What are brand values ​​that can be owned

The blog about marketing, strategy and innovation

Not all companies manage to define the right brand values ​​for them. It's not that difficult at all.

We recently spent a few days off in the Allgäu. When choosing the accommodation, we selected the criteria for a short family vacation that are important to us: large rooms, child-friendly, close to nature and of course affordable.

We quickly found something suitable, briefly checked the reviews on the relevant portals again - it fits. Good reviews, very good price / performance ratio, only the food was generally criticized. We accepted that, it won't be that bad. Especially since the hotel gives a very exclusive impression on its website and flyers that the brand values ​​“relax, feel good, enjoy” (a bit alienated, as I don't want to demonstrate the hotel here) and also explicitly refers to the excellent cuisine.

What we experienced only partially corresponded to the advertising text: rooms were great, hotel complex and variety for the children too. But the food defied description: mass processing at the buffet with hardly any choice, problems with supplies, overstrained and understaffed staff. In short: the reviews were right. Fortunately, we expected this and were not overly disappointed.

Between desire and reality: self-image vs. external image

I just wonder how the guests, who relied on the hotel's self-description and had different expectations? A terrible disappointment that cannot be compensated for by the other numerous advantages of the hotel.

Obviously it was the same Self-image of the hotel (self-description) not that External image (Experience of the guests). Or the flyers show the hotel's wishful thinking, not the actual performance. It is all too understandable that the hotel management wants to give the most positive image possible in external communication. And the conveyed brand values ​​should also be relevant for the target group (“well-equipped conference rooms” wasn’t for me in the situation decisive criterion for purchase).

Brand values: customer relevance and own performance

At the same time, however, care must be taken to ensure that it also fits together: the Brand values have to go to the Efficiency fit and be important to the customer. An airline can make the brand promise "punctuality" submit, "technical innovation”On the other hand, may be irrelevant for the majority of travelers. For an aircraft manufacturer, on the other hand, this could be a very sensible brand value.

Even more important, however, is that it is also about brand values, which the customer can also experience. If the airline is chronically unpunctual, you will be given the brand promise "punctuality”- and in the worst case all other brand values ​​as well - do not decrease and the brand becomes implausible. Then the company is damaged and it costs a lot of time, energy and money to win back the trust of the customers.

Determining the right brand values

How do you get the right brand values? A four-stage process is available for this:

  1. collection: In the first step, possible brand values ​​are collected. In doing so, creativity should be allowed to run free. Brand values ​​could e.g. B. be: Innovative ability, quality, efficiency, investment security, price / performance ratio, comfort, economy, inexpensive, ergonomics, service, partnership, convenience, speed, ...
  2. Customer relevance: In the next step, the brand values ​​are sorted according to their Relevance to the target customers rated (this assumes, of course, that you have already defined the target customers and know who the addressee is for your brand communication). On any scale, e.g. from 1-10, you assign each brand value a customer relevance value.
  3. Own Efficiency: thirdly, there is a similar assessment, only with one Inside perspective. What brand value can we credibly communicate? The brand values ​​are evaluated here in the same way as in step two on the same scale. This step requires critical self-reflection. Often the wish is the father of the thought and the evaluation is too positive. To confirm the result, a customer survey can also be carried out to determine how customers see the company.
  4. Merging: in the last step the results are in one Portfolio summarized. The brand values ​​appear at the bottom left that are not relevant for the customer, but which we also do not master. At the top right are the relevant brand values ​​that we can also credibly communicate.

With the help of this representation it is immediately apparent which Brand promise we can deliver. This should do that Core of brand communication form and z. B. also the basis for one Claim form.

Strategic brand management: further development of brand values

But you also recognize which values ​​are important for the customer, but which the company cannot yet achieve. These are important criteria that a competitor may already be able to map. It makes perfect sense to use these brand values internally to the employees as an objective to communicate and to incorporate into the corporate strategy. However, external communication to customers should only take place if the company can actually fulfill this brand promise. That is strategic branding.

So one should be careful not to define and communicate brand values ​​solely on the basis of a wishful thinking (“How would I like to be perceived?”). Customers recognize immediately when a brand promise cannot be kept. The damage to the brand is immediate and lasting.

On the other hand, it is extremely credible when the actual customer experience matches the communicated brand image.

How did you determine your brand values? The examples will help other readers!