A brand is defined by so much more than what you sell: it’s defined by what you stand for and how you relay what you value most to consumers. While marketing assets such as your collateral, website, or logo can change over time, what should always remain true are your brand values.
Customers look for consistency in brands, wanting to know they can trust that their experience will remain the same with each purchase. Brands build this trust through reinforcement of their brand values with every customer touch-point. As such, it’s crucial that businesses give consumers something they can invest in beyond a well designed logo or engaging website. While your business name and your brand voice (the tone in which you speak to customers) can help to increase awareness for your products and services, what ultimately engages consumers are brand values. With that in mind, branded merchandise is key marketing tool that provides a unique avenue to not only connect with your customers, but for reinforcement of your brand values.
What are Brand Values?
While “external” brand elements such as tone and voice, along with your visual identity (logos, colors, and fonts) help to define your brand as a whole, it’s the “internal” part of your brand which helps to form strong bonds with customers. This “internal” element is known as “brand values” and it’s the purpose, personality, and proposition or “why” behind everything that you do as a company. This “why” ultimately sets you apart from your competitors and creates a memorable, lasting brand experience which your customers will remember and trust in.
While goals will be driven by the targets set by your company, brand values are your ‘true-north’, or your compass for how you want your brand to live and breathe. As such, brand values should be:
- Clear and defined
Examples of Brand Values
While what’s important will vastly differ from company to company, here are some examples of basic brand values which many companies implement.
- Transparency: Open communication, respect, and trust result in strong collaborations.
- Opportunity: Be not afraid of complex problems, instead be inspired to find creative solutions.
- Leadership: Have the courage to shape a better future.
- Resiliency: Thrive on creating and seeking opportunities to improve, learn and take on new challenges to expand abilities.
- Collaboration: Leverage collective genius.
- Integrity: Be real.
- Accountability: If it is to be, it's up to me.
- Passion: Committed in heart and mind.
- Quality: What we do, we do well.
How does Merchandise Reinforce Brand Values?
To reinforce your brand and its values, it’s important to come out with creative marketing tactics which reinforce your brand’s essence and worth. A perfect avenue for this is merchandise or promotional items. Promoting your brand goes a long way towards strengthening the attractiveness of your brand, relationships, and customer loyalty. When you reward customers, employees, or clients, you are providing additional incentives to maintain a bond with your brand.
Merchandise provides many opportunities for reinforcement of brand values. If, for example, a brand value is “quality”, you might choose to produce apparel in a premium fabric which is soft and long-lasting. Conversely, high quality journals with bespoke features can help to convey the brand value of “integrity”, whereas the brand value “opportunity” allows you the freedom to be creative in the promotional items you choose.
Merchandise can benefit your brand and reinforce your brand values in more ways than one. By crafting a confidence in your brand and delivering it consistently, you’re creating the promise of a unique, lasting experience for your customers. And that’s absolutely something they value.