BY Alicia Smith

Roy Spence, founder and spiritual leader of GSD&M, a billion dollar advertising firm in Austin, Texas, is an advocate for the idea that what a company stands for is as important as what it sells.

Jim Collins, best selling author of Built to Last, Good to Great and others, may have been the originator or at least the articulator of the concept. Through quantitative research, he proved that companies that offer both value, (a good product at a fair price), and values (from a company you trust to do the right thing), rise to the top.

While the cynical may say that very few companies do that, our experience is that many are at least on a quest to do so but very few know how to properly communicate it. Humanizing a brand, including discovering and sharing the brand personality and values, helps clarify the vision for leadership, drives recruitment and aids retention, and turns customers into fans and fans into advocates.

Think about brands who have stood the test of time. Southwest Airlines low fares and frequent flights give you the freedom to go, see and do things you may not have thought possible. Walmart’s every day low prices and brand name merchandise gives you the ability and the confidence to buy things that may have otherwise been out of reach. Lucid Hearing’s mission is to Help People Hear Better. Any product that does not do that is not developed. Any employee that is not inspired by that, moves on. Customers appreciate and celebrate the mission because the company lives it, while still offering the value of technologically advanced products at a very competitive price.

If you haven’t articulated your value and values to your shareholders, employees and customers, you may be missing an opportunity. A commitment to delivering value, keeps you in the game. Combined with clear, compelling values, you just might win it.