Core Values & External Values – no matter where you look some business somewhere is proudly displaying its Company Values, sharing how thoughtful and transparent they are.
I’m willing to bet that, behind every business boasting their virtues is some genius blogger or marketer spouting ‘connection’ and ‘brand loyalty.’
Transparency, thoughtfulness, honesty -aren’t those qualities that we should innately have as businesses? What if someone introduced themselves by saying,
‘Hi! My name is ___________, and I’m authentic, honest, and humorous.’
I don’t know about you, but my first thought would be along the lines of…
Would you believe that person?
Would you go on a date with that person?
So, why is that kind of braggadocio strutting across websites and social media accounts?
Because most people… even most marketers have it all wrong.
Prime example : Enron…I mean… one of their core values was integrity. I believe the whole world was witness to that touch of fallacy.
Core Values & External Values are the 2 Types Of Company Values You Need To Build A Brand, That Most Businesses Are Doing It All WRONG.
Here’s how to do it right.
FACT : Core Values Are A Vital Tool In Your Company’s Arsenal
Customer-Centric Team-Oriented Approachable
Accountability Quality Trustworthy
There’s no argument here, values are essential -and every business from Etsy shops to Fortune 50 companies need them. But, what exactly are they?
What Are Core Values
I’m sure there are an infinite number of positive things that can be said about the products / services you provide. However, this isn’t the place for all that. There are spaces to tout your magnificence in a big way. Although, this isn’t one of them.
Core Values Are Broad, Yet Precise
Broad : The goal is to draw someone’s attention to the ‘highlight reel’ of your Brand as an entity. Firstly, examine your operation as a whole, determining which features are paramount. If you were limited to only five facets of your business, what would they be?
When it comes to digital consumption, in general, the modern attention span is not flattering, folks. Using your words wisely could be the difference between a memorable encounter and a forgettable one.
Precise : Nine times out of ten, you get one shot at converting a browser into a potential sale. ONE.
Quality Efficiency Customer-Centric….
How many times have you seen those same words repeated? Couldn’t these apply to anyone from the kid selling lemonade at a street-side pop-up to a CRM?
Take a good hard look at what you’ve come up with and decide what truths lie behind it, distinguishing your business from everyone else.
Here’s an example from a recent client and Tech. C-Suite who is on a mission to make the world of STEM a place for people – all people.
JUST PLAIN OLE’ WRONG: Core Values Are Meant For My Customers
They are most certainly NOT for the whole world’s eyes.
If you think about it, you already know that. Where do you see values hanging up on walls?
Offices... because they’re intended for the people who look at the walls.
Core values are designed for you and your team as an internal tool, directing everything from marketing expressions to customer support.
I don’t care what it is -if it doesn’t fall within your values; It doesn’t belong in your company. Okay, friend?
Big brands may give their logo a Santa hat in December, but even the occasional holiday tweak remains within their brand guidelines.
And no matter where you encounter them, be it on a store shelf or Twitter, they serve the same experience every time.
Seeing something enough times ingrains that sh!t to your memory.
best example ever….
From the time we’re tots until we have the opportunity to walk through those long-awaited gates, we already know what to expect. And you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who admitted to being let down by that experience.
You don’t have to go there to know what’s waiting for you. ‘It’s A Small World’ plays on a loop in our minds long before realizing it’s a slow boat ride with creepy dolls. And guess what? You’re going to love every freakin’ minute, because #ItsDisney!
That experience, my fellow badasses, is firmly rooted in their Brand Values.
If their values were expediency and comfort you can bet you’d be zooming through those lines like speed racer with spray water fans along the way.
More Reasons Why Core Values Are An Essential Internal Tool
If you have an especially noxious day at the office and need to remember why you’re crazy enough to keep going
Show Not Tell
When it comes to your company’s core values, what you do, and show your customers speaks so much louder than yet another transparent, authentic company.
Represent Yourself -Values
To represent the most pivotal parts of your company in every interaction with customers
Stay On-Brand -Values
To guarantee the organization presents a cohesive, consistent brand across platform
MOSTLY WRONG : Values Tell My Customers About My Company
“Marketing is about values. It’s a complicated and noisy world, and we’re not going to get a chance to get people to remember much about us. No company is. So we have to be really clear about what we want them to know about us.”
