promote brand values
Your customers have values and your business has values, so are they aligned? Those brand values might be in your service level or around sustainability, the way you treat your staff, the quality of your products or the standards in your policies. If you know your values and they resonate with your customers, make sure your marketing reflects them and your customers know about them.
Brand values are all about standing for something important. A great example of values being leveraged in marketing can be seen by the supermarket Iceland, in the form of their 2018 ‘Christmas-ready’ animated video. The film features the voice of actress, Emma Thompson, highlighting the plight of a baby orangutan’s lost environment. The video was banned for broadcasting by Clearcast on the grounds of it being ‘too political’.
Interestingly, the film was originally a Greenpeace video and so it’s widely available. Now that there is controversy of it being banned for Iceland, it has been shared by a lot more people on social media who are outraged at Clearcast’s decision. As a result, those people may well choose to shop at Iceland to support its aims of further preventing deforestation.
Iceland’s own product range claims to be Palm Oil Free and bolstered by the urgency of the most recent climate change report presented by the UN, the supermarket’s brand values are aligned with a broad, climate change aware, section of society. For anyone living on the moon in the last decade, farming for palm oil is seen as a bad thing in terms of climate impact and for destroying the natural environment. Brand values are working well for the supermarket here and we predict market share will reflect this.
inspiring loyal customers
The biggest advantage of showing people brand values, is inspiring customer loyalty. If you share the same beliefs, standards and point of view as your customers, they will choose you over competitors because they share more than a basic practical need for a product or service. Values are about common ground with your customers’ lives, beliefs and greater needs. Understanding customers is also about understanding and following the trends, the actions and the ‘noise’ they subscribe to. This will be effortless if your brand values are genuinely aligned with your customers.
Your brand values may be a simple pledge of quality, using only the best suppliers, transparency – any one of many higher values on a long list, but you must have something that distinguishes your company beyond a service. Whilst this may fall in the bracket of Unique Value Propositions, the brand values speak volumes about what kind of customer you are looking to attract and connect with. Make sure that target customer is the customer you need and the customer you identify with.
real brand promises
Be careful not to state brand values that are not true. Faking it could be damaging for a business. A common mistake is to state values that are what you think people want to hear, rather than what your true values are. You’ll know what your values really are when customers refer you, recommend you and explain why they go back to your service. Make sure you are always harvesting feedback from your customers. Whilst negative feedback is valuable for improvements, positive feedback is valuable for understanding your qualities and what you can promote about yourself with complete assurance, backed up by real endorsements.
promoting a new value
If you make a conscious decision to apply a new value in your marketing, make sure you follow through with your promise and doing this might mean tweaking the DNA of your business. Drive the marketing in a new direction if you think it will work but remember marketing is the voice of your business, so make sure it’s in tune with the reality of your offer.
Strategy is critical when using marketing for business growth and sometimes the marketing remoulds the business structure itself to reflect the promises, brand values and direction of the company. Don’t be afraid of this, it can be worth the risk. It is often how growth happens and how a company finds its true value to its customerbase.
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