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From the Inside

What it means to live your organisation’s brand values through your online presence

Estimated read time: 7 minutes

It’s time to welcome our second From the Inside guest columnist for a residency here on The Native. So, please say a big hello to Staffordshire University’s Laura Allen. Her first piece is a cracker; Laura tackles brand values, specifically how you bring them to life in your own online presence. It’s safe to say Laura knows what she’s talking about here – she’s done it to award-winning standards!

So, over to Laura…

*If you’d like to be a future From the Inside columnist then please get in touch!*

Back in October 2017, I was nominated by colleagues for two of four ‘Living Our Values’ awards at Staffordshire University’s annual ‘Celebrating Staff Success’.

The values awards up for grabs were;

  • Brilliant and Friendly
  • Curious and Daring (Nominated)
  • Ambitious and Inspirational
  • Proud to be Staffs (Nominated)

Little did I know, I would walk away with winning the ‘Proud To Be Staffs’ award.

Of course, it’s encouraging and rewarding to be recognised by your colleagues for your dedication and efforts – but for me the award meant much more. On the surface, it recognised my contributions as an employee, but – as a proud Stokie and a Staffordshire University graduate – I had a lot invested into that value. So, when it comes to shouting about how loud and proud I am, the authentic voice shouts loudest (shameless plug for future blog post).

The award celebrates those who encourage staff and students to be proud to be Staffs. Often hidden from view, but working tirelessly to do the best they can in their role, living the values and always working for the greater good of the university. Staffs is part of their DNA.

In true social media style, I put it out to a Twitter poll vote (the only way to get hard-hitting evidence) to discover why my colleagues were also ‘proud to be Staffs’.

Turns out, our community – that’s everyone from students, staff, alumni, the residents and local businesses that surround us and help the University thrive – is what makes us all proud.

It’s human beings.

Every organisation or business will have its own set of brand values – these are what make them tick, what they’re recognised for and what they strive to be. What makes brand values work, is when the community that surrounds it believes in them too.

You can make best use of social media, and your online presence, to bring this community together and share the brand values of where you work – to some degree, they should help shape you as a person. After all, if you’ve won an award for being curious and daring – that’s pretty cool, huh?

Here’s a few tips to help get you on your way to living the brand values through your online presence:

Get to know the values

Good starting point. You might be reading this and have no idea what the brand values for your organisation are. Go and discover them. Read what the mean to the organisation, but also what they mean to you. My thinking is, you should work somewhere you believe in – and that goes for brand values too.

Find meaning

What one value means to you, may mean something completely different to somebody else – and that’s okay. Once you find meaning in each value for yourself, you can begin to shape your online presence to share them. Once I received a tweet from a student who wanted to say thank you to another student who had paid for their coffee because they didn’t have enough change – a brilliant and friendly story right there.

Share stories

There’s nothing more powerful than a story. Look for stories from those around you – the community – staff, students, alumni, residents, businesses and partners – who are living those values, or make you feel those values. Every day, there will be someone who does something that fits with Staffordshire’s brand values – it’s my job to share those stories to others.

Value others

Quite often people forget that online conversation is two-way. Instead of shouting at people – listen, respond, engage. Connect with others who share those values too and get involved in the conversation. This will only strengthen what the organisation – and what you – stand for.

Laura Allen wins the Proud to be Staffs award

As I concluded my first blog post for The Native (it’s been a pleasure) – here’s a thought, have a think what you want to be remembered for and see if you can align that with your organisation’s brand values. Drop me a tweet telling me which value means most to you and why.

  • Any guesses which award I’m aiming for next?

I’ll be back soon, writing about the power of stories and how our Marketing and Communications team are embracing them with open arms.

You can follow Laura on Twitter and find her on LinkedIn

*If you’d like to be a future From the Inside columnist then please get in touch!*