In many ways, brands are like people. In fact, I often ask participants in my brand identity workshops to describe the subject brand persona as if it were an actual person. One key element of this persona is the core brand value structure — it’s code of conduct, if you will. And no more has the light been shone on the importance of this than in the immediate aftermath of the recent shooting tragedy in Parkland, Florida.

You’ll recall in the days after the school shooting that several brands took a public stand as a direct reflection of their core brand values. Among them, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Wal-Mart each took considered and potentially divisive stances by adopting more restrictive gun sales policies. These decisions could very well have short- or long-term business consequences, so their was no courage lacking when their public declarations were made. Agree or disagree on the root issue, we can all applaud they way Dick’s and Wal-Mart took a hard, very public stand and are staying the course regardless of the blow-back.

Most of us will not face this same public display and intense scrutiny of our core brand values. But these very recent examples, demonstrated in the shadow of tragedy, show the importance of defining and then conducting business within a set of core brand values. It’s a vital component of the brand identity.

Have you thought about what your brand stands for? Let us here at 34 North know if you need help clarifying your core brand values.