In 2019, a study by Havas Media Group uncovered that 77% of consumers would rather do business with brands that share their values. This means that not having clearly defined brand values — or not communicating them properly in every interaction with your ideal buyer — is not only hurting your brand’s reputation, but it could also be costing you potential clients.
So how can you better define your values and make sure they are easy to identify?
Let’s first start by discussing what brand values are.
What are brand values?
Your brand values are your guiding principles for how you run your business. They inform your day-to-day life, how you work with your customers, and the decisions that ultimately affect your entire organization — no matter how big or small.
When defining your core brand values, here are a few questions you and your team should be answering:
- What do we value most as a company?
- What do we do well?
- What do we want to be known for?
- How did a recent positive experience with a brand make me feel?
- How did a recent negative experience with a brand make me feel?
- What are some of the brands we look up to?
- What are some traits we want to avoid?
- How do we want our customers to feel about us?
Once your brand values are crystal clear, it’s time to start thinking about how to make them present in everything that’s linked to your brand.
A great start is graphic design.
The Importance of Graphic Design
Did you know that a recent study determined that If there’s a value mismatch, 39% of shoppers said they’d permanently boycott their favorite brand, and 24% would break ties at least temporarily?
This means that the ideal consumer doesn’t only care about your brand values, but they also want to ensure that you’re staying true to them and representing them in everything you do.
Graphic design is an excellent way to bring your company values into the spotlight while also connecting with your ideal buyer in a deeper way. Here are six ways in which your company values and your design should align.
1. Create user experiences that have valuable outcomes
In this day and age, having someone’s attention is not your brand’s right — it’s a privilege. Whether it’s through your website, your social media, your asset sheets, or any interaction you have with a potential client, you must create engaging experiences that are memorable and have a deeper value.
A great example for this is the annual Spotify wrapped, a viral marketing campaign that deeply personalizes content based on the artists, songs, podcasts, and playlists the user played the most throughout the year.
This is not only exciting for Spotify users to receive at the end of every year, but it continues to promote the brand’s playfulness with the right content and imagery.
2. Engage your customers by designing ways for them to interact with your brand.
Interactive design is a great way to connect with your customers at a deeper level. Take advantage of videos, surveys, dynamic infographics, and any resource that presents important information in a fun, exciting way.
3. Represent everyone
Diversity, equity, and inclusion matter now more than ever. This is why your design should represent people of all backgrounds, ages, sexual orientations, races, and creeds. This is not only a great way to demonstrate that your business welcomes everyone with the same level of respect, but it’s also the right thing to do.
Graphic designers are on the front line of making the decisions of who gets to be in photos used in ads, brochures, emails, social graphics, and more. It is our responsibility to represent everyone in a meaningful, respectful manner.
4. Remove the clutter
Unless you work for Marie Kondo, chances are your brand values don’t necessarily discuss clutter. However, if your brand values touch on transparency, kindness, great communication, or ease of use, there should be no room for clutter in your designs.
An important part of this is narrowing your brand values to the top three. This will ensure that nearly everything you do echoes those three pillars.
5. Be consistent
Graphic design is the place where innovation and creativity come together to create visually appealing images that help proliferate your brand message. When you stick to your brand guidelines and show consistency, viewers will know to expect this from everything that has to do with your brand.
6. Be kind
It is not easy to represent kindness visually, but your target audience will certainly know it when they see it.
Beyond Graphic Design
Marketing is defined as the process of creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.
Marketing is present in all the content you create for your brand, in the assets that you share with your buyers, in the way you package and deliver your products, and in all the images that you choose to be associated with your company (aka graphic design!).
Your brand’s core values need to be a focus in every department and need to have universal follow through. For example, if your brand advertises and designs that they are eco-friendly but no one in the business has any follow through with that, your brand will suffer more damage than any good for example.
Strong, powerful, recognizable brands are made through a set of items that include the right branding, the right messaging, the right target audience and the right core values. When you bring them all together, you gain brand equity and awareness that matters.
Whether you’re a designer yourself, or a marketer working with an external agency or an in-house designer, it is your responsibility to ensure that your brand values are well represented through:
- Great customer experience
- Engaging connections
My Core Values
Everything I do is driven by honesty, transparency, collaboration, integrity, and balance. These core values are what I carry with me through every project, allowing me to deliver unmatched work that worlds for my clients.
If your values align with mine, and you’re looking for thoughtful, respectful, and powerful design that resonates with your audience — we should work together.