build brand affinity 3: your values
When values are clear, decisions are easy.
As our planet’s nervous system (the internet) continues to expand, consumers have more and more say in the fate of businesses and brands.
Seriously, let’s stop and think about the implications of a smartphone in the hands of 7 billion people. We’re literally now at a point where consumers have their own private investigator (google) in their back pocket, paired with a louder and more influential voice than ever before (online reviews & social media).
Consumers have the voice, and they have spoken: they care about your brand’s values.
If your business operates with poor values, the world will find out. Whether via social media, or one of the many review platforms like Yelp or Google, your patterns of behaviour will be made known to the public, and your business will be impacted.
This is why it’s important for your behaviour to be consistently wholesome. How do we achieve consistently wholesome behaviour? By having strong values. When we truly live by a set of values and principles, it gives structure to our decision making. Decisions based on strong values yield consistently wholesome behaviour. This directly translates to better relationships with our customers, which they then promote to the rest of the world from their back pockets.
Establishing your brand’s values
So how do we determine our values and make sure they’re adopted?
Your brand’s values can often be found at the cross section between the reason you started your business (your purpose) and the things that matter most to your target market. You’ll need to combine self discovery with market research. The former is all on you. The latter depends on your customer base and channels of communication. If you can have open dialogue with a sizeable amount of customers, do it! FInd out their priorities! You essentially have very cost effective market research at your fingertips.
Once you’ve established your values, infuse them into your workplace culture. Hold a meeting whose sole purpose is to introduce your new values and their importance.
It helps if your values are easily accessible and highly visible to all members of your team. Whether it be on a large branded poster, or in a daily morning email, you want to create an environment where people always feel accountable for their behaviour, even if there’s no one else around.
To really help your team believe and embody your values without having to enforce them, you may want to leverage an insight that Google paid millions of dollars in research to uncover:
Employees want to feel like they are a part of something bigger than themselves. When they do, their performance and behaviour both improve. “We’re all in this together. Here’s the mission we’re on, and here’s how we’re gonna get there: the right way.” That’s the kind of messaging that helps your team adopt your new values.
Lastly, lead by example. If management are seen violating the brand’s values, there is no chance of creating that wholesome culture that will rub off on your customers and build brand affinity.