Corporate values vs Brand values: Building a municipal brand

The need to attract investment, gain a share of the semi-gration market and attract young talent is driving the need for municipalities to position as brands. For many, the difference between corporate values and brand values is hard to grasp. Dr Johan Tesselaar explains the differences and provides key insights.

Corporate values.

Corporate values are determined by the organisation. It’s about who you are. Also referred to as core values, these are guiding principles and basic beliefs which foster relationships within the municipality by determining how you’ll engage with colleagues, your community, stakeholders and suppliers, among others.

Typical examples of core values are traits such as integrity, accountability, diligence, perseverance and innovation. Because the core values of companies are all so similar, companies are making it more meaningful by spelling out what their values mean. For example:

  • Be bold and move fast.
  • Challenge yourself to grow.
  • Obsess over customers.
  • Get it right!!
  • Create WOW!

These are more relatable and inspiring than often used words.

Brand values.

Brand values are influenced by you but are determined by what you mean to your communities, investors, businesses, potential residents, and others who need you to perform. It is about how they experience you, and this creates perceptions about your brand. In short, brand values are the ‘connect’ between what you offer and what they need or aspire to.

The iconic Nike has seven brand values:

  • Inspiring.
  • Challenging.
  • Inclusive.
  • Performance.

Nike influences perception through marketing, communications, and the Nike experience – you cannot leave brand perceptions to chance, you must influence it.

Weskus Distrik’s brand values are:

  • Stability
  • Action
  • Inclusive
  • Aspirational

The brand value of ‘Stability’ refers to our record of governance but attracts because residents and investors seek to live and do business in a stable environment. ‘Action’ addresses our audiences need for decisive action so that essential services don’t lag. The brand value of ‘Inclusion’ talks to how our diverse team feeds off each other, each with a role to play. And it connects with our audience who need to all feel a sense of belonging, a basic human need. The last brand value of ‘Aspirational’ deals with the dreams of our community, and this compliments our obsession with developing our officials, and our vision to create a better future.

Weskus runs extensive digital marketing with all content linked to one or more of the brand values. Brand values fail dismally when the values are not felt externally and are not aligned internally. This creates a disconnect between what is said and what is experienced. When this happens, trust is lost and confidence wanes.

Whether you’re looking at corporate or brand values, they key driver is authenticity and honesty. You cannot be what you are not. Stay true to yourself. Or change to reflect what your community aspires to.


Dr Johan Tesselaar
Chief Financial Officer.
Weskus Distrik

West Coast District Municipality

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