What are brand values?

|| July 22, 2014

Brand values are the brand's underlying principles which are more important than profit, sales or reputation. They may be publicly stated or implicit in the way an organisation is run, but they have a profound effect on the way customers interact with a brand.

For example, a core value for any braking company is safety. If a particular braking product is merely suspected of being unsafe in a particular situation, the entire resources of the company are immediately employed to track down the problem. If it turns out that there is an issue which could lead to unsafe braking, a world-wide recall is immediately triggered. Although this has a substantial impact on profits, reputation and future sales, it is a fundamental value over which a braking company will rather go bankrupt than fail to address.

Brand values are not usually the same as the parent company's organisational or corporate values. Corporate values are often things such as team-work, pride, passion, integrity, and so on. The actual experience of eating a chocolate bar, reading a newspaper or putting on running shoes is not directly affected by these things: although it is a fundamental belief in modern management that corporate culture is important to satisfying the customer, this only has a direct bearing when the customer is in contact with the staff who share these values, and actually cares about them.

Brand values, by contrast, might be reliability, prestige, personalisation or a particular level of performance. They must be things which are always achieved: if the customer cannot count on them, they are not brand values. Likewise, if they are things which do not affect the customer's experience, they are not brand values, or not useful ones.