What are your core values?
Branding is a hugely important part of marketing even for small companies. As the Chartered Institute of Marketing has said "Brands matter to every company because what they capture is distinctive. This is the primary source of your competitive advantage and your ability to create value"
When training groups on the subject of branding, the topic that provokes the most comments and stimulates the most light bulb moments is “core values”.
So I thought I would share the thinking behind these with you. Basically core values are typically five words which say:
“This is what we believe in and this is how we think our business should be conducted’
Why five words? Well because above this number it becomes difficult for people to remember and therefore challenging to uphold the company beliefs and ethos (you will know what I mean if you think about trying to memorise a company mission statement…)
As a case study I usually give the example of Midland Bank (as it was then) when they set up the first telephone banking service “First Direct”. One of the team’s initial actions was to define the brand values and these were chosen as:
respect, openness, energy, thinking and getting it right
( I think we can gloss over the fact that with hindsight this last phrase should perhaps not be attributed to the banking sector…)
The point is that the bank then recruited people who displayed these values rather than those with the best banking qualifications. They did this on the basis that they could teach the banking bit but that the success of the telephone service was wholly dependent on how their people came across EVERY time you phoned.
Branding - you may recall - has to be like the words in a stick of rock - consistently present end to end.
Several people who heard me talk about this loved the recruitment slant and immediately saw the advantage of employing people who would innately reflect and maintain a company’s values. However, even if you're a one or two man band the identification of your core values can be enormously useful in defining your business and keeping you on track.
I’ll tell you mine if you tell me yours… mine are
expert, incisive, focused, creative and quirky
– and yours are (or might now be….)?
Psst - If you're struggling with sorting out your brand give me a call.