategy? Making your values evident through corporate branding is the basis for building quality professional relationships that last.
Naming your business’ values and communicating them through your corporate branding strategy is something that should, ideally, be accomplished as you begin to build the brand for your start-up; however, this exercise can be done at any time. Even if your business has been in operation for 20 years, I would strongly suggest going through these paces. The results might [pleasantly] surprise you.
Good Corporate Branding Needs Values
First, think about the values that you hold as a businessperson. Contemplate the values you most naturally and steadfastly express in your business transactions. What mutual values are essential in order for you to feel a connection with clients? Write these down. Work until you have a total of 10 corporate brand values. Some examples are: integrity, resilience, optimism, honesty, perseverance, creativity, distinctiveness, accountability, fun, balance, empathy, tolerance, encouragement, energy, etc.
Ensure that the values you’ve chosen belong solely to your corporate brand. One of the worst things you can do is study the values of clients and then adapt your own to fit theirs. This practice will rebound with negative effects – the same ones you might experience if you never named your corporate values at all.
Now that you’ve named your top 10 corporate branding values, cut 5 of them. This promises to be a challenging task, but the introspection required for accomplishing it will aid in the clear expression of those values.
Now that you have your list of top 5 corporate branding values, choose your number 1, most important value. Keep this in the forefront of your mind as you build and apply your corporate branding strategy. Make your list of values visible to yourself and to your staff. Revisit those values often to ensure that your brand communications are utilising the type of language that will attract clients who hold those same values.
What to do if your business is established and you learn that a portion of your customer base does not align with your corporate values? Firstly, I would predict that, on some level, you already sensed this. Secondly, I would never recommend that you abandon them; instead, refer them to another brand that is more closely aligned with their personal values.
Taking on the wrong customers is not an efficient, enjoyable, or successful way to build a brand. Know your corporate values. Tailor your messages so that you’re speaking directly to those people who share those values. Soon, you will find a bowl full of cherry clients, all who will contribute to your success and to the continued building of your corporate brand.
Corporate Branding: How Values Sell Products
There's one more thing I should mention about corporate branding and values before we wrap this up. If you dislike selling (cold calling, for example), you're not alone. You can say all the right things and some people simply won't bite.
Here's the beauty of operating your business with a focus on values: When you name the right corporate values and demonstrate them in every action and communication with your target audience members, you may never have to sell (in the traditional sense of the word) again.
Consumers naturally search for brands that share their values, and socially conscious consumers want to know that the brands they're doing business with support the causes (i.e. the values) they hold dear. Make it obvious what your values are, and these people will practically seek you out. They'll want to do business with you and they'll want to tell their friends about it, too (because their friends share those same values).
Values are integral to the success of your corporate branding strategy...and they make it simpler and more effective to implement as well.
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