This is part of a series of posts entitled “WHY BOTHER?” – covering why you should bother with branding and design in your business.
People buy for a variety of reasons, price, location, convenience – and also because of your values. What’s important to you might be important to them and if it’s important enough then they’ll pick you over others. I’ll only buy Fairtrade bananas and free range eggs. Those things are important to me. I won’t shop in certain places because I don’t believe in them, or they don’t follow my values.
Communicating your values is really important because:
– They allow you to show what matters.
– They give your business a sense of purpose beyond making money and selling the thing that you do.
– They show how your business differs to other businesses doing the same thing.
– If you have or want employees then they influence the kind of person who will apply to work with you and the way that your employees will behave. They give everyone a benchmark.
Some businesses are really clear on their values and they can help their customers (or potential customers) make an informed decision. “If a company doesn’t take the time and effort to communicate its values in a meaningful way, then it’s like the old tree-falling-in-the-forest cliché: It makes a big splash, but no one is around to appreciate its impact.”
– create a set of symbols to back up your values
– create some posters
– have some phrases which you use in your business to show your values
– have a dedicated section on your website
– use appropriate imagery
Of course, you might not know what your values are – and this is part of the process when creating your brand. “Branding and design consultants can help you clarify what your organisation or business stands for and then they can develop ways for you to communicate that effectively. This might be through graphic design, language, advertising, staff training, the materials used in product manufacture and so on.” (> See this post for a downloadable worksheet to help you determine what your values are)
I think Ikea does this very well. Ikea has values of what it calls “People and Planet” which is all about being sustainable, looking after the world and its people. When you visit Ikea, as I did recently, there are posters telling you why your furniture is flatpack, there are products to save on waste and energy, Ikea even has a foundation to help children around the world. Values at Ikea are so obvious, so intrinisc to everything they do – and you know about them without really trying as they are instilled in the brand.
Just writing about your values isn’t enough. People might not get as far as finding out what your values are and realising that they align with their own if you don’t make an effort to push those values in front of them. Did you know that “the brain processes visual information 60,000 times faster than the time it takes for the brain to decode text“? Wow! So you need to find ways to communicate those values visually – which is where branding comes in. Think about your actions too, not just how your website looks. Not all interactions are visible.
What are your values and how can you show them to your audience?