Dean and Donaldson

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Identifying and agreeing your brand values is always a challenge. But, at D&D, we think that, just as important as identifying values, is to ensure you embed them fully so that they enter bloodstream of the organization, uniting people, and instinctively becoming “the way we do things around here” for everyone.  So, what’s needed?

Fundamentally, values need to be expressive, almost performative, rather than merely descriptive. Above all they must ring true and they must inspire.

But how do you hardwire them into the organization’s strategic ambitions and direction?

It’s also vital that your people understand what values are. Sometimes those responsible for brand values jump straight to communicating the values externally before they explain their fundamental importance and what’s expected of employees in terms of delivering them. Employees need to be given time to work out how to bring the values to life in their particular roles.

A good first step, in our experience, is to ask your employees to specify themselves what the values should mean in practice – both internally and externally.  Doing so is an invaluable way to identify any operational areas of the business that may be preventing those values from being consistently delivered.

Having specified what they mean, you can unpack and share a concise explanation that brings each value to life. Weatherbys Bank, where one of our colleagues, Clare, was Head of Marketing, did a great job of expanding on what their values mean in practice.

We also like the shorter sharper approach taken by Goodwood.

Another way to embed the values was successfully adopted by Weatherbys; an annual awards ceremony where they recognise colleagues who demonstrate a particular brand value in their daily work.

A supporting initiative used desktop screens throughout the organisation to keep the values front of mind. These employed humorous images to illustrate a particular brand value every month – like the one we’ve shown in this post, used to express their “Forward Looking” value.

As well as properly embedded values enabling the organisation to attract and retain customers, they are just as important when it comes to attracting the best talent.

Remember – the employee audience is just as sophisticated and marketing literate as any external audience. Spending as much time and effort in how you spread the word about your values amongst potential employees as you would on communicating with your customers/clients will pay huge dividends. Just as with your external communications, being impactful and memorable is vital, to ensure a receptive audience that takes on board your messages.