5th April 2022
Financial services organisations are very good at talking the talk when it comes to brand values but do they walk the walk when it comes to actually creating and building a values-led culture? The truth is that some are superb at embedding the brand and others don’t seem to have ventured beyond a ‘once and done’ poster campaign on their office walls. For the latter, they need to take the values off the wall and bring them into the hearts and minds of their employees and their customers.
Values are the beating heart of your brand and must permeate the brand experience and customer journey at every touchpoint. In short, they have to be lived authentically every minute of every day. As Michael Eisner, the former CEO of Disney, said: “A brand is a living entity and it is enriched or undermined cumulatively over time, the product of a thousand small gestures.”
The following questions are intended to help guide marketing and HR professionals when looking to embark on a values-led culture programme.
Meaningful – Why do each of our values matter to our employees and our customers. How are they aligned with our vision? Are they presented as values statements and descriptors rather than just a list of words?
Memorable – How do we make our values both distinctive and easy to understand and unambiguous? How are we re-enforcing our values by making them part of our natural everyday language?
Magical – How can our values be a source of continual inspiration to our employees? How can we re-enforce ways of living the brand that are enjoyable and engaging?
Momentum – What should we stop, start, do more of or differently to live our values? How have we integrated our values within the HR process, from recruitment to recognition, rewards and outcomes? How do the business leaders embody the values and behaviours in their own actions? How do we encourage employees to focus on values sustainably beyond the brand launch phase? Have we established brand champions? Do we have a values forum?
Mapped – How do our values contribute to our purpose and promise? How do we translate our values into behaviours and how should we articulate them? Have we conducted a brand audit of our website and collateral to ensure that these reflect our values throughout? How will they guide us? How are our values amplified within our communications?
Measured – How do we evidence that our brand values are being lived? How do we measure employee performance in relation to our values? What are our leading and lagging indicators?
So many questions, no wonder growing financial services businesses find brand embedding one of the most difficult things to achieve without specialist external help.
When undertaking a values-led culture programme, we advocate looking beyond the ‘Learning phase’ in the planning process towards the ‘Living phase’ outlining how employees will engage with the values and setting out the ‘Leading phase’, supporting the senior management team with values-led leadership tools that will sustain the culture over time.
It’s time to take your values off the wall and into action!