– Steve Jobs
How would you describe your business to someone if you only had 8 – 12 seconds? ‘Cause …you have roughly 8 – 12 seconds.
Say hello to the second part of your company’s values : External Values.
While you wouldn’t say, “Look at how we aspirational we are!” you would say, “ This company is for the unstoppable people of the world!”
A company may be aspirational, but aspirational, alone is a hollow word users have encountered repeatedly. You have to show them who you are, first. Then, reinforce it.
External values take core values to the next level by communicating how individual values benefit the consumer. The keyword being consumer. Sure, they’re about your business, but it tells customers about you by making it relevant to them.
Most people will not take the time to consider how your Core Value differs from the External ones. They’ll just leave the site or skip over the ad.
To win more than 8 seconds of someone’s time, the benefit to the customer needs to be immediately apparent. Before anyone cares about your business, they want to know why they should spend their hard-earned dollars. External Values are how to do that.
Don’t take my word for it. Check out the External Values of leading brands across industry.
Examples of External Company Values
Sell the Highest Quality, Natural, and Organic Foods
Satisfy and Delight our Customers
Promote Team Member Growth and Happiness
Practice Win-Win Partnerships with our Suppliers
Create Profits and Prosperity
Care About our Community and the Environment
Improving Human Health
Positively Impacting Climate Change
Addressing Global Resource Constraints
Improving Animal Welfare
We’re on the face of the Earth to make great products
It’s about the simple, not the complex
We need to own and control the primary technologies behind the products we make
Say no to thousands of projects so that we can really focus on the few that are truly meaningful
Never settle for anything less than excellence in every group in the company
To have the self-honesty to admit when we’re wrong and the courage to change
* These are some of Apple’s values under CEO Tim Cook
Meanwhile, head to your favorite Brand’s Home Page and check out the first 5 canvases. Notice anything?
Once you’re conscious of them, they begin to appear everywhere, leaving you wondering how you ever missed them! Most industry giants utilize the first canvases on their pages to show you their values with vivid images in tow.
Brands implement their External Values in all that they do. Instagram – IG Story Highlights, Pinterest Boards, even the specific words used in transactional email responses actualize their Company Values.
Values are an effective way to deliver an entire Brand Experience quickly without overdoing it.
Applying External Values
Some of us have Prime. -Some do not.
You may shop for musical equipment and organizational supplies, while I go for office supplies, quality CBD dog treats, and next level educational toys. Even though every Amazon experience is unique, each of us engages with their Brand Values.
Compare your consumer avatars with your Core and External Values. Are each groups reason for purchasing in alignment?
How Does Each Value Apply To Your Avatar Groups?
What’s The Message You Want Them To Walk Away With?
What Message Are They Getting Now?
Values align with the beliefs and pain-points of your target audiences. If not, it may be an indication that you’re addressing the wrong group of people.
I don’t know about you, but consider myself an authentic person. The older I get -the more authenticity pours right out of me.
At this rate, by the time I hit 60, I’m going to need to invest in body armor for any family members brave enough to attend a reunion. Well, I would have, but it’s official, words like authenticity and transparency are ruined for at least a generation.
These days, businesses world-wide have joined hands, singing kumbaya, and decided they’re all going to be authentic and transparent.
The earnest cases deserve societal gold stars, but the bleak reality is that if a 1/4th of the planet uses the same buzzwords, the competitive advantage (which is the point, by the way) gets lost in translation. Again -I’m thinking of the Enrons of the world.
Values can be assets or the thing that dilutes your business in mediocrity. Delivering value using Core and External Values means knowing who you are as a company and those you serve.
Do your customers want you to be authentic and transparent -absolutely!
That’s the standard of doing business. We shouldn’t earn brownie points for doing the right thing, nor should we cite that as the reason, we’re an outstanding organization.
You work too hard, bringing your vision to life to say that the only differentiating factors are conventional expectations.
I’ve never encountered a business without a unique selling proposition- so, you have ‘em!
If you’re having trouble remembering your why or you’re too far in the box to see it, there’s an entire community below in the comment thread.
Alrighty Badasses, Go out there, make waves, and come back to tell us about it in the comments.
Until next week!