4 Things Every Outdoor Business Should Avoid Doing With Their Brand Values
Updated: Jan 27, 2023
The outdoor industry has a very unique opportunity to help people forge deep relationships and deep connections with nature. The products, services and experiences that the industry offers are powerful opportunities to inspire people to want to preserve the places and environments in which they’ve had meaningful, life-changing experiences. There are many ways outdoor brands help build bonds between people and nature, but one of the simplest and often overlooked ways to do this is by developing solid brand values, owning them, and weaving them through the very fabric of your brand.
A 2021 Stackla study shows that 88 percent of consumers say that authenticity is a key factor when deciding what brands they like and support. When you own what your brand stands for and cares about (aka your brand values), you’re better able to increase your impact and make a difference by being authentic and having integrity with your values.
Brand values are powerful tools for purpose-driven outdoor businesses when defined and used effectively.
Whether it’s environmental stewardship, ecosystem preservation, wildlife conservation, outdoor recreation, or something else, values can be strategically woven into outdoor brands to inspire their audiences and create a positive environmental impact.
But if you want your values to make a difference, it’s essential to know the 4 things every outdoor business should avoid doing with their brand values.
When you know how to appropriately use (and how NOT to use) brand values within your purpose-driven outdoor business, you can avoid the pitfalls we see so many businesses fall into and take advantage of the huge opportunities that brand values can offer.
1 - Don't choose generic values
What do we mean by generic values? Generic values are values that every business should automatically have or practice internally and externally.
Avoid choosing standard values that should already be a part of your outdoor business.
For example, we’ve seen many brands choose integrity as one of their values. While it’s certainly a great value to have, integrity should be part of every single business, no matter what. Choosing integrity as a brand value is a missed opportunity to define a value that is more unique to you and can make you come across as ordinary rather than exceptional.
Instead of going with the basics, dive deep into what values align best with your outdoor brand and choose ones that are unique and important to you. Your values are meant to inspire your brand and, ultimately, take your purpose-driven outdoor business to that next level. If they’re generic, they can’t do that.
2 - Don't rush through or overlook your values
When you’re in the midst of the development and design process for your brand, it’s easy to rush through or even overlook your values.
And we get it. Many elements go into designing a brand, and choosing brand values that align with your purpose-driven outdoor business can seem like a low priority or even a simple process that just involves picking a few words that sound good.
We promise this couldn't be further from the truth!
Well-thought-out brand values will flow into a strong brand purpose, which in turn flows into a solid foundation that will help you build, grow and make waves with a sustainable and successful purpose-driven outdoor business.
Values are a huge part of what makes a purpose-driven business PURPOSE-driven –if you get our drift.
Behind every successful purpose-driven outdoor business are strong brand values that ensure everyone on your team (including you!) shares a higher purpose and works towards a common goal. Your values guide your purpose, mission, vision and everything you stand for as a brand. They also guide your business goals, behaviours and the image you put into the world.
Take the time to figure out your values and give them the time they deserve as a core piece of your brand foundation.
3 - Don’t hide your values away
Your values should be visible in every single thing that you do.
Why? Because values are an incredibly impactful element of your outdoor brand. As we mentioned in a couple of points above, your values can shape how your brand shows up in the world, what it does and how it is perceived. Get your values wrong, and you could come across as ordinary, inauthentic or just another choice of many. Get them right, and you will have a solid foundation for standing out, owning your space and creating a loyal following with similar values.
So don't hide your values in the corner of your website and let them collect virtual dust. When you have strong brand values that reflect your purpose-driven outdoor brand, you’ll want to show them off to the world, and you should!
Just as your values inspire your purpose and your team, they will also inspire those who come in contact with your outdoor brand and share similar values. When people relate to you on a deeper level - beyond liking the product or service you offer - your customer base will grow and become more loyal.
4 - Don’t choose values you don't believe in
You might be surprised how often businesses use values as a band-aid for what they’re not doing well in their business. This is a quick way for brands to start to feel inauthentic to their audience –and that’s definitely NOT a place you want your outdoor brand to be in.
So please, don’t choose a value that you can’t or won’t deliver on. If you don’t believe in or want your brand to embody specific values, don’t make them your values!
For example, don’t say you value sustainability unless you’re able to take a stand and show how your business weaves sustainability throughout it’s entire operations. If you claim sustainability but don’t live and breathe it, you could end up labelled as greenwashing or something else equally detrimental to your brand image.
Instead, let your values be your guide and the undercurrent that runs through your business. As a purpose-driven brand (or any type of brand), you need to embody every value you choose so you show up as authentic and trustworthy.
How To Own Your Brand Values
All these tips on what to avoid doing with your brand values are meant to guide you to use values more effectively within your business and highlight why it’s so important to choose brand values that you can OWN, be proud of and weave through every facet of your brand.
Our Norm Hann Case Study is one of our favourite examples of what you can do with your brand values and how you can infuse them into your business.
Like Norm Hann Expeditions, there is a HUGE opportunity to live out your brand values and use them as a point of difference and a place to connect with people on that human level. Don’t miss out on this amazing opportunity for your brand by overlooking your values!