The Blake Project, the brand consultancy behind Branding Strategy Insider, delivers interactive brand education workshops and keynote speeches designed to align marketers on essential concepts in brand management and empower them to release the full potential of the brands they manage.
Category: Brand Values Alignment
Leading brands are always differentiated by their shared values. If the values your brand represents are not aligned to the values of your target customer, no amount of marketing will move them to your brand.
Customers build an emotional connection with brands whose values align with their own. This alignment separates brands that lead and brands that follow. To help brands gain and maintain the advantage values alignment delivers, The Blake Project developed The Brand Values Alignment Workshop.
Shared values form the basis for all relationships
The Brand Values Alignment Workshop helps you to determine the values that are authentic for your brand and mirror the values of its target customers. The workshop is preceded by customer research that identifies the values that are most important to your customers along with the values that are perceived to be appropriate for your brand and its product/service category.
In this one-day, research based, strategic workshop, we help you select the most powerful and authentic values for your brand to own. And then we help you articulate those values in a truly compelling way. And finally, we facilitate a high-energy ideation session in which you are able to generate many meaningful ways to demonstrate and reinforce those values at each point of customer contact.
Leading brands connect with people on a values level
One of the most powerful things a brand can do is align its values with its customer’s values. While brands can promise functional, emotional, experiential or self-expressive benefits, those whose values are aligned with their customers’ values are much more likely to achieve a deeper and longer lasting loyalty. This coupled with today's competitive environment makes brand values alignment a priority of every brand marketer.
Please email me for more about how The Brand Values Alignment Workshop can benefit your brand.Read More
Our research over the past twelve years has shown that brands whose values align with their customers’ values have much stronger brand equity as measured by brand preference, loyalty and emotional connection. I recently read Jim Stengel’s book, Grow: How Ideals Power Growth and Profit at the World’s Greatest Companies. He has come to a similar conclusion after researching 50,000 brands in conjunction with Millward Brown Optimor.
So here is what we have found. Brands that have achieved an uncommon level of success:
- Know who their advocates are and what motivates them. That is, they have deep insight into their most passionate customers.
- Stand for something important to these customers.
- Embrace values that are important to their customers. That is, they and their customers share a common set of values.
- Hire, manage and empower employees based on these values.
- Consistently live these values each and every day.
- Serve as self-expressive vehicles for their customers. That is, the brands become “badges” of customer attitudes, interests and values.
- Strive to create an outstanding customer experience.
- Care about aesthetics.
- Co-create their offerings with customers.
Consider these brands as examples of this:Read More
Brands, just like people, have values – bedrock principals they stand for and hold near and dear to the heart. These principals form the reason brands exist. Brand values influence two important business assets – relationships and reputation. Relationships are built on trust and reputation is built on delivering on your promise.
In our over-crowded, me-too marketplace, points of difference that are function and feature based are no longer sustainable. Consumers today are tuning out marketing and tuning in to those brands that represent shared values. Forward thinking marketers recognize their brand building initiatives must focus on relationships and reputation.
Nothing else really matters.
Connections begin with respect and empathy Brands aren’t human, they have no consciousness, brands are not things, nor do they do anything. Brands are nothing more than a shared idea of value– mirrors of our interactions and transactions with each other. Of course, it’s fashionable and fun to talk about brand in the parlance of our industry, brand managers and brand consultants love jargon and thinking models that they can write on a white board.
At the end of the day, we’re still talking about an idea of value in the mind. And one idea human beings value is connection to other humans and being part of the tribe. When people share values they’re more likely to hang with their like-minded mates. And so it is with brands. The power of brands lies in shared connections based in shared values.
Shared values form the basis for all relationships Wherever we go in business and in life, we bring are own values along as well. When others share our values, this becomes a powerful and attractive force to bind us closer together. Shared values form the very basis for every relationship.
Enlightened brand owners realize in our time-compressed days, most of us have little time for things (and people) that don’t really matter to us. For brands to matter, the customer must believe the brand is bringing something more valuable to them than the cash exchanged. In effect brands have to provide more “use value” than they ask in cash value.
It is the shared experience of value that binds customers to the brand and the organization behind it. When brands deliver at this level, they lead markets and shift the culture. The result is massive financial gain for the brand owner.
Building a values-based brand No longer can brands be differentiated on features, benefits or price. There’s just too much stuff out there these days. Customers have so much choice everything is white noise.
Leading brands are always differentiated by their shared values. If the values your brand represents are not aligned to the values of your customer, no amount of marketing will change their mind. And never try amending brand values to line up with the customers.
That’s a recipe for disaster.
Trust is the foundation of a value-based brand. As in all relationships, trust is what holds things together and defines the quality of brand reputation. You’re the real deal or not–it’s just that simple. Here’s a list of things brand owners of values-based brands always do to build trusted relationships with customers:
- value their purpose more than their profits
- eliminate a sales first culture
- focus on the things money can’t buy
- live their convictions rather than conform to markets
- listen more and market less
- elevate the quality of life for the tribe
It’s as simple – and as difficult – as doing the right thing Values-based brands are always “doing the right thing.” It’s a simple principle, but one that foils many brand owners because many don’t take the time to know what the right thing is. It’s inevitable that every brand will face some form of change, controversy, and crisis. And it’s in these challenging times, that a brand’s actions broadcast its values. In a marketplace hyper-focused on the next best thing, values-based brands are disciplined focused, consistent, and credible.
The objective of values-based brand management is to do the right thing without agonizing over the specific issues. When brand owners know what values for which their brands stand, one can see choices more clearly, make decisions more easily, and serve the tribe with more humility.
Sponsored By: The Two-Day Brand Positioning WorkshopRead More
To align brand relevance, the makers and the users need to see their own reflection in the mirror of the brand.
Strong (cult) brands really matter to people. However, in practice, brand’s can become lazy and so can their brand managers. Before brands loose their relevance, there’s always a period of complacency in brand management. When people stop seeing their reflection in the brand–then people stop caring (buying your stuff). You can’t advertise your way out of that problem.
It’s important to remember: I am the brand.
Think of any brand that really matters and you’ll discover the type of people buying the stuff are the same type of people who design, make and sell the stuff. This is the awesome sauce of brand values and brand identity alignment. Apparel brands like Patagonia, L.L. Bean, The North Face, and Columbia have this going for them in spades. The bond that binds is a deep inter-personal connection between the users and the makers.
But what about low-involvement-categories like breakfast cereal or toilet paper? Can a cereal brand (or toilet paper) build rich meaningful relationships with customers? Relationships based in the passion of their mutual experience?Read More