value is principally about values


Steve Jobs once said that a brand is all about values. I would argue that he was on the mark. Values are at the heart of every great brand. Certainly, a big part of branding is aligning the values of the organisation with those of the primary target market.

If the values of the brand and the organisation are aligned, and are seen to be aligned, the business and its products will have gone a long way towards creating a brand that meets the expectations of the primary target market.

Few brands in history have worked harder to, or been more successful at, matching the values of the organisation and its products with those of the market, than Apple. Apple values are:

  • Empathy for Customers/Users
  • Aggressiveness/Achievement
  • Positive Social Contribution
  • Innovation/Vision
  • Individual Performance
  • Team Spirit
  • Quality/Excellence
  • Individual Reward
  • Good Management


These values determine just about everything relating to customer experience and impact on: product and quality; service and standards; pricing and value; distribution and access. These values determine how staff will behave, products that will be produced, how customers will be treated, and the value that will be delivered.


Defining your brand starts with defining your values – what you stand for, how you will behave, and what customers can expect of you, your business and/or your products.


Defining your brand also involves defining your:


  • Mission – why you exist
  • Vision – what you want to achieve
  • Personality – what you are like to deal with
  • Capabilities – what you are good at
  • Positioning – what makes you different


All of these factors are critical elements of any brand definition. Of course, all are dependent upon the organisation’s values. Values underpin everything and, ultimately, create the connection with the target market.


In defining the attributes of the brand, it is essential to give due consideration to:


  • Developing a precise definition of the primary target market, giving equal consideration to demographic and psychographic variables
  • The values, needs, and wants of the primary target market and how they impact on behaviour and preferences regarding the product in question
  • The competitive environment, the attributes of competitive products, and competitive organisations
  • The capabilities of the business and its capacities in terms of living by its values and delivering on its mission, vision, capabilities, personality, and positioning


While defining the terms brand and branding needs to be simpler – there also needs to be more appreciation of the complexities involved in defining an optimal – sustainable – brand that will maximise the perception and creation of value.




  1. While defining a brand involves addressing a range of attributes, no attribute is more important than the values of the organisation.
  2. A connection between the values of the business and those of the target market is the key to defining the optimal brand.
  3. The process of defining the brand involves addressing the market, the values, the competitive environment and capabilities.
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