Brand-building Basics: Vision, Values, and Voice

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My workshop for @NUXuk NUX Camp 2015 and @UXBristol 2014. Branding is not about making the logo bigger. Brand is what people say about you when you're not in the room. It’s an idea that you stand for, made real by what you do, and expressed through your personality. By expressing your unique, authentic and relevant vision, values, and voice, you can make your product stand out from the crowd.

This workshop uses exercises to explore defining a core purpose for a brand, understanding core values, and writing in a voice that’s true to your personality.

See the writeup of the session at: http://2014.uxbristol.org.uk/summary-brand-building-basics-vision-values-voice/

I offer an expanded 2-day version of this workshop for businesses looking to understand their brand and market positioning. Mail me: michael AT bigtrak DOT com.

Published in: Marketing

Brand-building Basics: Vision, Values, and Voice

  1. 1. @mikeatherton NUX Camp 2015 Brand-building basics Values, vision, and voice Mike Atherton
  2. 2. THE BRAND WORKSHOP Welcome!
  3. 3. 5 minutes: Play in pairs. One person take a brand card, and must describe it to their partner using one-word clues. After each clue, the partner makes a guess. Warm-up exercise: Passwords
  4. 4. Time’s Up!
  5. 5. THE BRAND WORKSHOP Let’s get started…
  6. 6. –Wally Olins “A brand is an idea that you stand for, made real by what you do and expressed through your personality.”
  7. 7. Wholesome, loveable, safe Dangerous, rude, dirty
  8. 8. THE FIRST LAW OF BRANDING IS AL RIES, THE 22 IMMUTABLE LAWS OF BRANDING FOCUSOWNING A SINGLE DIFFERENTIATED IDEA IN THE CUSTOMER MIND
  9. 9. –Marty Neumeier “The main purpose of branding is to get more people to buy more stuff for more years at a higher price.”
  10. 10. Awareness Consideration Preference Satisfaction THE BRAND LADDER “Building brand equity is a sequence of steps, where each step is dependent on successful completion of the previous one.” Kevin Lane Keller - Building Customer-based Brand Equity, 2001 Loyalty
  11. 11. Progression of Economic Value commodities goods services experiences transformations CUSTOMERRELEVANCY DIFFERENTIATION PRICE PREMIUM Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore - The Experience Economy, 1999
  12. 12. Constructing Brand DNA Brand DNA Product / benefit Core purpose Desired positioning Vision of the future Personality Values
  13. 13. @mikeatherton In this workshop • Vision • Core purpose, future vision, and the Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal • Values • How to uncover genuine core values within an organisation • Voice • Finding your authentic personality traits for expressing true voice and tone
  14. 14. THE BRAND WORKSHOP Vision
  15. 15. –Charles Revson “In the factory we make cosmetics. In the drugstore, we sell hope.”
  16. 16. @mikeatherton Value proposition • A brand’s value proposition is a statement of the rational, emotional, and self- expressive benefits delivered by the brand that provide value to the customer. • Rational: Provides functional utility to the customer • Emotional: Gives the customer a positive feeling • Self-expressive: Reflect the customer’s self-image
  17. 17. Mission: Not like this.
  18. 18. Like this.
  19. 19. @mikeatherton What’s our core purpose? • Our core purpose is our business’s most fundamental reason for being. • It’s not the same thing as our current product offering; rather it’s an idealistic view of the reason we do what we do. • Our core purpose is never about maximising revenue or shareholder value.
  20. 20. –3M “To solve unsolved problems innovatively.”
  21. 21. –Nike “To experience the emotion of competition, winning, and crushing competitors.”
  22. 22. –Barclays “To help people achieve their ambitions, in the right way.”
  23. 23. –Walt Disney “To make people happy.”
  24. 24. –Peter Drucker “Create the customer and the money will follow.”
