The Value of Values

We’ve had some very interesting discussions already about the visible issues of symbolism and we’ve also opened the lid on the topic of typography. Before making a decision to employ a symbol, or a type style, as brand designers we first have to establish a clear picture of the heart and soul* of what we are trying to communicate.

This part of the process in a more traditional approach, would be done through consultation with business leaders, community groups and government departments, something our guerilla, self-appointed blog is creatively replicating. I should point out, the catalyst for this project and our objection to the current identity firstly relates to it’s poor design. If we were to redesign to the old brief/brand values, I’m confident we could move a long way forward, but to make full use of this opportunity, we need to throw open the discussion to cover the underlying strategic intention behind the brand.

For the uninitiated, brand values are much like their human equivalents i.e. they are the code that you live by. In a literal marketing sense, they are the keywords used to describe ideas, which underpin the behavior of an organisation.  By clearly defining and expressing them through the branding process, an audience is able to develop a relationship with a brand, built on a solid foundation of trust.  A human example being, I know Steve and I like him because he is honest and trustworthy. Values give us confidence in others, because they offer predictability.

The current Tasmanian brand values according to the Government website are: Trustworthy, Resourceful, Creative, Pure, Friendly, Distinctive Quality.

What’s wrong with this you may say? The nature of values are that they are unobjectionable, positive words. You could run a list of every possible value and it wouldn’t seem bad. The problem is, we are trying to create a unique mix of these identifiers that we can be known for. We need to boil it down to a potent brew that intoxicates all that it touches.

More important still,  brand values are only valid if confirmed by actions. Can we be truly “Pure” in our values and still be allowing large-scale heavy polluting industry? Some would say we can’t. Can the current Government say the existing brand is known as uniquely “Trustworthy”? Without getting bogged down in the politics, I think it’s easy to see how values can become meaningless and once that has happened, the brand stands for nothing. A situation I’d suggest we are in today and one that does nothing to help business, government or our own sense of identity.

So what are the values we want to be known for? Can you narrow it down to three, powerful words?

* Read about what Reg Watson and Rodney Croome believe is our heart and soul.

One Response

  1. [...] As we’ve already discussed here, a big part of how good brands work is through the communication of meaningful values. The current [...]

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