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Marketer, Know Thyself: Why Personal Values Matter in Every Aspect of Marketing

August 19, 2020


Marketer, Know Thyself: Why Personal Values Matter in Every Aspect of Marketing

Marketers like us are hearing a lot more lately about “values.” We’re being asked to determine and communicate our brand values. We have to do this, because Millennials and Zoomers are “value shoppers,” if you will. They want to buy from brands who reflect theirvalues.

In short, there’s a lot put on values lately. But it can be tough to figure out what even our own values are. Gen Z and Millennials might be “value rooted shoppers,” but they don't always articulate or readily self-aware of what their values are—at least not in those terms.

As an organization, it is important to try and articulate what a company, culture and brand’s values are. Not aspirational but real values. Pretty and ugly. We are in the Age of Authenticity. So, either you become honest with yourself and know what needs to change or your Customers will. How do you measure up?

Where Do Values Comes from?

We all have values, whether we can name them or not. We learn our values in a wide variety of ways. An example is someone whose family was spiritual and went to church every Sunday morning. For them, faith might be important. They value the space for spirituality, adherence to certain religious principles, and other people who have faith too.

Someone else may have learned that hard work is important. They watched their family members work hard. Even if those relatives didn’t make a lot of money, this person learned that hard work will get you recognition. It may also lead to a job promotion or—even more simply—pride in a job well done.

This same person, since they value hard work, hates people who seem to have it easy or don’t “want” to work. They’re always griping about the co-worker who leaves early or tries to cut corners. But here’s the thing—that co-worker likely has different values! They like seeing new solutions and finding simpler ways to do things—they put a lot of emphasis on problem-solving and innovation.

So, our values come from a lot of different places, and we all have them. But we don’t necessarily call them values until we down and think about them.

What Are Your Values?

To determine your values, you can do a few different things. One is sitting down and thinking about what’s most important to you. What really matters or, ask people who are close to you, what they see as your value structure. What your behaviour suggests might help you see yourself in a different light.

Your values and what you celebrate and have zero tolerance for should not be aligned to what the latest movement or trend might be. Rather, these are values are your filter for decision-making and are housed in your innermost self. They have held true through time and are reflected every day in your decision making and your behaviour.

Identity and Guiding Principles

The work to more consciously understand your core values is key to understanding ourselves. Our core values form part of our identity—they tell us a bit about who we are. They also help us understand when we are making professional decisions why something feels so right or so wrong.

So the person who values hard work is likely a hard worker! They take pride in learning new skills, perfecting their craft, and getting the job done well.

These guiding principles also help us steer our lives. A hard worker likely isn’t going to feel very good about themselves if they slack off or do a bad job on their projects. They might feel dissatisfied in a job where there are lots of lull times—they may want more challenge. They may need to feel helpful or productive to feel valued and fulfilled.

The problem-solver, by contrast, may want something different out of their job. They love opportunities to put their creative brain to work, and they might see it as their mission to help others simplify what they’re doing.

Since our jobs are also important to our identities, it’s important for us to find organizations and cultures that reflect our values. Think of our values as guiding principles. And we can always use them to check up on the direction we’re heading—is this the right job for us? Are we living our most authentic lives?

Connecting with Our Customers

Sitting down and figuring out our values has an important impact on our work as Marketers. Knowing our value structure is a good exercise, that allows us to be more aware of our authentic self. Understanding ourselves better can actually help us understand our customers at a deeper level. If we use the living brand modelling and connecting values to values, this level of understanding, helps ensure the brand strategy and communication is true to brand-self.

If the brand’s core values are clear and there is value alignment to the benefit consumers are buying from us, then the brand and culture and consumer are in harmony or alignment. That value alignment may even be why we work for this brand too!

Consumers are buying the values of what a brand stands for. This is part of the benefit they feel. That is why they’re shopping with us, and straying from our values may be a disconnect, especially for the most valuable customers but also may turn away new consumers who have not given themselves over to feeling what our brand is unique.

Knowing your own values and if they are in alignment with an organization is important prior to taking on a role. Many of us will say we took a role for the money, but this often leads to poor job fit.

This happens to our brands too. So, there are other things, many examples of start-ups or larger organizations who shift their focus away from the customer, values and benefits and drive revenue or profit objectives. Customers can feel that and to maintain sales, companies spend more or give away more including their bottom line.

Our values will often tell us “why” we do something or why we feel we shouldn’t. So when we’re looking for direction, for ourselves or our brands, always start with the why!


Meet Margo…brand visioning & marketing

Margo Jay is a Master Brand Strategist with a career leading globally recognized brands; developing and launching a proven model that maximizes competitive sales potential and consumer appeal. She has built the model to help companies of all sizes. Her Client roster includes entrepreneurs through to Fortune 100 brands: NHL teams, Global QSR brands, CPG brands, Broadcast brands, Agencies, Non Profit brands, Hard goods…this model and process provides competitive advantage in any category.

Complete clarity. Ownable distinct selling proposition. Shared values. Brand Clarity. Brand Focus. Brand Inspiration. Brand Obsession. Unlocking brand potential is what she does.

And it all starts with why!

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