Friday, August 31, 2007

The trouble with brand values

I've never been a big fan of brand values, feeling that, in the vast majority of cases, they fail the Opposite Test. (Look dispassionately at what you've just written. Ask yourself would anyone, in any circumstances, ever state or claim the opposite? If the answer is no, then what you've said is a waste of space. Do all those companies describing themselves as innovative, committed or open-minded imagine that, among their competitors, there are businesses which would fearlessly claim to be imitative, half-arsed or blinkered?)

But a more specific grievance is the way that when people compile lists of brand values (a minimum of four, a maximum of six), they recklessly combine abstract nouns and adjectives - as for example:

"Our brand values are teamwork, flexible, trust and entrepreneurial."

Make up your mind. Are your values the qualities you want your brand to be seen to possess, or words that describe your brand? They really can't be both.