What Constitutes a Brand?
A brand makes up a product’s name and look underneath an overarching company. Although many brands are actually a part of the same umbrella company, they differentiate themselves with their visions, the messages they deliver, the products they sell, their target markets, and sets of brand values.
Defining Brand Value
A set of brand values is essential to successful brands on the market today. Most prosperous brands have a clear set of values, which have influence over almost everything they do as a brand. Much like how an individual’s personal values dictate their day-to-day life, a brand’s values should remain consistent in order to keep a clear identity and loyal target market.
Because brands distinguish themselves so much, many people don’t realize that the majority of the brands they’re seeing on store shelves are owned by the same company. But what does this have to do with brand values?
The Classic Example of Dove vs. Axe
It’s likely you’ve heard about this one before. Dove and Axe are personal care brands under the company Unilever. If you’re familiar with these brands, you’re aware that they represent vastly different audiences and target them with varying approaches. As consumers, we’re able to loosely define what a brand and their values are, considering we probably want the values of what we use to align with our own.
Some examples of Dove’s brand values include:
- The real you is beautiful (“Real beauty” campaign)
- Age has no relation to beauty
As opposed to the examples of Axe’s brand values:
- Emphasis on the importance of sex appeal
- “Keeps guys a step ahead in the dating game”
- “Never dull”
So now you can see how brands can be derived from the same place and have brand values that are like night and day. It’s obvious that a brand’s values make the brand.
An Example of How Values Can Get in the Way of Your Business
There are brands in existence who are open with values known to cause controversy. While an argument could be made for Axe taking part in this, let’s take a look at an example that’s even more extreme.
One of the most controversial cases when it comes to brand value is represented by Chick-fil-A. Chick-fil-A is a Christian-led fast-food chain known for its high-quality fast food and hospitality towards customers and employees. But also for its CEO and his anti-LGBT statements, which put attention on his restaurants throughout the nation. This article isn’t about stances of right and wrong, though. It’s about how personal values and brand values can become blurred — and the ways in which this can have a major impact on a brand and the public’s perception.
Chick-fil-A’s CEO admitted to wishing he never brought the debate into his business because that’s not what the Chick-fil-A is about. While it’s okay to have a brand that reflects your personal values, remember that it’s about serving an audience that is much greater than yourself.
Brands That Are Too Big To Fail
Some brands have reached a point where they are so large that it would be difficult for them to fail. They’ve developed themselves so thoroughly that people will seek them out, even if they do something that’s a bit questionable in the public eye. An example of a brand with this power is Apple.
Apple has outsourced the manufacturing of its products to China and other places across the globe. This has upset a large amount of people who feel as though important American job opportunities have been let go of, which we cannot get back. And yet, Apple continues to dominate the market. People will continue to buy their products because of the loyalty they have built and the things their brand stands for.
Why Your Business Should Have Clear Brand Values
If you don’t already, or are feeling unsure as to whether or not your business should have a clear set of values, realize that they are important. We’ve now seen how they can differentiate brands under the same company, erupt debate, and impact sales in either direction. It’s more than likely your brand is already operating under a set of values and they just need to be fleshed out a bit more. Take the time to do this, and your brand and its identity will flourish.
So how will you choose to make your brand stand out with its values?