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Core Values of Famous Brands

Core values are operating principles that together with mission and vision statements guide a company both internally and externally.

They are the fundamental driving force of what your organization and its employees stand for in the world.

Core values provide something visceral, the bones, blood and guts of your brand.

They're the brand's highest priorities and they're necessary to form the image of your brand.

Core values are intrinsic to attracting customers as well as retaining your best employees.

mYour core values must be integrated with your customers and employees and their belief system.

They're also known as guiding principles because they form a solid core of who you are.

Core Values of Top Brands

  1. Apple
  2. Starbucks
  3. Dunkin
  4. Coca-Cola
  5. Facebook
  6. YouTube
  7. Microsoft

Just like you or I we each have our own values and that shape the way we behave.

How we treat other people and where we spend our time and efforts.

These principles are part of our character as people and part of what makes us individuals.

Values, Mission & Vision — Internal Brand.

They will draw people to us or draw people away from us depending on whether or not those principles are aligned.

The way brands interact with consumers are becoming more and more intimate and personal.

So that the way brands behave takes on greater significance.

Why Core Values Are important?

Values are one of our most sacred characteristics as people and what make us distinctly human.

So as brands evolve into human personas, it's no surprise to see more and more brands taking on these core values.

When we make buying decisions we consider how brands behave.

Now for the most part these considerations are completely in the subconscious much in the way that our considerations of how other people behave around us are also in the subconscious.

When we do consciously notice other people's behaviors it's usually when they've left us with either a really positive experience or a really negative experience.

And it's the same with brands as well — if we have a really good experience with a brand we know this, just as we know when we have a really bad experience with a brand.

For the most part, all of our other experiences with brands are analyzed in the subconscious.

Gerald Zaltman, a Harvard Business professor has concluded that 95% of all of our buying decisions are made in the subconscious.

That makes sense when we consider that we analyze the experiences that we have with brands in our subconscious mind as well.

Whether your brand is being analyzing in the conscious or the subconscious mind is irrelevant.

The principles of your brand, the way it goes about its business, the experiences that your customers your suppliers and the wider public have with your brand is predicated on the values that you display through your behavior day-in day-out.

For brands, core values guide behaviors and bring all brand representatives and ambassadors together on the same page.

So it's critical to outline your values and your behaviors early on in order to breed consistency in brand experience.

Let's look at some other benefits of having your brand core values in place.

Benefits of Core Values:

  1. They set the foundation for the organization's culture.
  2. They can positively impact morale and lead to individual and organizational pride.
  3. They can align a large group of people around specific behaviors.
  4. They can guide difficult decisions by determining priorities in advance.
  5. They can help positively influence how employees interact with customers and each other.
  6. They can help attract, hire and retain the right type of employees.
  7. They can help with performance both individually and organizationally.
  8. They can help prevent and manage conflict.
  9. They can influence the overall brand experience.

How To Write Core Values

When identifying the core values of your organization, your goal is to identify the key core values.

Not a laundry list of cookie-cutter values that you copied from another organization's list.

Your employees would have a hard time living any more than 3-5 core values.

Find the core values worksheet in my other article.

Now, let's take a look at some examples of core values.

1. Apple

As founder and CEO of Apple Inc., Steve Jobs was also the company’s chief brand evangelist who said:

Marketing is about values. It’s a complicated and noisy world, and we’re not going to get a chance to get people to remember much about us.

He was without doubt passionate about his products and he knew how to create enthusiasm in others.

Apple Core Brand Values
Brand Values — Apple

Apple Core Values:

  • Accessibility — Ensure people with physical limitations are not left out.
  • Education — Provide educational solutions to schools across the United States.
  • Environment — Build products that are safe for both the users and the environment.
  • Inclusion and diversity — To create products that serve everyone, we believe in including everyone.
  • Supplier responsibility — Hold suppliers and partners responsible for creating quality products for our users.
  • Privacy — Offer the utmost security for the user. Privacy is a fundamental human right.

If you’re a founder and you’re not clear about who your company is or what you do, then, how can you expect your employees to know?

We’ve all seen too many companies not understand ‘who they are’ and in-turn, their staff and customers don’t have a clue either.

More founders and CEOs need to be like Steve Jobs and also be their own chief brand evangelist.

Check the Apple website to learn more.

2. Starbucks

From the beginning, Starbucks set out to be a different kind of company—more than just about coffee.

Creating a culture of warmth and belonging, where everyone is welcome.

The founder even said "we’re not in the coffee business serving people, we’re in the people business servicing coffee."

Starbucks Core Brand Values
Brand Values — Apple

Starbucks Core Values:

  • Teamwork — Delivering our very best in all we do, holding ourselves accountable for results.
  • Integrity — Being present, connecting with transparency, dignity and respect.
  • Respect for culture — Creating a culture of warmth and belonging, where everyone is welcome.
  • Perseverance — Acting with courage, challenging the status quo and finding new ways to grow our company and each other.

Starbucks is committed to upholding a culture where inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility are valued and respected.

The entire experience is designed to be the beginning of an inspirational journey, where you are treated warmly and with transparency, dignity and respect.

Check out the Starbucks website to learn more.

3. Dunkin'

Dunkin' Brand values its customers’ loyalty over everything else.

We believe that being a good corporate citizen is good business.

The company has been rated #1 in customer loyalty since 2006 in the Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Index.

Dunkin Core Values
Brand Values — Dunkin'

It is important to Dunkin’ to always serve the best quality to their consumers.

Every single manager within the company was vetted for values.

"Lots of people left thecompany" — said the CEO, Jon L. Luther.

Those values, Luther said, are taking the company forward aggressively, while laser-focusing the customers' understanding of Dunkin' Donuts.