  25. 25. Example: BBC Wildlife Finder site We made an online guide to wildlife using BBC content Why is that important? It gives people new access to the BBC’s natural history archive Why? The BBC have invested heavily in natural history programming for over 50 years Why? The BBC want to make quality programmes which stand the test of time. Why? The BBC want to inform, educate, and entertain the British public. Why is that important? The natural history archive has some of the best footage anywhere in the world Core purpose
  26. 26. The Magic Toyshop It provides access to toys people once loved or will love We want to evoke a sense of nostalgia, wonder, or exploration We want to appeal to everyone’s inner child We want people to experience or recall happy times of their youth We want to create and recreate the magic moments of childhood Why is that important? Why is that important? Why? Why? Why? We sell new and vintage toys online to children and adults Core purpose of the organisation
  27. 27. PaperJam It overcomes the siloed structure of many businesses We believe people do better work when they collaborate Collaborative culture helps to connect people across business To promote individuals and businesses working together We want a global network of business intelligence Why is that important? Why is that important? Why? Why? Why? We make a tool for businesses to create and share documents Core purpose of the organisation
  28. 28. –John F. Kennedy “We choose to go to the moon and do the other things in this decade, not because they are easy but because they are hard.”
  29. 29. @mikeatherton The Big Hairy Audacious Goal • Engages people - grabs them in the gut! • Is tangible, energising, highly-focused • Needs little or no explanation • The goal provides a unifying point of effort and creates tremendous team spirit.
  30. 30. A computer on every desk and in every home. Every book ever printed in any language, available in 60 seconds. To democratise the automobile. Ford, 1909 Microsoft, 1977 Amazon, 2008
  31. 31. 20 minutes: Work back from what your given organisation does to arrive at why they do it. Determine a Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal for your brand to achieve by 2030. Exercise: Purpose and goal
  32. 32. Time’s Up!
  33. 33. Guess who and when? We will create products that become pervasive around the world. We will be the first Japanese company to go into the American market and distribute directly. We will succeed with innovations like the transistor radio that American companies have failed at. Fifty years from now, our brand-name will be as well known as any on Earth and will signify innovation and quality that rivals the most innovative companies anywhere. “Made in Japan” will mean something fine, not shoddy. I will build a motor car for the great multitude. It will be so low in price that no man making a good salary will be unable to own one and enjoy with his family the blessing of hours of pleasure in God's great open spaces. When I'm through, everybody will be able to afford one, and everyone will have one. The horse will have disappeared from our highways, the automobile will be taken for granted and we will give a large number of men employment at good wages. Sony - 1950s Henry Ford - 1909
  34. 34. Break time!
  35. 35. THE BRAND WORKSHOP Core values
  36. 36. @mikeatherton Whose values? • Communication • Respect • Integrity • Excellence
  37. 37. –Groucho Marx “Those are my principles and if you don't like them… well, I have others.”
  38. 38. @mikeatherton What are core values? • Values are the qualities and virtues we care most deeply about. • Values come from within. They’re a slice of our company’s genetic code. • Values stand the test of time, and we hold on to them through thick and thin. • Values aren't what we want to be - they are what we actually are. • To support our brand, values also need to be compelling to customers, relevant to the our product category, and be meaningfully distinctive.
  39. 39. @mikeatherton Values must be… • Authentic • An accurate representation of our organisational culture • Shared • Ready to be stated publicly • Held • Accountability, even when difficult • Lived • Used as a recruitment and performance measure
  40. 40. BRAND VALUES ARE THE SHARED VALUES OF PEOPLEVALUES ARE UNCOVERED, NOT CREATED.
  41. 41. @mikeatherton Nordstrom • Service to the customer above all else • Hard work and individual productivity • Never being satisfied • Excellence in reputation; being part of something special
  42. 42. Welcome to Nordstrom We're glad to have you with our Company. Our number one goal is to provide outstanding customer service. Set both your personal and professional goals high. We have great confidence in your ability to achieve them. Nordstrom Rules: Rule #1: Use best judgment in all situations. There will be no additional rules. Please feel free to ask your department manager, store manager, or division general manager any question at any time.
