How brand values impact on what you write and say

by Joe Pelissier on May 22, 2012

Nespresso coffe capsulesAt the beginning of 2011, I wrote a post called The Power of Brand Values and suggested that 2011, the ‘age of austerity’, was a good time to start considering your brand values.

The gist of the the post was about why having a clear set of brand values distinguishes you from your competitors and what to do if you are serious about developing a set.

Over the past few months, brand values have been popping up again and again in the work I’ve been doing with clients, especially in customer service and web communication. Either that or I have some sort of fixation with them.

In my experience, either a company has a clear idea of what they are, and they cascade through communications, or they haven’t a clue.

They’re important because, courtesy of brand expert Simon Middleton, ‘brand value is a concept or principle that actively guides your behaviour and decision making‘.

Without them, you make decisions that are independent of the values that distinguish you from the competition.

The best way to explain how this works is to take the brand values of an international brand and show how, once defined, they apply to all levels of the business.

Nespresso Brand Values

I’m going to take Nespresso becuase I like their products and, professionally, I know quite a bit about them.

Nespresso has 4 main brand values:

  • Simplicity
  • Pleasure
  • Perfection
  • Aestheticism

Visit the Nespresso web pages and you will see they make no secret of the fact – which is good.

And the values make sense too.

The machines and the little capsules are simple and easy to use. Drinking coffee for many people is a pleasurable experience. Having a cup from a machine that isn’t messy and that gives pleasure is a kind of perfection. The design of the machines and the use of colours for the capsules has an aesthetic appeal – albeit subjective.

But these values are not just shallow words without meaning. You can apply them to other parts of the business.

Brand values and customer service

If you are a customer service agent and you know the values of the company, they should influence the way you communicate with clients, whether by phone or email.

What you write or say should be easy to read and understand – simple and concise, without room for doubt.

Talking to someone should be an enjoyable experience, so that the word ‘pleasure‘ feels genuine.

The solution proposed by the advisor does the trick and is perfect in execution and delivery.

The email or letter you receive is well laid out, so that it look attractive (aesthetic) on the eye.

As you can see, the Nespresso values transcribe themselves into they way the company aim to deal with its customers.

Once you have a set of values, you’ll find they have unexpected depth and you can apply them to all sorts of business activities.

Brand values in visual communication

I’m involved with a project that’s about using web presenters on websites to make them more human and persuasive.

Part of this work involves establishing the brand values of the client so that the video presenter reflects them in

  • they way they look
  • how they speak
  • the words  they use.

Unless you know what they are, you risk communicating in a way that isn’t congruent with what you stand for. And, if you think what a competitive place the web is, that’s a dangerous and costly route to go down.

George Clooney

My wife tells me this is why Nespresso uses ‘gorgeous’ George Clooney – he reflects the ‘aestheticism’ in their brand values.

Who am I to argue?

The trick behind brand values is to think of the invisible feelings you want your brand to convey. The things that make people respond positively to your products and services without knowing why.

That’s why they are so hard to unlock and why they mature and evolve. That’s also why so few companies have ones that have a lasting impact.

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