At Mission Critical Creative a new client relationship often begins when we are asked to work on a specific project like a piece of collateral. After we ask some probing questions, the job can morph into a branding project because it becomes clear that the client doesn’t have the right content to tell their brand story. As business owners or development directors, they struggle to answer these basic questions with confidence: Who are we? What do we do? Why does it matter? The answers comprise an organization’s brand values.
We work with nonprofit directors and business owners who juggle many responsibilities. Often there’s no marketing plan. They desire something to promote a new service or a donor piece to raise awareness about a new program. As consultants we advise that the marketing content needs to communicate what they believe. But why does it? There’s so much written about brand values and having a purpose-driven company. Is there evidence to explain why this is important?
Dr. John Izzo just released a book called: The Purpose Revolution. How leaders create engagement and competitive advantage in an age of social good. In it, he states that having a competitive advantage starts with having a clear purpose. A “compelling purpose” that is bigger than making money will attract consumers and employees and therefore become a preferred brand. Having a clear purpose starts with defining your brand values.
Does stating your purpose really affect your bottom line? The Harvard Business Review reported the European Management Journal found that “The more values a firm lists on its website, the better its financial performance. And the more those values differed from competitors’ values, the better the company performed.”
Differentiate with Unique Brand Values
Not only does having brand values improve your bottom line, they also function as a firm’s operating instructions. If done well, they also describe the how your organization is unique. They clearly differentiate your organization from your competition. Brand guru, Denise Lee Yohn, recommends banning these 5 words from your values statement because they are used so frequently they no longer have the power to differentiate you to your stakeholders: ethical, teamwork, authentic, fun, and customer-oriented.
Put simply, brand values describe what you believe and what people find valuable about you. Brand values describe how you do what you do. Our agency recently updated our vision, mission and brand value statements and it’s my pleasure to share them with you. Stay tuned for my next post about how to determine your brand values.
Mission Critical Creative Brand Values
Our Vision – Create and promote ideas which help build a world where all beings can have happy, healthy lives, free from suffering.
Our Mission – We partner with our clients to help improve lives. Through branding and visual storytelling, we strategize and design to create awareness, inspire, and engage.
We are Collaborative – Our tagline is “Let’s Brand Together” because our creative process includes our clients. We specialize in leading workshops to discover what your brand means to your stakeholders. As branding genius, Marty Neumeier, says, “A brand is not what you say it is, but what your audience says it is.”
We are Curious – We endeavor to have long-lasting client relationships, so we want to know who you are, what you do, and why it matters. The desire to be a true partner in building your business drives our practice. This allows us to produce creative that is informed by research and strategy.
We Strive for Clarity – As consultants, we have the ability to interpret and unscramble brands to help support your organization with clear and easy-to-understand creative.
We are Distinct – We offer both branding and design expertise in a small shop. We work for both nonprofits and businesses with many stakeholders and are experts in helping to bring about consensus. We are pragmatics who believe that design matters.
We Embrace Design Thinking – To ensure great design, we create and consider a lot of ideas, refine selected directions (repeat certain steps as necessary), pick a winner, and execute.