By Lillie Brown
Branding is undoubtedly one of the greatest assets your creative business has. Your distinctive look and feel encapsulates the essence of what you do, elevates your product or service offering, and differentiates your business from that of your competitors and peers. Good branding helps you look attractive to your ideal client, but exceptional branding? Exceptional branding touches the coveted emotional nerve within the people who may want to engage with you and your business. Your messaging and values resonate with them, making them feel deeply connected to your brand. This sense of connection fosters trust and organically encourages them to become brand champions, singing your praises for all to hear. How does one touch that coveted emotional nerve, you ask? It’s all about your values.
In our digital landscape, consumers are increasingly turned off by false facades of perfectionism and aspirational marketing that plays off people’s insecurities. People can smell disingenuity a mile away, and when they catch that whiff, they won’t be back. Values-based branding is a strategy to appeal to a client’s closely held values and ethics, shifting the marketing relationship from a sales-centric approach to a client-centric one. Imbuing your brand and marketing messaging with your values and backing this up with true action will help you centre your client and focus on nurturing their potential as they interact with your brand and its offerings; in turn, growing your business as they remain engaged with your work long term.
The real value for brands lies in cultivating meaningful, reciprocal relationships with your clients and this happens by sharing what your brand values and believes in in an authentic manner. Articulating these ideals and making them accessible across your marketing channels is crucial. Many brands don’t execute this well — their wordy mission statement is somewhere obscure on their website, or their About page is dull and doesn’t really offer any insight into the history and passion and personality of the business. Snore!
Your core values are your guiding principles, articulating why you do what you do, what you stand for, and what you believe in. They act as your North Star and inform every decision that you make as a business. Identifying these values is integral to helping you understand yourself, and importantly, connect with others who might want to buy from you. A big reason you get someone’s business or not often comes down to whether they feel aligned to you. I know this sounds a bit overwhelming but think about it — we all like to work and engage with brands that we can relate to. So how do you figure out what your values are? Whip out the butchers’ paper and your favourite coloured Sharpies and get ready to brainstorm. Note down words and phrases that you’d happily associate with your business and the causes you’d take a stand for. Consolidate these into 6-10 values, then write a powerful values statement that lights the fire within your belly. You can read our statement right here.
Your clients are yearning for real connection and insight into who you are, what you stand for, and why you do the clever, creative thing you do. Give it to them! To craft a standout brand, you need to inject all your touchpoints with flair and vitality. A touchpoint is any way a consumer can interact with your business, whether it be person-to-person, through your website, social media or another form of communication. Doing this in a way that’s compelling and not cringeworthy is a helluva feat, but with a bit of creative thinking (I know you’ve got it in you!) you can communicate your values effectively and connect with the heart of your audience.
Communicate the heart of your brand. Include the following: Purpose: Why do you exist? Vision: What future do you want to help create? Mission: How do you create that future? Values: Who are you? How do you work? Share these across your website and socials in an engaging, imaginative way.
Take a stand. Support social and environmental causes that you believe in and take genuine action that’s in line with your values. For example, in 2017 when the marriage equality debate was in full swing, Creative Plus Business were corporate sponsors on the yes side of the fence, of course. This sponsorship cost us a few clients, but it was no skin off our nose — supporting a cause that was dear to our hearts was more important.
Put your people first. Be a good boss to your staff, contractors, and yourself — live and breathe your value set. Humanise your brand by sharing your story and the faces behind the operation on your website and socials.
Be bold. Supercharge your content, offerings, and real-world antics with your daring, branded flair. The marketplace is heavily saturated, so differentiating yourself is key to being memorable.
When brands and their followers share values and act on them, they make the world a better place — so get out there and change the world, you good thing.