Much like your purpose and vision for your business, your core values play a pivotal role in developing a solid foundation for your brand. Core values serve as guiding principles, beliefs, and philosophies that drive your business forward.
Why are Brand Values Important
We’re living in a time where performative action is prevalent. Many businesses claim they’re diverse or environmentally friendly because they see an opportunity but lack substantial evidence to support their efforts.
When you’re clear on what your brand stands for, your business decisions are intentional and not based on what’s trending. You create a space for meaningful connection and deeper relationships with the people you serve leading to loyal advocates of your brand.
Brand values help
- In leadership and business making decisions
- Shape company culture and build community
- Build trust with your audience
How to define your brand values
Step 1 Brainstorm
Brainstorm 10-25 words that resonate with your business. If you have a team, this is a great exercise to see if everyone is on the same page. If you’re not good at coming up with specific words, these questions might serve as a starting point for reflection:
- Why do we exist as a business?
- Why do we do what we do?
- What change do we want to make in the world? What sparked this desire?
- What are some business experiences we’ve had so far, positive or negative, that led to a change in our company?
- What can be said about the work we do and our process?
Step 2 Consolidate
Once you have 10-25 words that stick out to you, consolidate your words into 3-5 categories. Approach this step with curiosity and ask yourself:
- What initially stuck out to me about this value?
- Are there times in my business when I’ve seen this value play out?
- Are there any recurring themes between the words I’ve chosen?
Now that you have identified your categories, you can pick an overarching theme that encompasses each pillar or one value that resonates in each category.
And that’s it, you’re done! JOKING. Please, do not stop here! The following are vital to building a trustworthy and authentic brand.
Step 3 Test your selections
Now that you have 3-5 core values ask yourself:
- Why is it important to me that our company culture stands with these values?
- Does our ideal audience resonate with these values?
- In a time of uncertainty am I confident that my business will be able to use [insert each value] to weather the storm? How?
If you cannot answer these questions from a place of intuition and conviction, go back to step 1. To put it frankly, if you can see past the bs chances are your people will see it too.
Breath Life into your Brand Values
When you feel good about the core values you’ve chosen it’s time to put them into action. This step might seem the most daunting but I encourage you to approach this through creativity, experimentation, and play!
Let’s say you’ve chosen community as your value. Ask yourself, what does community look like in action for our business? Is it hosting monthly events in your local area/online? Is it creating resources that encourage people to come together? Maybe you have a team and want to set up a happy hour or field days to foster community. There are plenty of opportunities to show and not just tell people what you stand for. Brand values can be experienced through actions and not just words.