Joss Newman

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Brand values and the biggest brands

When organisations share the same values great things can happen

There are two things we know well, brands and values. So, we decided to find out how well brands are communicating their values.

We took the top ten brands from Interbrand’s – Best Global Brands 2012 list, went about finding their values and developed a quiz game. The idea was simple – ten questions, each one showing a logo and asking the player to guess from a list of three options the true value for that brand.

The results so far
The engagement for the game has been great. We’ve had nearly 300 plays.
So, do people know the values of the biggest brands in the world?
To put it bluntly – no, but we don’t think it’s our player’s fault.

The vital statistics

  • The average score is currently 3 out of 10
  • The highest score so for is 6 out of 10
  • The lowest score so far is 0 out of 10
  • The highest score for a brand so far is Toyota with 42.86% of participants correctly guessing their true values
  • The lowest score for a brand so far is Apple with just 7.14% correctly guessing their true values

What does this tell us?

— Brands aren’t communicating their values very well
They all document them (with the exception of Apple), they’ve all paid for them and with a combined annual advertising spend in the tens of billions you would have thought they would have told everyone about them. Unfortunately this doesn’t seem to be the case – with the average score being below what one would expect to get simply by guessing at random.

— Brands values aren’t intuitive enough
Really, one should be able to guess a value for a big brand from a list of three even if they have never heard them before. For us, Toyota’s ‘Let’s go places’ values represent the most tangible and effective from the sample and that shows with just under half of the participants answering their question correctly.

— Why it’s a problem for organisations
With effective communication of a coherent values set being a crucial strategy in developing strong partnerships from employees in the supply chain to customers we think this situation has to change.

— Your values show you’re compatible
When organisations share the same values great things can happen. Partners can help each other when they’re singing from the same hymn sheet. You can’t impose your culture onto anyone else so it’s important to communicate your thoughts and ideals clearly which will allow you to attract the right partners at the right time.

— When you share values, you can grow together
Growing together means that a partnership can be open and responsive. Growing together also means learning from each other to develop a better way of doing things – a more sustainable way. When two or more organisations have similar values, all involved can grow. The truth is, you’re only as strong as the weakest link in the chain so don’t be afraid of stating what your values are to attract the best partners.

These are just a couple of thoughts from ‘Ten sentences: Brand values and the supply chain’, you can read the rest here.

So what can organisations do?
The first step is to look within, to get to the core values that define your culture, that make you who you are. These values should be tangible, meaningful and intuitive, more than just a list of abstract words.

Once you know who you are you need to tell people, you need to make sure who you are is in everything you do by putting your values at the heart of your brand and communications strategy.


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