When it comes to your brands values, there are three questions you need to ask yourself: Are they reflective? Are they meaningful? Are they distinctive? Today, we’re going to show you how to define brand values for your company that aren’t just B.S.

"What you stand for as a brand really matters because even though you think purchase decisions are rational, they’re not. They’re usually emotional, both on the consumer side and even in the enterprise. And brand plays a big factor."
-Kim Patel, Lerer Hippeau

In this episode of Growing Brands, you’ll learn why your brand’s values are so much more than just words on a poster and we’ll show you a simple exercise that is proven to produce the perfect brand values for your company.

Plus, our guest is Venture Capitalist, Angel Investor, and a Forbes’ 30 Under 30 recipient, Kim Patel, who will explain the connection between a brand’s values and a company’s financial success.

But first, download our free brand values worksheet and create your own brand values:

Ok.... let's learn about brand values...

What are Brand Values?

Brand values are the beliefs that guide a company’s action. They are almost always a direct reflection of the strongest personalities within a company and should be carefully considered by employees when making any important decisions.

A brand’s values will determine how it engages with and how it is perceived by the brand’s customers. Brands with distinctive values that resonate with their customers grow the fastest, and so it is critically important to be strategic when selecting them.

How To Choose Brand Values That Aren’t B.S.

Picking your brand’s values can be a fairly abstract marketing project. That’s probably why many companies end up with brand values that don’t hold any water.

My favorite way to quickly land on the right brand values for any company is to lead its leaders through the Archetypes in Branding exercise to first determine the brand’s personality.

Archetypes In Branding
Archetypes in branding is an awesome toolkit for developing brand personalities, values, tones, etc.

Once an archetype(s) is selected, it becomes relatively easy to pluck out the perfect 3-5 words to serve as the brand’s values.

To get the most out of the exercise, keep three things in mind.

1) First, choose values that are reflective of the strongest personalities in the company. This usually means leadership.

Choosing reflective values for a company will help amplify the messages of any of its spokespeople (i.e., anyone in today’s era of social media influencers), while failing to do so will create confusion at the best and a social media disaster in worst case scenarios.

2) Second, brands need to choose values that are meaningful to its customers.

More and more, consumers are demanding that the brands they interact with also take accountability for supporting their own personal values.

If your brand is aligned with the biggest hot button issues that your customer faces at work, home, and in greater society, a bond starts to form and your brand stands out in their mind.

3) And third, you should choose values for your brand that are distinctive.

One of the most important and data-backed findings in the history of branding–courtesy of the book, How Brands Grow by Byron Sharp–is that a brand’s distinctiveness is one of the most important predictors of its growth.

Byron Sharp, author of How Brands Grow
Image credit: https://www.slideshare.net/zanaida/how-brands-grow-a-summary-of-byron-sharps-book

Advanced Strategy for Choosing Brand Values

Ok, so we’ve looked at some of the basics for choosing brand values, but now let’s take a deeper dive into the more nuanced side of things.

For that, we reached out to Kim Patel. Kim is an Associate at Lerer Hippeau, a Venture Partner at Harvard Business School’s Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship, a Director at Envision Accelerator, a Scout at Female Founded Club, an Angel Investor at Kova, and a Public Speaker at Badassery. This is what she said.

Watch the interview to hear Kim answer these questions:

  • How are brand values and business success connected?
  • How can companies take a values-driven approach to building brands?
  • How does diverse representation help a brand deliver on its values?

Brand Values, In Closing

If you liked this episode then take a few seconds to follow or subscribe to this channel. Or head over to brandata.com to download our worksheet for choosing brand values that aren’t B.S.

Ok, it’s your turn…

What was your process for choosing your brand’s values? What considerations do you think are important if you want to choose values that aren’t B.S.?

Let me know by leaving a comment real quick before you leave.