  43. 43. @mikeatherton Zappos • Deliver WOW Through Service • Embrace and Drive Change • Create Fun and A Little Weirdness • Be Adventurous, Creative, and Open-Minded • Pursue Growth and Learning • Build Open and Honest Relationships • Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit • Do More With Less • Be Humble
  44. 44. @mikeatherton Etsy • Mindful, transparent, humane business • Plan and build for the long-term • Craftsmanship • Fun should be part of everything we do • Keep it real, always
  45. 45. @mikeatherton Verbalising values • Values are best expressed as verbs. Nouns can’t be actioned. • One-word values need further explanation. • Punchy phrases are easier to remember. • ‘Go big or go home’ is better than ‘Ambition’ • ‘Talk to anyone, anytime’ is better than ‘Communication’ • ‘Always exceed expectation’ is better than ‘Customer-focus’
  46. 46. You’ve been asked to create a new organisation from scratch on Mars, but there are only 5 spaces on the ship! Choose the people who best embody the spirit of the company. Which colleagues would you take, and why? Exercise: Mission to Mars
  47. 47. Astronaut name Values they exhibit Why they should go Dan Always invent Makes social important
 Always ask questions Dan represents the youthful spirit of the company, always trying new things and pushing us to do better. Astronaut name Values they exhibit Why they should go Michelle Loves customers Problem-solver Pride in teaching Michelle loves customer relationships - she can’t do enough to help. Her passion for the product makes her a great enthusiastic explainer. Astronaut name Values they exhibit Why they should go Suzanne Social conscience Gives us deeper meaning Suzanne’s work on our community programme reminds us of the real good our product can do for people, which makes us want to make it better. Astronaut name Values they exhibit Why they should go Kunal Takes UK to the world Hits all his targets Finds opportunities Kunal has made sure the world knows our name without compromising our personality. He’s great at finding new markets we can sell to. Astronaut name Values they exhibit Why they should go Jami Voice of the user Wants to beat competition Jami knows what users want, goes to bat for customers, and makes sure we never knowingly lose a customer to the competition.
  48. 48. Core value candidates Always be inventing Never know everything Stay young and foolish Push for better Make a customer’s day, every day Share knowledge openly Support our communities Take the UK to the World Explore strange new worlds Go to bat for the customer Never knowingly lose a customer to the competition
  49. 49. Time’s Up!
  50. 50. Some value bear traps “Honest” “Reliable” “Easy-to-use” “Market-leading…” “Simply the best….”
  51. 51. @mikeatherton Meaningful opposites • Customer-facing values must be true, interesting, relevant and distinctive. • Avoid talking about values that are a ‘given’: Honesty, Reliability, Integrity, Respect… • A distinctive value is like a fork in the road: • Maximising service vs. minimising price • Focused on tradition vs. Focused on the future • Concerned with privacy vs. Promoting sharing • Empowering the individual vs. Empowering communities
  52. 52. @mikeatherton Exercise: Testing values • If you started again in a new industry, would you build it around this value? • Would you want your organisation to stand for this value in 100 years? • Would you want to hold this value, even if it became a competitive disadvantage? • Do those who consistently breach this value simply not belong in your organisation? • Would you personally hold this value even if you were not rewarded for it? • Would you change jobs before giving up this value? • If you could retire tomorrow, would you continue to hold this value?
  53. 53. BRAND VALUES ARE THE SHARED VALUES OF PEOPLEVALUES ARE UNCOVERED, NOT CREATED.
  54. 54. THE BRAND WORKSHOP Voice and Personality
  55. 55. –Richard Branson “I'm convinced that it is feelings, and feelings alone, that account for the success of the Virgin brand and all its myriad forms.”
