Integrating Core Values into Brand Messaging

August 15, 2016

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Frances_Headshot2015_sticker_basic.pngby Frances Leary

At the foundation of every purpose-driven organization is the reason why you do what you do. You know what it is. Your team knows what it is (or at least they should). Your audience, however, doesn't really know why you do what you...at least not until after they've spent time getting to know you.

This is a huge MISS because it means you aren't conveying your core values to your audience up front. They can't take a look at your website or your social channels and figure out who you really are at your core and why you do what you do. Ultimately this is costing you business. People want to buy from organizations with transparent corporate social responsibility. They want to know what you stand for and why they should buy from you.

Here are four steps that will help your organization integrate your core values into your brand messaging.

Step 1: Define Your Core Purpose

If your core purposes is not well-defined, then it's likely that even your team is not exactly sure how this fits in with your company goals. It's important to go back to the basics here: Why are you doing what you're doing? Other than to drive profit, what do you want to accomplish with the work your company does? Dig deep into the impact you want to make on your Triple Bottom Line, and identify what is most important.

Your core purpose may be to:

  • Help increase availability of safe drinking water in developing countries
  • Help end exploitation in garment manufacturing
  • Help end misogyny around the world
  • Help decrease homelessness in your local community
  • Help provide more meals for people in need

This list could go on and on. 

Solicit the help from other members of your organization to define your purpose. Then write it down and make sure all of your team members understand it and are committed to helping your organization fulfill this purpose.

Step 2: Develop Your Impact Story

Now that you have defined your core values, it's time to integrate that purpose into a story that communicates your greater impact. The power of storytelling is palpable. It makes your organization real, and it connects you with your audience in a very emotional and engaging way. 

To begin telling your impact story, consider these things:

  • Who is at the heart of your impact story? Whose passion drives your core purpose?
  • What is the context for your story? When and where did it begin? When and where is it taking place (not just where you are, but where your impact reaches)? 
  • What occurred that led you to where you are now, to discovering how you could serve your audience and your deeper purpose with the products or services you offer?
  • How has all of this brought you were you are serving the deeper purpose you serve now?

Write out these answers and explore how you can craft the above into a narrative that shows your story and evokes an emotional response in those who hear it.

Step 3: Build Your Brand Messaging and Communication around Your Purpose and Your Impact Story

If you simply complete steps 1 and 2, your audience still will never know who you truly are and why you do what you do. You must build your brand messaging around your core values. 

Realize first that brand is not created but rather interpreted by your audience. In other words, your audience really defines what your brand is. Therefore, you need to do everything you can to make sure that what your audience interprets as your brand is actually what you want your brand to be.

Everything that communicates who you are to your audience needs to based on the greater purpose you want to achieve. That includes:

  • brand colors
  • brand images
  • website aesthetics
  • website content
  • other content: blogs, videos, infographics
  • social content: text, memes, posts, articles you are
  • engagement: the way you converse with your audience online and offline
  • customer service
  • using social media for positive impact

What you look like, along with everything you say and how you say it should be a reflection of who you are at the core of your business. And...your commitment to achieving your deeper purpose should extend to the ways in which you communicate with your audience. Start using your online communication as a force for good.

Get Your Team On Board

In order for you to tell your story effectively and in a way that communicates your core values, you need to get your entire team involved. Every employee needs not only to understand your deeper purpose but be committed to helping your organization achieve it.

Your team members are your greatest brand ambassadors and potentially have the greatest impact in helping your achieve your goals. However, if they do not understand your deeper purpose, if they can't tell your story, if they are not personally in alignment with where you want to go as an organization....they could actually be more harmful than helpful.

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