Without brand values, who will value your brand?
Did you know that branding is actually a really negative word? If you look it up in the thesaurus, you get the instant results of:
…they’re all pretty depressing. Yet in the business world we all think of branding as a positive thing, as how you represent your company in your brochures / your logo / in the business cards currently languishing on your desk (!) – and, of course, as the way your company is represented by your website. It’s no wonder talking about their branding makes so many business owners I know feel icky when you realise it has such negative connotations at a root level.
One thing you might not know is that getting your branding wrong can be the absolute killer for your website – particularly in the current climate. Fact is that right now (maybe more than ever), you need to feel sure that your branding is a positive message that clearly sends your message out to the world AND clearly expresses your values as a business.
Looking at the statistics, according to Small Biz Genius Industry Insights, 89% of shoppers stay loyal to brands that share their values. And right now, although things are tight financially in the economy worldwide, finding a company whose values match your own is seriously attractive to the customer.
So getting your branding right means far more than making sure your colours and fonts all match – it’s making sure that how you look online is congruent with who you are as a Company. If you value always being trustworthy and reliable in the real world, your website needs to reflect that. Get it right, and potential customers resonate with your message, your values and your ethos, then they’re naturally drawn to you – you’ve built trust for your business through your website before you’ve even met. And that turns a visitor to your website into a customer.
Get it wrong, fail to get your values across clearly (or worse, give out the wrong message entirely), and you’ve lost more than a sale.
I can speak from recent experience about this as this is something we’ve done a lot of work on in the FAT team in the last few months. It’s been a good time to reflect on what our values are and what we stand for. As a team, we sat down and worked through an exercise to help us collectively agree on our core values – what do we really stand for, and what will we not stand for, as a team.
Sidenote: It’s essential to work this out as a team – even if you only have two staff – because it’s important to get everyone behind it.
Having agreed on what our core values are, we’re now applying them across all our marketing material and promotion (i.e. our Branding), to share them with the world. If you’re interested, our core values are defined as:
- Start in service – we are responsible trustworthy and approachable at all times
- Always learning – committed to improving and growing as individuals and as a team
- Process driven – to maintain our high standards or accuracy and our organised approach
- Embrace a challenge – we’re hard working, tenacious and we show up
- Bigger thinking – always adding value, generating new ideas and innovating as we go.
Having set that out in our own company vision, it’s now important that we update our website to reflect these values because, just as you wouldn’t hand out a business card with out-of-date details, your website should always reflect who you are right now, and what you stand for. That in itself attracts the right sort of customers you want to work with.
We had a great example of this recently when the owner of an established company approached us for a new site about their professional services. They could demonstrate excellence in their particular service industry, but when they spoke about it they were very good at focussing on telling stories of how people got it wrong because they hadn’t known what they were doing, because they were making foolish mistakes. We sat down with them as part of the initial strategy stage of their website build (step one of our Rapid Growth System), and asked what their values are, why do they do what they do, what do they love about it? They lit up when they spoke of how they loved to take the hard work off their customers’ plate and handle all of the compliance paperwork for them, saving them time and giving peace of mind. Those are their company values and that’s exactly what the new website will lead with – automatically attracting people who already resonate with that message, as well as needing the services they provide.
Make sure your branding doesn’t just coordinate with your existing promotional materials, but reflects your ethos and values. That will attract customers with the same ethos and values, and that’s exactly the sort of customer you want to work with. If this is something you’re struggling with, reach out to me and have a free discovery call or a strategy session so we can get you on track, clarify your message, and make sure it’s represented beautifully on your website. Because we do websites, it’s all we do and we do it really, really well.