Four Ways Values-Based Marketing Differentiates Your Brand

By: Andrea Serie

Toms, Bombas, Patagonia, Dove – what do you think of when you see these brands? Is it the actual product or the values the brand promotes in their advertising? For every pair of Bombas socks purchased, a pair is donated as part of their pursuit to help those experiencing homelessness. Dove models are all shapes, sizes, and colors to showcase their “Beauty should be for everyone” campaign. Standing at a mere 5 feet tall, when I saw Dove’s ads, I was struck by the petite models featured in the line-up. Back in 2004, it was the only time I’d ever seen a model I could identify with on a billboard. I immediately felt a connection with the brand. Values-based advertising is what all these brands have in common and is becoming an increasingly popular marketing strategy.

First, your brand must be authentic about the beliefs it promotes, or it will be perceived as simply a cheap ploy.

“Younger consumers have shown that they like to see their brands politically engaged, but that same impulse leaves them vigilant about blind spots and tonal missteps,” said Mireille Silcoff of The New York Times Magazine.

Without a true commitment and carefully researched and executed brand messaging, this is not an appropriate approach for your company – just move on.

If however, there is a cause your brand is dedicated to rallying around, stop and examine how it can fit with your product or service. Think about your brand avatar (the virtual portrayal based on personality, age, gender, and ideology of your brand) and will this value hook consumers to be curious about your brand.

With so many companies fighting for their attention, customers are increasingly looking for brands that align with their views. They will even pay a premium for products and services that reflect their personal identities. The focus is not that what you sell makes you memorable, but rather why you sell it. Buying from a brand who stands for something creates a warm and fuzzy feeling in consumers. They feel good about giving you their money!

“I’d say our very best marketing, from both a creative and performance standpoint, is where we are truly able to marry both mission and product,” said Kate Huyett, CMO of Bombas.

Having a values-based marketing approach can solidify your place in a market that is already saturated in four primary ways:

  1. Differentiation: Leveraging features and benefits for everyday products and services that have been around forever can be quite challenging. Promoting a mission makes it easier to attract and retain customers who are passionate about your principles.
  2. Trust: Customers are more likely to believe in a brand that champions a movement. When a company has a clear and sincere purpose, it builds credibility and establishes a stronger affiliation with customers.
  3. Emotional Engagement: Elicits strong feelings in their supporters. When your message is moving, an emotion link is produced and this leads to higher levels of customer loyalty and engagement.
  4. Social Responsibility: Not since the 1960s has there been a time when so much of the national conversation is focused around social and environmental issues. Being proactive about creating change separates your brand from your competition, while making a positive impact on society.
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