The power of core values: be clear about who you are and what you stand for!

The power of core values: be clear about who you are and what you stand for!


The power of core values: be clear about who you are and what you stand for!

In my recent article, I put together some basic thoughts around the things that might help you to improve your Esports sales deck. Today, I want to focus on the Esports organization itself and talk about the importance of having a clear understanding of what the organization stands for.

 

Be clear about who you are

I strongly believe in the power of core values. I also believe that our individual core values drive our day-to-day way of thinking and acting. If you know who you are and what makes you tick, it is easier to focus on your strengths and get support for your weaknesses. Weaknesses provide opportunity for learning and growth. There is no need to be ashamed of them. Although this is a secret and some people don’t like to talk about it: we all have weaknesses. Understanding and accepting them will be an empowering moment.

Looking at organizations, lived core values will define corporate culture. I am not talking about a shiny brochure stating how friendly or professional a company is. I am talking about the lived set of values. The way people communicate, the way people help each other, and the way people deal with failure, to only name a few characteristics. New Esports organizations typically do not comprise a large workforce, so it is important to surround yourself with people that share a common set of core values. You don’t have to be the same and should complement each other. Overall, it helps if you believe in the same things. Spell it out, write it down and make sure to not forget about it.

 

How values can drive positioning

What is the benefit of living core values? How does this help you? Being aware of your underlying values is a great foundation for building an organization and will help to guide behavior.

Let’s look at some theory for a second: per definition, positioning is a marketing strategy that aims to make a brand occupy a distinct position, relative to competing brands, in the mind of the customer.

What I want to point out here:

  1. The only important reality is the reality in a customer’s mind (or a fan’s or enthusiast’s mind).
  2. Your position will be perceived relative to competing brands.

As an illustration: if I tell you that reading this article will be helpful and you, after reading it, think it isn’t: which statement is true? If you then think that other people write more helpful and actionable articles, where does this position me in your perception compared to these other people?

Lived core values can lead the way to your market position. If you look at Esports teams, you will see that most people share a certain perception for certain elements of a specific team. Business-wise for example, Fnatic is perceived as a professional Esports organization that has been around for years and is successful in a lot of their ventures. The Unicorns of Love are perceived as the authentic underdogs that went to LCS, proved their ground and are exciting to watch because of their sometimes different and innovative approach to picking a team composition. On the business side of things, I would not assume that Fnatic and the Unicorns are on the same level, so both teams occupy different positions in the EU LCS universe. You can add as many dimensions as you want and you will see that your perception will differ for each team (because their position is put in relation to each other).

 

Using your value based position as a differentiation strategy

Differentiation is a competitive strategy that basically aims at gaining a competitive advantage through standing out by being different. In other words, by occupying this one unique spot in the space. Being different itself does not guarantee success or failure, but can help you to be perceived and remembered. Whether you love or hate them: it will be hard to get certain associations off certain teams. Even if you hate them, they occupy the one spot that makes you hate them. This doesn’t have to be a bad thing.

I always refer to German football clubs to illustrate this example: FC Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund are perceived differently. Well, there are people that hate them both, but if you talk about FC Bayern Munich, most people either love or hate them. There hardly is any indifferent football fan. Their claim “forever number one” is a clear message. Should they rebrand in order to be perceived ‘nicer’ to get more fans? No, because they have a clear position and they should keep it. They have their fan-base, despite of all the haters.

A clear position helps people to understand who you are and what stand for. This works for organizations in the same way it works for you as an individual. Of course, there will always be occasions and statements that you might not like, but remember: your organization is a reflection of what you do and how you do it. If you don’t like its perception, maybe it’s worth thinking about your behavior?

Being clear about your core values can also help you guide decision-making. If you want to be an honest organization, be an honest organization. Make clear that you will not tolerate lying and that you will accept honest opinions, even if they are negative. It might hurt here and there, but you can always refer to your core value of being honest and transparent.

If you want to be the hardball business organization, you will find people that share your view and don’t want to be praised or emotionally connected to what you do. As long as you share this view, you will be aligned and consistent in what you do.

A mismatch in the communicated and perceived brand image can confuse people. Changing your image too often too quickly can lead to the same negative result. People will not know what you stand for and it will be harder for them to justify and/or assess your behavior.

 

TL;DR

Be who you are and don’t try to be someone else. If you always talk about A and do B, people will sooner or later get to see you real face, at the cost of your credibility.

Create or find a place that is in line with the underlying values driving your behavior. Know your values and live them. Breath them. Lead by example. If you have created your own organization, hire people that share a common set of core values. Jointly acting upon these values can help you to drive your position in the industry and might ultimately lead to a competitive advantage through authentic differentiation. There will always be certain values that work better with certain companies.

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Christopher Hana

Passionate gamer and eSports aficionado. Among other stuff, I like travelling, video games, economics and connecting the dots.

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