  56. 56. @mikeatherton Expressing personality • Know your personality archetype(s) • Define your personality traits and limits • Place yourself among friends and neighbours • Create a voice and tone guide
  57. 57. FREEDOM ORDER GROUP
 FOCUS SELF
 FOCUS
  58. 58. Archetypes The Sage The Innocent The Explorer The Ruler Goal to use intelligence and analysis to understand the world to be happy to experience a better, more authentic, more fulfilling life to create a prosperous, successful family or community Talent wisdom, intelligence faith, optimism autonomy, ambition, being true to one’s soul responsibility, leadership Approach provide expertise or information to customers offer a simple solution to a problem helps people feel free, nonconformist or pioneering high-status product or service used by powerful people to enhance their power AKA expert, scholar, detective, advisor, thinker, philosopher, academic, researcher, thinker, planner, professional, mentor, teacher, contemplative, guru utopian, traditionalist, naive, mystic, saint, romantic, dreamer seeker, iconoclast, wanderer, individualist, pilgrim boss, leader, aristocrat, king, queen, politician, role model, manager or administrator Examples BBC, CNN, Google Dove soap, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, Innocent Drinks Patagonia, Jeep, Marlboro IBM, Microsoft, British Airways
  59. 59. Archetypes The Creator The Caregiver The Magician The Hero Goal to realise a vision to help others to make dreams come true expert mastery in a way that improves the world Talent creativity, imagination compassion, generosity finding win-win solutions, making the complex appear simple competence, courage Approach promote self-expression, give customers choices and options, help foster innovation or is artistic in design give customers a competitive advantage, serve the public sector, e.g. health care, education, aid programs and other caregiving fields product or service is transformative underdog or challenger brands, products and services that are strong and help people do tough jobs exceptionally well AKA artist, inventor, innovator, muse, musician, writer or dreamer saint, altruist, parent, helper, supporter visionary, catalyst, inventor, charismatic leader, shaman, healer, medicine man warrior, crusader, rescuer, superhero, saviour, soldier, dragon slayer, the winner and the team player Examples Lego, Sony, Dyson Mother Teresa, Johnson’s Baby Shampoo Disney, Apple, Oil of Olay Nike, Superman
  60. 60. Archetypes The Outlaw The Lover The Jester The Everyman Goal to overturn what isn’t working being in a relationship with the people, work and surroundings they love to have a great time and lighten up the world to belong Talent outrageousness, radical freedom passion, gratitude, appreciation, and commitment joy realism, empathy, lack of pretence Approach appeal to customers or employees who feel disenfranchised from society help people belong, find friends or partners give people a sense of belonging, help people have a good time offers everyday functionality and practicality AKA rebel, revolutionary, wild man, the misfit, or iconoclast partner, friend, intimate, enthusiast, sensualist, spouse, team-builder fool, trickster, joker, practical joker or comedian good old boy, everyman, the person next door, the realist, the working stiff, the solid citizen, the good neighbour, the silent majority Examples Harley-Davidson, Virgin, Apple Victoria’s Secret, Baileys, Haagen- Dazs E4, Nintendo, Muppets eBay, IKEA, Daz, Tesco
  61. 61. –Rohit Bhargava Personality Not Included “Brand voice must be unique, authentic and talkable.”
  62. 62. Brand personality scale Sincerity Excitement Competence Sophistication Ruggedness Down-to-earth - Daring Reliable Upper-class Outdoorsy Family-oriented Trendy Hard-working Glamorous Masculine Small-town Exciting Secure Good-looking Western Honest Spirited Intelligent Charming Tough Sincere Cool Technical Feminine Rugged Real Young Corporate Smooth Wholesome Imaginative Successful Original Unique Leader Confident Cheerful Up-to-date Sentimental Independent Friendly Contemporary Jennifer Aaker, Dimensions of Brand Personality (1997)
  63. 63. is , , but never . trendy spirited wholesome is , , but never . hard-working friendly corporate is , , but never . reliable wholesome exciting is , , but never . daring confident charming
  64. 64. Our friends and neighbours If our brand were a car… Our ideal spokesperson would be… Our kindred spirit brands are…
  65. 65. Tina Fey Modern woman, intelligent humour, touch of sarcasm. Hugh Laurie British manner with global relevance, dry sarcasm. New MINI British know-how, glamour, fun, well-built, informal, technology wrapped in timeless style. David Tennant Charm, British but global, warmth, geek chic. Moo Avoiding commoditisation by delivering delight in the details. Dyson British boffin builds beautiful ball, beating big boys. MailChimp Application meets character to build a pleasurable experience. Zipcar Disrupting a complex incumbent with an easy, smart vision.
