At Screenweave, we like to say that a brand is a promise.
It says, “This is who we are, and this is what you can expect from us.”
And to keep that promise to your customers, your business needs strong brand values. These brand values will guide every interaction and sale, ensuring that everyone in your business is constantly reinforcing that promise.
What are ‘brand values’?
Brand values are what define your business and how it’s going to operate. They’re the non-negotiables, the identifying features, the
Put in a more relational way, brand values are what define your business’ relationship with its customers.
(If you think it’s strange to talk about a ‘relationship’ with customers, your business needs a serious readjustment. Your target audience are the people who have a problem you’re ready to solve. This means that your business is responding to their needs, which is the most basic relational action we can take.)
All relationships – whether with a person or a brand – are motivated by desire. What does your target audience desire? What gets in the way of them recognising or fulfilling these desires? How does your brand support and encourage their good desires?
Let’s look at how your brand can respond to your audience’s desires.
Discovery: Your audience’s desires
1. Their Deepest desire
If your target audience had one wish from a genie, what would they ask for? You already have a detailed idea of your target audience (if you don’t, check out our blog on discovering your target audience). That means you know their wants & needs, and the ‘big problem’ they want solved.
2. What’s holding them back?
The next step is to identify what might make your customers hesitate or worry. Your brand should promise to avoid or address anything that makes them unsure. Showing that your business is aware of these things will transform your brand from a ‘seller’ to a ‘problem-solver’.
There are always non-negotiables for your audience. Recognising these could be what separates your brand from being a choice to a preference. Your brand values should intentionally oppose these deal-breakers.
Promising: How do you define your values?
Now you have a fair idea of your audience’s desires, limitations, and deal-breakers. But how do we go from here to establishing brand values and promises?
1. Do the same for your business
Identify those same things (desires, limitations, deal-breakers) for your business – whether you’re a solopreneur or a 500-strong enterprise. The easiest way to do this is to hear from the people who started and sustain the company. If both your audience and your business have the same hope or worry or desire, you can be confident it points to a core value for your brand.
2. Make a shortlist
Build a shortlist of simple values that could be used. (Here’s a great list of values to give you ideas)
What are the things that are most important to your audience? Which of these can your business realistically prioritise or respond to? How do you want people to think of your business?
3. Build power statements
Transform your shortlist of words into strong statements that make it clear what your brand is about. These statements should be divisive – that is, they should intentionally exclude some people. They change your marketing from a shotgun into a sniper.
Check out the impressive brand values of Monday.com for an idea of how this can look.
4. Refine down to the essentials
We recommend refining your values down to as few as possible. This gives your brand a strong, consistent, straightforward voice that it can sustain. Which values can you remove before you lose focus or disengage from your audience?
“But what if our audience doesn’t want what we’re promising? or we can’t keep the promises we made?”
When faced with a misalignment, there are two options.
You can either:
- Adjust your promises and values: If your business’ values can adjust without damaging its brand or your personal values, you should look at what promises will be a better fit.
- Identify a different audience: Sometimes, your offerings might resonate better with a different set of people. It’s OK to slow down, re-target, and try something new.
Don’t keep trying to work with people who don’t want what you’re promising. Remember, at the end of the day, your brand’s authenticity (and your own) should remain intact.
Brand values are really just about defining your brand by responding your customer.
Just remember, everything circles back to keeping things authentic. Your ultimate mission? Keep the promises that your customers want, while staying honest to what your brand is. The secret sauce is in mixing strong values with clear promises.
With brand values and promises deeply embedded in your business strategy, you are not just operating a business—you are creating a lasting, meaningful brand that makes a difference in peoples’ lives.