Some of this year’s Super Bowl commercials focused on tugging at viewers’ heartstrings, challenging stereotypes and trying to make the world a better place — and for good reason. Some companies know that to build an enduring business, they should stand by core values.
Few companies are quite as adept at maintaining and communicating their values as Volkswagen. Beginning in the 1930s, Volkswagen (whose name literally means “people’s car” in German) aimed to empower the everyman to own and drive a car. This idea was radically nonconformist in an age when companies only produced luxury cars for the elite. But VW’s message of inclusivity and openness to change resonated with consumers.
Because Volkswagen has held on to those values for decades, it has built a passionate following. Now three of the top 10 bestselling cars of all time, according to AutoGuide.com, are VWs. Some of the manufacturer’s classic models — the Beetle and the Type 2 bus — have become icons. (People still love features like odd heater handles on the floor, the clatter and rattle of the air-cooled engine and the aesthetic in these cars that virtually everyone could afford to buy.)
Although models have changed throughout the years, VW has remained focused on “progress” and “defying convention” and these values have served the company well.
A strong brand message can communicate your company’s values, differentiate it from competitors’ and make your target audience take notice. Here are some tips for establishing values that resonate with your target audience:
1. Determine your values as a founder.
Figure out where your values lie so you can build a brand that will always be in alignment. Are you resistant to change or determined to save the world one person at a time? What you stand for as an entrepreneur and your organization’s brand message will determine which consumers connect with the company.
L.L.Bean was founded on traditionalism and transparency while In-N-Out Burger is rooted in uncompromised quality and consistency. These brands have maintained loyal followings by standing by these values.
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