  66. 66. @mikeatherton Goldilocks statements • Feminine but not girly • Witty but not zany • Irreverent but not random • Informal but not cutesy • Clever but not elitist • Cheeky but not punk • Geeky but not niche • Irreverent but not vague • Parental but not stern • Stylish but not trendy • Trustworthy but not earnest • Surprising but not shocking
  67. 67. Your brand personality can be expressed through archetypes, traits, and relationships to other brands and personalities. As a group, discuss the archetypes and assemble the personality sheet. Remember, the personality of the organisation comes from the people who work there! Exercise: Get Personal
  68. 68. Time’s Up!
  69. 69. @mikeatherton Voice vs. tone • Our voice is our attitude to our material. It stems from our personality, and governs the linguistic patterns we use. Our voice should remain consistent throughout our messaging. • Our tone adapts to circumstance or our customer’s emotional state. By varying tone within the same overall voice, our brand communications feel more lifelike.
  70. 70. @mikeatherton Tone considerations • What situation is the reader in at the moment? • How do they feel right now? • How is this content going to affect the reader? • How can I maintain the reader's state of mind or put her in a better one? • Be extra careful around sensitive subjects like health, religion and financial transactions.
  71. 71. @mikeatherton Voice Description • A statement which describes the personality of your brand voice. • May include archetype, top-line personality traits, and guiding principles. • Used to ensure brand communications all speak with a consistent voice. • Can be further expressed by use of a ‘mascot’, which may or may not be visible.
  72. 72. Example: Huddle’s voice statement The people's champion, speaking to those on the front-line. A friendly tone echoes the people behind the brand. We’re authoritative, understated, charming and witty. We’ve even a sliver of geek chic. We're resonant to the British, and relevant to the world. Character: HUD The helpful friend who's on your side; clever with a dry sense of humour. She knows that your job isn't always fun, and shares knowledge amiably. HUD uses the odd British idiom because she knows you love her accent. Would say: “Here’s one I made earlier.” Wouldn’t say: “Check out this awesome file!”
  73. 73. Tone examples: MailChimp Good news: I’ve completed the main task I came here to accomplish. Bad news: My account has been unexpectedly suspended.
  74. 74. “Welcome, Alastair Mitchell.” “Yo Alastair! Ready to rock and roll?” “Hello Alastair. Are you sitting comfortably? Then let's begin.” “Operation failed.
 Please try again.” “Uh-oh.The tubes got clogged. Let's have a do-over.” “Your file didn't upload properly. Sorry about that. Try again?” “No files or folders.” “Zip. Nada. Nothing to see here. Move along, already!” “What a desolate place this is! Maybe add some documents?” “ A secure online environment where information can easily and securely be shared externally within your business ecosystem.” “A cool safe place for you to hang out at work and share your secret files.” “A place where you can share documents more easily and securely with your co-workers.” Too little Just right Too much
  75. 75. @mikeatherton The voice guide • Statement of our values, which guide what we talk about • List of our personality traits, which guide how we talk • Statement describing our tone of voice • Positioning lines • Friends and neighbours • Examples of how to speak with our voice, and vary our tone • Email marketing, social media, website copy, error handling, telephone scripts etc.
  76. 76. Time to wrap up!
  77. 77. Constructing Brand DNA Brand DNA Product / benefit Core purpose Desired positioning Vision of the future Personality Values
  78. 78. Complete vision framework Core purpose Core values Audacious goals Vivid descriptions Core Values Vivid description Excellence: Get the best, then make it better Our reason for being is to set minds on fire. Make every customer touch point a place where that's what we do every marketing piece, every phone call, every Web visit, every package and piece of mail. ... Our programs will be featured in Time or Newsweek as one of the primary contributors to the radical improvement in high-school performance in the United States... Hundreds of thousands of people who never finished high school will become devoted learners of great literature, philosophy, and science ... The best teachers in the world will reach 1,000 times the number of students they now reach. Cultivate every resource; pull weeds immediately Results-oriented work ethic Fair and generous relationships with our people and customers; expect the same in return Integrity. Period. Core Purpose 25-year BHAG To ignite in all people the passion for learning Create and bring forth the best collegiate and high school programs that have ever been invented
  79. 79. –Frank N. Furter “Don’t dream it. Be it.”
  80. 80. Further reading Some ideas and exercises in this workshop are adapted from these sources.

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