Company values are far too important to be seen as “just a marketing thing”. When done well, they can improve team member retention, management focus and customer loyalty. Done badly, they can literally do the opposite. Paul Whitney (pictured), MD of Stockport accountants and business advisors, Hallidays, shares his guide to how a business can arrive at meaningful brand values.
Strong, distinctive brand values can be a crucial point of difference – they clarify our identity, remind us why we all get out of bed in the morning and serve as a rallying point for everyone in the team.
On the other hand, empty, generalised brand values are not just a weaker, harmless version of the above – they can be highly destructive. A disjoint between corporate words and working reality leads to cynicism among team members, alienates customers and undermines managerial credibility.
But coming up with strong values—and sticking to them—requires bravery and honesty. It’s important to distinguish between those values that actually make your company what it is (and set you apart), and those you share with your competitors because they’re the minimum customers expect. Worse still, beware of “virtue signalling” values – those you feel you should talk about because everyone else is.
So let’s clarify the different types of values so that we can judge for ourselves between actual, useful principles and empty words:
Core values are the deeply ingrained principles that govern everything a company does, at every level; they’re its cultural cornerstones.
Aspirational values are those on which the company’s future success may well depend, but aren’t yet part of your make-up.
“Entry-Fee” values, to put it bluntly, are just the bare minimum behavioural and social standards required to be in business.
Accidental values are those which have arisen without management guidance and have become ingrained because they’re simply a common trait among the employees.
Read the full guide on the Hallidays website.