Do your values serve you and your customers?

We’ve all been there, as managers and participants. New Leadership, new set of brand values. That last as long as the leader’s rotation.

As part of my work helping companies re-position or focus their brands, I often try to address brand values too. And it’s usually the hardest bit. Why? Because brand values feel personal. And everyone feels them differently.

I recently re-read Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People of which the central tenet, at its simplest, is to have clear values and live your life by them.  To use them to hold yourself accountable and to help others understand and know you enough to build effective relationships with you (if their values agree; of course).

It strikes me that it’s the same for companies. Brands always fail when they promise one thing and deliver another. Which is where internal values often come into play – done well they can enable consistency of customer experience from all employees. Problem is, if your staff don’t feel these brand values for themselves, it’s not real. And your customers will smell that a mile off.

I always say know what you do well and build your brand around that. To do that, you have to first ask your customers what they really value. And your staff. Then take time to align these – understanding, explaining and discussing the differences and common ground with employees. Having unifying values is helpful. Having values that your customers want to engage with is successful.  Hiring employees that can accept those values is vital. The key is knowing who you are, and what you do well – your value proposition.  So customers and employees alike can understand and know you enough to build an effective relationship with you. People buy from people, after all.