Transcript from our interview with Kim Patel:

How our brand values and business success connected in your mind? So I think specifically when we're thinking about brands, regardless of whether or not you're B2C or B2B so what you stand for as a brand really matters and the reason why I say that is because even though you may think that purchasing decisions are rational, right, like it's like this cost less than that, if it costs less say, I want to spend less money so I'm gonna purchase this XYZ thing, and they're not they're usually emotional, all most purchasing decisions are emotional, and both on the consumer side and even with enterprise like folks, when they're diligent in a good partner or they're diligent in a software. If they like the salesperson or the the team that they're working with better than the other one, even the product may be better, they might just go with a lesser product. And so one brand really plays a big factor in that because what your brand messaging and what you as a brand value for besides saying that, customers are number one like that actually matters and coming from the background that I come from, which is a media. The media brands that I worked for the external facing brand, what they actually what they stood for in the marketplace like very much mattered. So I think for advice you know, a lot of people went to Vice because they saw it as this like counter-culture, against the man like, well, it was willing to say the truth, nothing sugar coated type of brand. The minute we started to try to create content for like mass audience, meaning it became a little bit rough roughly to be honest with you, you started to see the backlash from our audiences, and you started to see that people wouldn't stick with the brand or would stick with the lightroom little brand. And I think that's where you see how like success factor really links up directly to what the brands actually stand for. Alright, so how can companies take a values driven approach to brand building? Yeah, so right now, it's an interesting time to talk about this because there is so much going on. In a social political perspective at least like you put your time right. No, actually, I was gonna say US brands but it's actually globally speaking. But I think with US consumers and business leaders, especially what's happening right now. And what's been happening the last few years is that business leaders have become influencers. And so what you have seen is a space kind of merge in the sense of business leaders in their own right are celebrities, and therefore, are building celebrity life platforms and megaphones that they have to their disposable but choose not to use because they believe their business leaders. However, society is viewing them as people of influence, people like actually completely like, I'll compare it to somebody on Instagram that has like millions of followers, to a business leader that everyone also follows and like listens to Mark Zuckerberg basically that when he's a celebrity, he's not viewed as business leader first he's viewed as a celebrity. That means that you now are accountable to the world, right like to the audience's that know you, and that give you like that basically legitimize the influence that you have. And so they're kind of obligated to be able to speak out on things that are outside of the business scope and because of their public status because they're public figure similar to a politician, the change in the influence sphere, the influencer sphere now of who plays in that world, it's just gotten larger. And so I'm not speaking out and not actually putting a point of view out there for from a PR perspective for the company and not taking action. That's where the issue starts to arise fundamentally. How does diverse representation help a brand deliver on its values? When we think about who's running kind of some of the biggest companies there they are the biggest tech companies I infiltrated our every single day, all the time 24 seven. So like they are Google, Facebook, et cetera But even like, on my day to day like what software I use and like how it's being programmed, and if the user in mind is a very specific type of user to them, And may be like a... Sis, white male or female or whatever the case is and you might think that that doesn't matter, It actually does. And personally speaking, when I was working at some of the media companies I have been at or even in investment banking, when we're in even in venture capital, when we're looking at different types of companies and looking at their target audience, one thing to understand is like, Is there a target audience a straight white female on consumer tech or beauty side? Cause there's more women than that have different needs. Do things think about is kind of the recent news that happened in the last in the last weekend, actually, you saw women have to step down from companies refinery 29 the wing man repeller because these women only had one type of person in mind when they were creating their content and when they were creating their marketing, and it was a straight white female. Anything else in that, and over the last few years, they were building their brand and now in the current climate that's kind of come to bite them. But it's been an issue for a really long time, especially as you're talking about consumer brands. and I think that's just coming to fruition because people will feel more comfortable talking about the lack of representation and diversity now, even though it's been an issue for a very long time. And I think it was just a full pot sight, like socially speaking, to talk about these things in the same way that money is a full pot and I think hopefully that will change soon. but you know, talking about socio economic status as a full pot technically, I've been told a few times myself, but I think the comfortability that people will have in talking about these topics more will change slowly, but it's gonna take some time. But it's extremely important because it can fundamentally impact the success of your company and your product. Yeah, totally agree. Kim, really appreciate your thoughts about how brand values and business value are connected. Thank you so much. Thank you.