Eric Schnell grew up eating healthy food before it was cool. “I couldn’t eat anything with a face because it had a mom,” The founder of BeyondBrands and executive director of BeyondSKU told SKU founders during a class on the Fundamentals of Bringing Your Brand to Life.
“I couldn’t understand why Coke and Pepsi didn’t have organic soft drink,” says Schnell. “I thought ‘Why can’t we make an organic version that tastes just as good as the conventional.'”
That inspired Schnell to create Steaz in 2002, the first carbonated green tea and USDA-certified organic soda and energy drink lines in the US. Steaz had a clear “why,” which became the company’s mission statement.
“We created Sheaz with one goal in mind: to help people lead healthier lives. We do that by providing people with the best tasting beverages on the planet, made the right way.”
Schnell stressed the importance of having a clear mission and core quintuple bottom-line business values: passion, purpose, people, planet and prosperity as you build your brand.
Your North Star
“They should guide decisions and be the foundation for the culture,” says Schnell. “They will drive successful behaviors and set the business up to prosper.”
Schnell suggests bringing your brand values to life in a number of ways:
- Make them clear as company guideposts
- Talk about them – a lot
- Walk that talk everywhere
- Show appreciation when they serve us well
- Hire, develop and part ways with them in mind.
- Leverage them in your decisions
- Enter into partnerships with those who complement them.
- Seek the win-win in all situations.
“Your vibe attracts your tribe,” says Schnell. ” You can get people to do things that you wouldn’t expect them to do because they’re inspired.”
Your Vibe Attracts Your Tribe
SKU Curriculum Director Kathy Galloway, a brand strategy and innovation consultant, stressed that your purpose, mission and values are not what the consumer or outside world think of you.
“The consumer is not driving your purpose statement,” she says “You’re talking about purpose through the lens of what’s calling you to do the work.”
When coming up with your company values, she urges brands to limit them to those things that are truly meaningful to your brand. Ad then make sure you’re willing to live up to those values in everything you do.
Some examples of values are Google (“To provide access to the world’s information in one click.”) and Whole Foods Market (Whole Foods Market is a dynamic leader in the quality food business. We are a mission-driven company that aims to set the standards of excellence for food retailers. We are building a business in which high standards permeate all aspects of our company. Quality is a state of mind at Whole Foods Market).
Don’t Be Afraid to Borrow
Don’t be afraid to borrow values from another brand you respect. “There is absolutely no shame in stealing from everyone” Galloway said.
Brands should come up with 10 to 15 values and then you can edit them down to 3-7 values.
Having a strong sense of your vision and mission become increasingly important as you start working with other companies. That is especially when hiring marketing partners whose job it is to communicate your why, whether it’s the public relations agency that pitches your company to the media or the company that designs your packaging.
“I want to understand who you are as a brand,” says Wes Wooddell, founder of unpack’d, an Austin-based packaging design and branding firm, who has worked with such brands as Vital Farms and Deep Eddy Vodka. “It’s really critical for us to understand that on our end. Good packaging isn’t just about good design; It’s providing non-verbal cues about who you are as a brand.”