I’ve seen the buzzword “brand values” throughout the design industry almost constantly as I’ve been continuing to dive further into brand strategy with my clients. Brand Values are one of the core components we go over, but I think a lot of people get confused by what it actually means and how to discover them.
First of all, what are brand values?
Your brand values are uncompromising truths and guiding principles that articulate what you stand for, and the primary driving force behind your brand, business, behaviors, and decisions.
To be a business with a compelling brand, you have to establish your brand values.
For example, Press and Palm’s values are below:
Some businesses don’t see that these are a core component of the branding process. Instead, they write down a bunch of values that are hollow and eventually become meaningless. Branding tip: everything has intentionality when you are a business.
The most successful brands I know have intentional branding throughout everything they post, infusing their values into literally everything their brand posts, on and offline.
SO, in a very brief nutshell, here are the starting blocks to discovering your core values:
1. Dig Deep
Why did you get started? Why are you continuing with this business? Get into that everknowing “Why”, and don’t be afraid to spend as much time as you need if you’ve never done the “why” exercise before. There should be a reason for everything you do.
2. The Eulogy
Write down a list of AT LEAST 20 adjectives/values that you want people to remember you/your business by (AKA, write a eulogy about yourself that someone might read at your funeral). Morbid, but necessary.
Go through that list, and narrow it down to 5 values you absolutely want to uphold.
3. Identity Brands/People You Love
What are some brands or people that you absolutely love? Why do you love them? Write down single words that describe these people/businesses that you admire and want to emulate in your own life.
I’m sure you have past clients/friends/family that will give you helpful advice, but one thing I urge you to ask them is “how would you describe me?” – when I was doing this exercise for my photography business, I asked how my current and past clients would describe my images. A lot of answers said “warm”, “light”, “bright”, “airy”, and that’s how I still continue to uphold and perceive my photography style to this day.
When you become clear on your core brand values, that allows you to do the following:
- Make clearer and better decisions for your business
- Build stronger relationships (with both your clients AND your team members)
- Reduce confusion
- Have you ever come across a person that says one thing and does another? ISN’T THAT THE MOST CONFUSING THING?
- Halt the search for clients every month, because they’ll be coming to you. People don’t buy goods and services anymore, they buy an experience they connect with. If people connect with you and align with your business values, you’ve got yourself an ideal client.
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