Your Brand Values: An Employees Charter

May 21st 2018

Your Brand Values: An Employees Charter

Your brand is not represented by your logo, your vans, your point of sale material, your exhibition stand.

Your brand is represented by the user experience at every touch point.

Your brand is represented by what others say about you when you’re not in the room.

For far too many, as soon as a branding or repositioning project is mentioned the ball is swiftly passed to the marketing team and the first question that’s asked is:

“So when are we going to see the new logo?”

It was Aristotle who said 

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is not an act - but a habit.”

Centuries on, this is a useful reference for anyone trying to figure out how to build a movement that your employees, your customers and your suppliers will get behind.

Designing a new logo is an ACT

Creating the new graphics is an ACT

The marketing team writing something about your mission, vision and values and putting it on your website is an ACT

This is such a superficial exercise that it will quickly be seen as such and will fail.

It will fail because the tiniest scratch on the surface will reveal it as nothing more than a colouring in exercise with no depth, no substance and no relevance for your customers.

In order to make projects like this work we need to go beyond the ACT and focus instead on our HABITS.

Your brand is not represented by your logo, your vans, your point of sale material, your exhibition stand.

Your brand is represented by the user experience at every touch point.

Your brand is represented by what others say about you when you’re not in the room.

Your brand is represented by the promises you make - and keep - for your customers.

But even after we’ve narrowed the focus here there’s another important distinction to make.

By far the most important interactions we have with our customers, employees and suppliers are the human to human interactions.

So park the website UX, the answer phone message on your office phones, the email auto-responders and all the other technology to human interactions that all to often dominate these brand projects - because there’s a bigger issue to address first.

How do we ensure consistency across all of the human to human interactions we have with each other, with our customers and with our suppliers?

The answer is to clearly define your brand values.

1 - Your mission - What is your purpose? 

2 - Your vision - What do you aspire to be?

3 - Your people - What kind of people will help you to get there?

4 - Your values - How will they speak, act, live out your brand promise through their everyday actions?

For me, the 4th one has the biggest impact on whether you get the most from your brand project.

It’s here that people find out whether there’s any depth to the positioning statements that you’ve made in the first 3.

If your purpose is to reduce waste are you following this through to the stationery you order and making sure that it’s recycled paper?

If you pride yourself on your professionalism are all your communications reflective of this? (And Yes - that does include spelling things properly)

If you speak about innovation have you created an atmosphere that encourages new ideas and gives a voice to everyone in the company?

If you demand the respect of your customers do you afford the same respect internally to all individuals and business functions?

By clearly defining your brand values - who you are, how you behave - you’re not only ensuring that your customers see some depth and purpose when they look closely at your company.

You’re also creating the framework for how you can recruit new people to your team. If these values and behaviours are clearly defined before you start recruiting then you can ensure that you can build a team of people who are all signed up to the same thing from the outset.

I believe this is as important as any contract of employment for a new employee - this is the employee’s charter and the framework against which performance and ethics will be judged.

It’s also crucial that in writing down these values you use real language that real people can relate to - and not the business bullshit that tends to dominate these value statements.

And what’s the best way to bring your brand values to life? Why video of course. 

There’s no better way to show your customers, partners, current and future employees that your values go beyond statements written on your website to tick a box.

They’re how you act. How you behave. What you exist for.

And there’s depth & meaning in them.

This goes beyond the superficial exercise and ensures you get value from a process that demands time and commitment from people beyond the marketing team.

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