Lindsey Witcherley

[Case study] Using brand values to build your team and help recruitment

by Lindsey Witcherley on November 04, 2013


Our clients are often sceptical about brand values. They view them as useless marketing fluff, something they pay for and then never use again.

But they’re actually a very important part of the branding process. By defining your brand values you make sure everything you say and do reflects what your company is about – and what makes you stand out from your competitors.

We’ll prove it with a case study of how brand values have a direct impact on business operations. We have our own brand values, and one of the ways we use them is to aid human resources and recruitment.

Our brand values defined

The Cognition brand values are simplicity, flexibility, courage and focus.

Our expertise spans marketing, PR, digital and creative disciplines. Each person brings separate skills to the table, but everyone has these qualities. As a result, we work together as a cohesive team to deliver effective campaigns for our clients.

Brand values at work: HR

When employees start at Cognition they get an induction pack. The pack includes information about our brand values and what they mean in terms of employee performance and attitude. Here’s what it says:

  • Simplicity: We are committed to simple processes and clear communication. This allows us to work efficiently, without bureaucracy, and to deliver projects within budget.
  • Flexibility: We are open minded, helpful and considerate – even under pressure.
  • Courage: We deliver the best possible campaigns, even if it means challenging our clients and standing up for what we believe is the best approach.
  • Focus: Through our professionalism, dedication and creativity we give our clients peace of mind that their money is being spent wisely, and that we have their best interests at heart.

When it comes time for appraisals, employees are assessed on these values, and we identify areas for improvement on that basis.

Take courage, for example. One lesson we’ve learned over the years is that the most successful campaigns are the ones where we’ve had to challenge our clients’ preconceptions. So in a client manager appraisal we’d look at whether she stood up for our strategic recommendations when appropriate. Were there instances when she should have said ‘what about this?’ to a client instead of simply saying ‘yes’ to a request?

By looking at professional development in this manner we can help employees deliver the best possible service.

Brand values at work: Recruitment

Our brand values are also crucial for recruitment because we have defined the ‘ideal’ Cognition employee. Role-specific credentials aside, we have a more scientific way of evaluating whether a candidate is a cultural fit for the company.

For example, when interviewing a graphic design candidate we ask questions to tease out our brand values. We don’t just admire his portfolio and say, ‘well, you certainly have an eye for design.’ We dig into the process behind how he created that sample advert or brochure. For example, to assess flexibility we’d ask questions like: Did you have to make lots of changes to your original concept based on client feedback? How did you feel when you received that feedback? How long did it take you to produce an updated version? We can then select a candidate that will work well in Cognition’s fast-paced studio.

This value-centric approach has worked very well for Cognition

As an example, multiple employees have been with us for more than ten years. And this is in large part down to the fact that we nurture people around our core values, enabling us to work as a cohesive team rather than just a group of capable individuals. 

Talk to us today about how we can help you generate increased awareness, demand and sales.

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Lindsey Witcherley

This post was written by Lindsey Witcherley

As Inbound Director, Lindsey is responsible for driving overall inbound strategy and marketing automation.

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