You’re all set up in your business and your branding is complete. Or is it?
You’ve got all the visuals in place; your logo, colour palette and typography choices to use across all touch points with your audience, and while this is great, it’s important to also consider how your brand should feel.
Branding goes a lot deeper than what meets the eye. While the aesthetics of your brand are absolutely key, it’s important to consider how you are making your audience feel when they see your branding and messaging. This is where your core brand values come in.
Identifying your core brand values is about essentially going right back to basics. It’s likely that if you haven’t already identified them, you will actually know exactly what they are. Sometimes, if you have been working in your business a while, it can just be tricky to strip back and name them.
Your brand values are the beliefs that you and your business stand for. They are how you communicate and they aid the thought process behind each decision you make in your branding and marketing. Now if this is all starting to sound a bit much, please stay with me. I promise this post will be uber helpful and as well as help you get back to basics, I’ll give you a ton of examples of what your core brand values could be.
For inspiration, also have a look at these amazing examples of brand values in action.
Why you should define your core brand values
Of course, we will start with the ‘why’. Choosing strong core brand values can help set your business apart from others in your niche. Your values will help you build strong and meaningful relationships with your audience and with your clients. Your core brand values will help you attract your ideal customers and build a loyal following.
By identifying your core brand values, you are essentially setting out the ‘promises’ on how your business will conduct itself. How you will do things, communicate and what you believe in. Your core values are about telling the world what’s important to you and your business and connecting with others who share those same values.
This is powerful stuff. Identifying your core values can lead to helping you tell stories. If you’ve ever been stuck on what to post on social media, or what to say in a blog post or on your about page, this is where identifying your brand values can be really helpful. Having core values as part of the foundations of what you do in your business, can not only be motivating for you in keeping you going day to day in your business, but it can inspire others too.
Storytelling is a powerful marketing tool and way to connect with people, especially in a world where we continue to see each other only on online platforms. Because of this people look for real connections with the business they buy from online, so it’s important to have a sense of what you stand for and communicate that to your following.
Working on defining your brand values
Ok, so we have realised it’s important to define your brand values so let’s get to the juicy bit of defining them. It’s tempting to look around at what values other similar companies have. I’d recommend not falling into this trap. Authenticity is key here in helping you tell your own unique story.
It’s also important not to just state the obvious here and go beyond what other businesses might be stating as their brand values. It can be tempting to go with things like ‘honesty’, ‘integrity’, ‘clarity’ or ‘heart’ here. And while there is nothing wrong with these as core brand values, it’s important to remember how you will communicate these as part of your unique brand. Actually these are more generic brand values that won’t necessarily make your business stand out and attract your ideal customers.
When you define your own core brand values, how can you be a bit more specific? Try to dig deep and think of core brand values that your specific business has. Look at why you do what you do and some what some more industry specific core values could be to help you stand out in your niche.
How to define your core brand values
Be unique and keep it simple. While trying to define unique core brand values that attract your ideal customers, it can be tempting to go all out and create a whole bunch of different values and to seek out buzz words that sound great. I’d recommended that at the same time as aiming to stand out in your niche by being unique, you also keep your core brand values simple and straightforward.
Start by taking a blank sheet of paper and dumping all your ideas on it. Remember that no idea is a bad idea and at this point, the more the better.
If you’re struggling with words, try to answer these questions:
- What do I believe in?
- Why did I start my business?
- What keeps me going on a day to day basis in my business?
- What am I passionate about?
- What do I not like about the industry I am in?
Focussing on the last question there, taking what you don’t like and turning it around can really help you identify your core brand values. It’s much easier to get passionate about what you see happening in your industry that you don’t agree with. So, how is your business going to improve on what you see others in your industry doing? What can you offer your clients that will make you stand out and solve this issue? If focussing on the negative can help fire you up and see what problems you can solve and how you can improve things, it’s a great way to identify your core brand values.
You might be completely stuck identifying your brand values. It’s not the easiest thing to do for your brand, but trust me, it’s probably the best thing you can do for your business. As I mentioned before, it can be tempting to look at what others have identified as their core brand values and this can be helpful, but don’t let this get in the way of your own.
Below I have created a list of ideas. These are words I came up with when I was defining my own brand values. I narrowed them down to a list of just 4; Daring, creativity, thoughtfulness and empowerment.
I hope this list will inspire you and then help you think about your own brand so you can create your own. Remember that some of these might be core brand values you will share with me, whilst others will not. It’s also important that later on in your messaging, marketing, branding and storytelling that you are able to demonstrate how and why they are important to you. That’s why it’s essential to dig deep and discover your own.
How to use your brand values
Your brand values shouldn’t be something you just come up with and then leave in a notebook somewhere and carry on as you were before. In fact you can now take your values forward and use them as an integral part of your brand identity, your messaging and marketing. They will help you come up with content ideas and assist you when you feel stuck.
Now that you have defined what they are, instead of keeping your brand values hidden in a notebook, remember to start communicating them to your audience as part of your messaging so that they start doing their job to set you apart from others in your niche. Use them as a selling point and a way of growing your audience.
You can communicate your brand values to your audience as a way of telling them what you do. This will help make your business more attractive, more meaningful and your ideal customers are more likely to remember you if you have said something that really resonates with them.
Your core brand values can also help you to create marketing and social media content that’s meaningful and impactful. A great way of creating content for your social media is to have content pillars that consistently put across your unique message to your audience. Your brand values can help you when generating ideas for your social media content pillars and also help you if you get stuck writing captions for your posts. This alone is such a great reason why every business owner should define what their brand values are. You’ll never run out of ideas as long as your brand values are what you are passionate about.
So, while the visual side of your branding is, of course, very important, this may change and adapt over time. Your core brand values however, will be those things that are always important to you, the reason you started your business in the first place or fuelled by your passion, meaning that over time they won’t change.
Remember to spend time working on what they are and make them true and unique to you and your business. Keep them close to you and refer back to them when creating your content and use them as if they are principal to everything you do in order to set you apart from others in your niche and attract a loyal and engaged audience.
If you’d like help identifying what your core brand values are or you’d like to learn how I can help you build a brand that’ll turn the heads of your ideal customers, get in touch to find out more about how I work.