Values are a compass by which you can set your course in making key business decisions.
The brand values are what the customers see and feel during their contact with your business. Once these are established, it’s important to ensure that your customer experience reflects these values in every aspect of your business. This means tailoring every element of the marketing mix to project your brand values – from the products you produce or the services you offer to the messages on your advertising and the stationery you use. Building a brand can take a lot of hard work, consistency and commitment.
Establishing your values is more than just a branding exercise. Branding is not about adding a slick logo to make your business look nice. It’s about clarifying the core of who you are and what you do. Core values define the strengths of your business and show how you communicate and interact with people and how you business needs to operate to achieve its vision. Successful branding is about promoting these elements.
Values impact your brand, and business strategies. They are what makes you tick, what you believe and how you do business.
So how do you get your core values out of your head and down on paper so they can be communicated in all aspects of your business?
Step 1 Define your personal values
What matters most to you as a person? What are four or five values that define who you are and who you want to be. Try to keep it to single words or just short phrases. These values are significant and meaningful to you personally.
Here are some questions to get you started:
- What are your influences?
- What are some things you would never do?
- How do I respond to hardship or good fortune?
- How do I treat others around me?
List 1 – What does your business regard as important and what is unique about working here? Who does your business help? What’s the purpose of your business? How do you want to make the world a better place with your business? What problems does your business solve? What is the ultimate aim for your business?
List 2 – What is your business NOT and what do similar businesses do that your business would never do? When considering these negative qualities, think about its pointless opposite to help give you further ideas about positive values for your business to add to List 1.
Sort the list 1 results into groups that feature similar ideas.
Look at the groups you have created. Choose a key word that summarizes each entire group of cards. These should reflect two things:
- How do you operate as a business? For example “Visionary – The inspiration to see opportunities in everything”
- How do you work with your clients? For example “Loyalty – We put our customers first.”
Values assist you to answer, ‘Who is your business?’ and ‘What does your business stand for?’
When it comes to writing your values, here are a few tips:
Pick your words carefully
Your business values need to be more than just words, not just stale, meaningless business jargon. Use concrete language that is easy to relate to and make the values clearly say what you care about. For example, “Integrity. When we say we do something, we do it, no matter what.”
Turn values into specific operating principles. If you want to truly operate by the values, make them actionable. For example, “The flexibility to anticipate the unexpected” would be seen in actions such as working well under pressure, strategic focus and adaptability.
Commit to your values
See these values as the core of your business and something that drives behavior and actions. Integrate them into your marketing and tell stories of real life examples of how your business has demonstrated a value(s).
Use your business values as a definitive guide for everything you do. Think of them as a decision filter for hiring, customer decisions, growth and strategic decisions, etc.
Values are your internal navigation system. Guiding and leading.
If you don’t know what’s important to you, you can spend a lot of time wandering and wondering what you should be doing. Establish values to create a focus. If taken seriously, they can be the key to your success.