Do you know your brand’s DNA? Or does it even have one? In fact most businesses struggle with this very important point. But creating a brand DNA is key to establish a successful business that has an impact in todays world. Why so? I will try to explain it with an easy example: All of us know Patagonia – an American outdoor clothing company. If you think about them, what comes to your mind first? Right. Most of us will probably think about quality, environmentalism and integrity.
Where does this image come from? This is easy to explain: Because Patagonia has a very clear, powerful and vivid brand DNA that sticks with the customers mind. It is proved that companies with a strong DNA appear to be more trustworthy, create better long-term customer relations and have more impact on society.Therefore, as a social entrepreneur, it is very important that you start building your own DNA right from the beginning.
WHAT ARE YOUR VALUES?
Your next question will probably be: How can I do that and where to start? To define your brand’s DNA you need to be aware of your own personal values and your companies core values. This is not only the foundation of your DNA but of your whole marketing. Unfortunately, most entrepreneurs skip this process or just pick random values without really living them. This might work in the short term, but not in the long term. If you want to build a community and a life-long customer relationship authenticity in your values is very important. Your target group knows when you are faking and not real.
Please take some time, maybe go to a quiet and comfortable place and reflect on your own personal values. What principles do you live by in your everyday life? What characteristics do you like about yourself and others? What makes you happy and feel good? Simply write down everything that comes to your mind – without thinking or judging too much. Do you hate it, if your friends are always late? Maybe you need reliability. It is hard for you to lie? Then you are very honest. Just note all the values that resonate with you. It might also be: transparency, trust, love, humor, freedom, tradition, inspiration, creativity, innovation and a lot more.
As soon as you are finished, take a look at your list and see how you can categorise your values. For example integrity and authenticity are similar aspects that go hand in hand. If you created those matching groups, highlight one word from each group that represents this category. Write all the values you chose on a single peace of paper and voila – You have got your personal set of values!
PERSONAL VALUES VS COMPANY VALUES
Your life can be much easier, when you acknowledge your values and integrate them in your everyday life. For example, they help you in decision-making, friendship and a lot more. But as a social entrepreneur, you have to expand them into your business. They define what your company stands for and lie at the core of its culture.
Maybe you ask yourself right now, why do I need to know my personal values to define my company’s values? If you choose principles for your business that you can’t live by in your private life your are not authentic and after a while you will feel demotivated and less energetic. Therefore it is very important to combine your personal values with those for your company. But of course they don’t have to be 100% alligned. If one of your own values is to have a lot of fun and be humorous but your target group are accountants you can keep those just for your private life.
DEVELOP YOUR BUSINESS VALUES
First of all, take some time and look at your results from the task above. What core values did you choose? Now think about your business. What is your target group, your products, your partners and your goals? Try to be as detailed as possible and write down the most important points. Compare your results and analyse what of your personal values support your business? Maybe you come up with two or three more, that you didn’t put on your list before. This is no problem, as long as they fit you as a private person aswell.
To ensure your core values to be truly powerful, make sure they fit the following key elements:
1. They have to be memorable
2. They are short and easy to understand
3. You only choose a few put strong ones
4. They are actionable
5. You and everyone in your team is passionate about them
Keeping these points in memory, now write down your core values you want to implement in your business.
HOW TO USE YOUR VALUES IN MARKETING
After figuring out your values, you need to find an effective way to communicate them and help your customers to identify with them. This step requires an effective marketing strategy. A key part for this is to use content to explain what you stand for and why. Share your messages with your crowd on social media, your newsletter, podcast, interviews etc and always spice them with your values. But make sure not being to pushy and always actively mention your values, but do it in a discreet way.
Make sure, all the information you put out into the world is consistent with your brand’s belief system and follows this structure:
Complementary: Every element of your brand’s marketing supports the others
Continuity: Your communication is consistent and connected
Consistency: Multiple messages reinforce and support each other
Coherence: All communications are logically connected
To get a better practical overview on how to implement those steps in real business life, check out the following example of how amazing integrated marketing (marketing that integrates the brand’s values) works.
Condoms for Pets
The San Francisco Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals ran this ad in 2015 to create awareness on the need to spay and neuter your pet. Their mission is to educate people on the importance of neutering pets to save unwanted cats and dogs from getting euthanized (it happens to 4 million pets each year in the US). One of SFPCA’s values are bringing happiness and long lives to animals.
The reason for this crazy idea of a campaign was, that they wanted to avoid being preachy by offering condoms for cats and dogs. How did they implement this marketing case? They installed pet condom dispensers in several parks and used Facebook and Twitter to spread the word about it. The SFSPCA’s campaign was immediately picked up and shared by 20+ international websites like Huffington Post and Adweek. And it become the no. 1 trending topic on Reddit and made it up to 30,000+ site views. Pretty insane, isn’t it?
#marketing #brand #branddna #values