In the article “An Actionable Definition of Brands. Benefits. Examples. Approach” I define brands as “the sum of all the associations consumers have with a particular product or service”. In the article “What Is A Brand Positioning? Definition, Benefits, Framework, And Examples” I define brand positioning as” the set of associations you want your consumers to assign to your brand in the next 3 to 5 years.”
Our own research and analysis of over 1200 case studies of successful brand building shows that 26 potential sources of brand associations can systematically be explored when trying to position a brand.
Here, we are exploring Brand values and how they can align with aspirational consumer values.
Our values are centrally held beliefs, principles, or standards of behavior of what is important to us in life or what we aspire to. Some people might be driven by the need for self-actualization, others by the need to belong. Some people might value innovation and progress (gravitating towards the latest and greatest and being willing to stand in line for hours for the new iPhone), while others value craftsmanship and tradition. For some again, the environment and harmony with nature might be important; for others it is not.
Values drive behaviors
Values matter because they typically guide our judgment about what is important and worthwhile in life and because they influence and determine our behaviors, our lifestyles and our brand choices. Aligning your brand’s core values with the values that guide your consumers can be a very effective way to position your brand.
Examples of brand values
The luxury watch brand Patek Philippe, for example, is positioned around the values of family and traditions, beautifully captured by its tagline ”You never actually own a Patek Philippe. You merely look after it for the next generation”. It didn’t establish the brand and justify its high price-point by selling time (the category), fashion (Swatch), status (Rolex), or lifestyle (Breitling). It carved out a unique space in the mind of consumers by associating itself with values a certain group of buyers aspire to or identify with.
Other examples would include Master Card’s “Priceless” platform (acknowledging and embracing the value that there are more important things in life than money…which, by the way, has been copied by every other bank brand in one form or another).
Focus should be on aspirational consumer values
This approach works even better if the brand focuses on values that are slightly aspirational for your audience (who they want to be as opposed to who they really are). This allows your consumers to associate with those aspirational values and thus validate and reinforce their self-image.
- The easiest way to do this exercise is to draw a venn diagram.
- On the left, list the core values your consumers aspire to (try to limit those to 4 or 5 at the most).
- On the right, list your brand’s core values (again limit them to 4 or 5).
- Looking at both your core consumer values and your core brand values (and where they overlap), what positioning ideas do these values inspire?
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Interested in insights and how to generate them instead? Then the Aha! The Indispensable Insight Generation Toolkit might be for you. Available as a set of method cards in the US and as a Kindle document outside the US.
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