The value of brand values

What to aim for when creating your brand

Brand values. They can either pivot a business to become an industry leader, or reduce it to a quickly forgotten one-off purchase.

We all have our own set of core values, attitudes and beliefs about the world that forms an integral part of what we do, think and feel. For business owners, these often are projected into the fundamental values of their companies and how they decide to meet their audience. The most successful are those which openly communicate these – creating a real brand personality. I’m sure you can agree with me when I say, a company you feel like you can relate to on a personal level, or truly understand, is a company you would much rather purchase from than one you know little to nothing about. John Lewis’s famous Christmas television advert is an example – annually evoking strong emotional reactions in us all, making the brand relatable, personable and memorable with messages of family, friendship and love at the heart.

Understanding self image

The most successful brands know how to reach consumers on an emotional level, inspiring them through stories.

Take Dove; what comes to mind? For me, it’s a sense of care, inclusivity, freshness and trust. And that is exactly what you want. You want your brand to reflect what you represent and believe in, to understand who you are while feeling genuine and authentic. 

Dove is particularly good at communicating their beliefs to build consumer relationships, while also being influential on other brands. They were one of the early adopters of inclusive beauty standards, showing they are for ‘everyone’ while specifically targeting women. Their campaigns show that beauty is diverse and that everyone has the right to feel good about themselves.

Their key values promote body positivity and confidence – a caring brand personality that runs through the voice of the company, from the website copy, video content and social media, creating consistent marketing campaigns that evoke trust. Dove’s consistent use of caring and nurturing language to complement its imagery has a lot of impact.

In its most famous campaign, the slogan; ‘we see beauty all around us’ accompanies an image of a diverse range of women standing together laughing and smiling in their underwear. This taps into the idea of female friendship and solidarity, evoking subtle undertones of the supportive sisterhood that modern women aspire to have, and so doesn’t just tell women they are beautiful – that they deserve to feel beautiful and worthy – but evokes a sense of friendship, which is very clever. Ultimately, it leads creates a sense of trust without us even consciously realising.

This message has been prevalent for years in Dove’s campaigns, but more recently they evolved this value into the self-esteem project which saw Dove join forces with an activist from the body positive movement. The overarching aim is to support young people’s wellbeing by delivering self-esteem classes for kids whilst they’re staying at home during the pandemic. They used video content to reach their audience, which shows they are trying to use the channels that young people use, so they can reach a newer audience, but also show they are evolving as a brand, and still ‘young’. 

Motivating an audience

Another brand that is particularly successful at communicating this way is Nike. The name immediately brings about a sense of get up and go, innovation, inspiration, inclusivity and a sense of community. This is of course due to its successful long standing campaigns over the decades.

Nike consistently uses inspiring and motivational language: “just do it” – simple and hard hitting. They are also moving into a new space – sports is for everyone:  “if you have a body, you are an athlete”. This inspirational language technique plays a huge role in the creation of Nike’s brand personality, which is simple, no nonsense and embedded in our minds permanently.

Over the years, Nike has had some tremendously successful marketing campaigns. ‘Just Do It’ puts the emphasis on being the best version of yourself. They were successful in bringing a no nonsense ‘sports subculture’ attitude to the mainstream, even introducing it to children and teenagers. They were one of the brands responsible for making sports glamorous.

Nike uses video to reach its audiences, featuring personal meaningful stories from a range of athletes across the world, creating an emotional response from the viewer. These meaningful stories or ‘tear-jerkers’ some might like to say, emphasise Nike’s brand personality, which is aspirational and ‘authentic’, ultimately reminding us of our goals and influencing us to purchase – again often without us even realising.

It’s curious how a brand’s core beliefs are intertwined in our minds without us even being consciously aware. Yet that is why Nike and Dove are two excellent examples of what the most successful  brands do. You want your brand to be so memorable in the minds of the consumers, so memorable that your brand’s core values will just spring to mind when consumers hear your brand’s name, without them even having to make a conscious effort. 

It just goes to show, once you have defined your core values and beliefs as a brand and have found a way to effectively communicate this personality you have created, you really are on the road to success…and that truly is the value of brand values.


Written by Lucy Reed, Digital Marketing Coordinator at Phlashweb

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