Dunkin' Core Values:

  • Honesty — You can always recover from the truth.
  • Responsibility — Own the outcome whether it's good or bad.
  • Respect — Give people their dignity and earn others' respect.
  • Humility — It's about the team. Never lose sight of those who helped along the way or those less fortunate in our communities.

Check out the Dunkin' website to learn more.

4. Coca-Cola

For a company to not only survive but also consistently stay at the top globally, it must have an internal strong culture — at Coca Cola, this has emerged due to its core values.

We believe in inspiring each other to be the best we can be.

Ideally, Coca-Cola strives to foster good relations within its facilities in such a way that people can share ideas, brainstorm, and generate quality out of them.

Coca-Cola Core Values
Brand Values — Coca Cola

By creating a corporation with some elements of independence, workers and investors as well feel as integral components of the corporation.

And as a result, it pushes them to own responsibilities and become accountable for the overall growth of the company.

Coca-Cola Core Values:

  • Leadership — The courage to shape a better future.
  • Collaboration — Leverage collective genius.
  • Accountability — If it's to be, it's up to me.
  • Passion — Committed in heart and mind.
  • Diversity — As inclusive as our brands.

Check out the Coca-Cola website to learn more.

5. Facebook

Facebook, that is fairly new company, has remained its 5 core values unchanged since 2008.

We're all about creating a culture of openness and fast progress.

This is what enables the company to stay at the forefront of innovation.

Facebook Core Values
Brand Values — Facebook

Facebook is a "strengths-based organization" — the term refers to a company that builds upon individuals' talents rather than trying to strengthen their weaknesses.

This allows employees to produce work that is meaningful.

At Facebook, this approach reinforces Zuckerberg's mission of providing citizens across the world with the opportunity to express themselves online.

Facebook Core Values:

  • Be Bold — Building great things means taking risks.
  • Focus On Impact — Be good at finding the biggest problems to work on.
  • Move Fast — Moving fast enables us to build more things and learn faster.
  • Be Open — We believe that a more open world is a better world.
  • Build Social Value — Focus every day on how to build real value for the world in everything we do.

Check out the Facebook website to learn more.

6. YouTube

Youtube is all about sharing stories and building community.

We believe that everyone deserves to have a voice.

Youtube's values are based on four essential freedoms.

YouTube Core Values
Brand Values — YouTube

YouTube calls their values "essential freedoms" that are in line with the purpose for which the company was founded – giving people a voice.

With these four values, YouTube creates an environment where people get an opportunity to share ideas, find any information they are looking for, get a chance to discover something new, and belong to a community.

YouTube Core Values:

  • Freedom of Expression — People should be able to speak freely, share opinions and foster open dialogue.
  • Freedom of Information — Everyone should have easy, and open access to information.
  • Freedom of Opportunity — Everyone should have a chance to be discovered, build a business and succeed on their own terms.
  • Freedom to Belong — Everyone should be able to find communities of support, and come together around shared interests and passions.

Check out the YouTube website to learn more.

7. Microsoft

Microsoft understands the importance of creating an innovative culture to thrive in the computer technology sector.

We are dedicated to advancing human and organizational achievement.

This directly contributes to the presence of products that help customers with dependable computing.

Microsoft Core Values
Brand Values — Microsoft

To make an impact across the globe, Microsoft has learned the art of being inclusive to ensure the company has a global image that does not alienate anyone.

The company has put in place core values that ensure that inclusiveness and promote innovation.

The presence of these values has enabled the management to direct all workers towards the mission and vision of the firm.

Microsoft Core Values:

  • Innovation — We believe technology can and should be a force for good.
  • Diversity and inclusion — Different perspectives help us all to achieve more.
  • Social Responsibility — We are committed to improving our world and reporting our progress.
  • Trustworthy Computing — Security, Privacy, and Compliance are core tenets of how we empower organizations to serve their customers.

Check out the Microsoft website to learn more.

Identifying Core Values — Worksheet

I'm often being asked by company leaders for a core values list.

And I see often people choose random values that just sound “nice” or “noble”.

But choosing standard values like “honest” or “timely” or “reliable” won’t help you stand out from the crowd in any significant way.

And this is because it’s not rally actionable, your team won’t know how to put it in practice and communicate it to the world.

How to define your core brand values.
Brand Core Values — Worksheet

So there’s no real feeling or emotion behind these words other than than they just sound “nice.”

That's why you should start with identifying negative experiences and negative feelings other brand left their customers with.

And then turning them into positive experiences and positive feelings.

Only after doing that, you can choose your core values.

Then you should describe each value in a short sentence, so that people know how to act upon them.

Check out the Brand Values exercise as a part of the Brand Core section of my Strategy Guide.


The vast majority of businesses will definitely have a page on their website that's dedicated to their core values.

However, in most cases the leadership behind that business either has little or no connection to the values being displayed.

Or they don't even know that they exist — and that's actually very common.

Core values are one of the most misused tools in branding.

Think about it this way — as people we don't go around telling each other what our values are.

If I met you for the first time I wouldn't walk up to you and say "Hey my name is Arek and I believe in doing the right thing and keeping my promise".

And even if I did, you would have absolutely no reason to believe me.

You would probably reserve your judgment until you were able to analyze my behavior over time, because that's just what we do as people.

That's how we judge other people through our experiences with them and how they behave over time.

Our personal values become evident based on our actions and behaviors over time.

That's why we should treat core values in exactly the same way.

Use your values and your brand core as a whole, as the principles that guide the actions and the behaviors of your human brand.

Over time, these principles become part of the fabric of your brand and part of its character and its identity.

Personnel will feel it internally and audiences will experience it externally.

Find more about developing your brand strategy, in which core values is one of the branding exercises.

Have any questions? — Leave a comment below or shoot me an email.

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