How to Be A Courageous Brand

There’s no hard or fast rule that says a brand has to be loud about its values… or even that it has to communicate values openly to its consumers.

While most marketers tend to agree that having a few core brand values that are clearly-identified and well-articulated for audiences helps those followers establish a deeper connection, this is not by any means required to be successful. Being passive about your brand values is not a crime.

But it’s not courageous. Courageous brands understand their values deeply; they recognize that their ideal audience will connect with their brand in a more meaningful way if shared values are communicated openly. They also recognize that they may alienate a handful of on-the-fence customers whose values don’t necessarily align with their own… and they’re okay taking that risk. Courageous brands understand that they’re not out to please everyone, but that by being resolute in their beliefs and by acting in ways that articulate those values, they’re better serving their own audiences. Let’s step out of our comfort zones a little and talk about what it means to be truly brave with your brand.

We communicate our values authentically, and don’t try to be everything to everyone.

It’s easiest to connect with followers over brand values when you’re real with them. So don’t talk about issues, problems, ethics, or morals from a lofty or preachy place – have authentic conversations with audiences that will resonate with them and reflect what’s going on in their lives. And don’t worry about alienating those who can’t relate — they’re not your core consumer anyway. The brand followers you want to celebrate are the ones who’ll empathize with the challenges and relate to the feelings — that’s who you want to talk to.

We align our actions with our values.

Hate to break it to you, but words are just words until you put them into action. A brand’s values become empty platitudes if you can’t demonstrate actions that align with your stance, so make sure you’re doing as much as you’re saying. Organize company philanthropies, sponsor charities, participate in peaceful protests… you’ll be doing good while proving yourself to the audiences and consumers who hold you in high regard.

We embrace challenges so we can find solutions and create positive change.

Every company and every brand hits bumps in the road. You can brush those challenges under the rug and try to endure, or you can face them head on and live the values you preach. Be upfront with your audiences when you hit those snags; they don’t need to know the nitty-gritty of your business challenges or corporate hang-ups, but you can share with them retroactively some of the struggles you’ve faced, and how you’ve overcome as a company. It’ll underpin the authenticity of your brand and help audiences feel an even greater connection.

Lastly, we empower and support our employees’ personal growth.

This is a big one. It doesn’t matter what values you communicate or what actions you take to prove those feelings if your employees aren’t a part of the change. Start your actions with them. Find out what interests them and what they’re passionate about, and then find small ways to spur them to action. It’s hard to communicate the inspiring story of your brand if the employees share that feeling (and though it may not seem like it, your audiences will be able to tell the difference). So make sure that your brand values are built by and shared by every single person you employ.

It’s easy to feel passive or even a little anxious about taking a stance and doing it loudly. But that’s what being a courageous brand means; you take those risks in choosing your values knowing full well that not everyone will agree. What matters more is that, at the end of the day, the audiences you truly want in your corner are proud of your actions and proud to support you. Those are the loyal followers you truly want to keep around.

Let’s do good together.


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