It is rare to find a company that does not profess a set of core values these days. Visit any corporate website and if it misses a section outlining its vision, mission and values, the page is probably still under construction.
Corporate values communicate the worldview of a company and show that a business stands for something beyond success and profit.
The noble principles that are purported to define a corporate culture often fall into three broad categories: ethical conduct (integrity, transparency, humility, care); commitment to customers (reliability, excellence, innovation, accessibility); and pride in the job (teamwork, passion, ownership, achievement).
We are living an unprecedented moment in the story of the globalised world and businesses are expected to play a leading role in the drive towards social development. Many corporate values express a company’s interest in the wellbeing of employees, customers and the wider community and the profound interconnection between these three stakeholders is vital for success.
Nevertheless, inspirational words laser-engraved on office wall plaques will sound utterly hollow unless companies are able to live by their stated values in a difficult period. Businesses must show that their vows of authenticity, customer-focus, and team spirit count for something tangible and significant.
In fact, if brand values have any practical use at all, it is to steer companies in times of turbulence and prepare them for comeback.