Continuing to step 3, it’s all about Brand Values. At this point, we are getting to know your brand and each other. My Clearly Branded sessions are usually two to three hours long, in person or over Zoom. It is a casual conversation with lots of questions and always a little bit of laughter. So far, we have discovered your company’s foundation and defined your Mission and Vision. If you missed them, I wrote about the first two steps in previous blog posts:
What’s next? Brand Values. Still part of the brand foundation—that fundamental, unshakeable, deeply rooted belief system that differentiates a solid company with a planned future from a wishy-washy company that floats with the trends and might crumble any moment.
So, What Are Brand Values?
Brand values are the core belief system your company stands by. It is a set of underlying principles that show up in your business practice almost every day. They are the heart center of your entire brand system and guide every aspect of the way your brand shows up, behaves, looks, and sounds.
Here are a few examples:
- Do the right thing
- Focus on the user, and all else will follow
- It’s best to do one thing really, really well
- Fast is better than slow
- Democracy on the Web works
- The need for information crosses all borders
- You can be serious without a suit
- Great just isn’t good enough
- Creating a culture of warmth and belonging where everyone is welcome.
- Acting with courage, challenging the status quo, and finding new ways to grow our company and each other.
- Being present, connecting with transparency, dignity, and respect.
- Delivering our very best in all we do, holding ourselves accountable for results.
- Glory in Clarity. We make things simple and understandable so we can focus on what really matters.
- Wit and worth. We strive to add a layer of keen intelligence and deeper meaning to our work that is authentic and unique.
- Better-than-good. We have a fierce determination to go beyond. We want to shine, be proud of our work, and deliver the best results. For ourselves and our clients.
- Never stop learning. We believe that experiencing new things is the springboard for growth. We set aside ample time for traveling, listening, reading, and venturing.
And Why are Brand Values so important?
Well, let’s take 2020 as an example. The year of the Pandemic (well, the start of it since it is not over yet). Many businesses came to a sudden halt, and many businesses reacted quickly and successfully pivoted their offerings. Breweries and distilleries used their facilities and resources to make much-needed hand sanitizer for the community, and empty hotels, such as Red Roof, offered day rates for remote workers in need of space, fast internet, and quiet time.
Yes, the offering changed from their core products and services. However, their audience was not thrown off by their changes. Their fundamental belief and what they value remained the same: serve their communities, focus on the user, do the right thing, and create space and belonging.
In a way, you as a brand become predictable, which makes your audience feel safe—we like to know what to expect.
I wrote an in-depth blog post about the importance of brand values in case you want to dive deeper.
Defining Your Own Brand Values In Three Simple Steps
So, yes. I strongly encourage my clients to establish their own Brand Values. In my Clearly Branded process, I go through a set of exercises with the team to define them in three simple steps. We collect, clarify, and create—the three Cs.
Through a set of prompt questions, we collect keywords and sentences that might inform your values. I also ask you to choose values from a list I collected over the years that speak to you. Here are some examples of these questions and a shortlist of value words:
- What does everyone deeply care about? What is important to you?
- How do you have fun? What would a team outing look like?
- Define the brand experience you want your customer to have. How do you want to make them feel?
- What would you never do? What does not feel authentic or true to you? What turns you off from other businesses?
Shortlist of Value Words:
Acceptance, Accessibility, Accountability, Adventurous, Appreciation, Approachability, Balance, Belonging, Boldness, Bravery, Caring, Charm, Classy, Clarity, Collaboration, Comfort, Communication, Community, Compassion, Connection, Craftsmanship, Creativity, Curiosity, Daring, Dedication, Delight, Discovery, Diversity, Eagerness, Ease, Education, Efficient, Empathy, Empowering, Energy, Environment, Equality, Expertise, Fairness, Faith, Family, Finesse , Flexibility, Focus , Freedom, Friendship, Fun, Generosity, Grace, Gratitude, Growth, Guidance, Happiness, Hard work, Health, Heart, Helpful, Hope, Hospitality, Humble, Humor, Imagination, Impact, Integrity, Intelligence, Intimacy, Joy, Justice, Kindness, Knowledge, Leadership, Learning, Listening, Love, Mindfulness, Motivation, Open-minded, Originality, Passion, Peace, Perfection, Playfulness, Positivity, Power, Productivity, Professionalism, Progress, Quality, Recognition, Reliability, Resourcefulness, Results, Safety, Sensuality, Service, Sharing, Simplicity, Success, Support, Sustainability, Timeliness, Talent, Tolerance, Transformation, Transparency , Trustworthy, Uniqueness, Usefulness, Value, Vision, Warmth, Welcoming, Wholesomeness, Wisdom, Wonder
Next, we take the shortlist of keywords and cluster them into broader topics, and try to sum them up with one word or short sentence.
From there we expand on the main value word and create a meaningful, short, actionable statement that is memorable and unique to your brand. Keep these things in mind:
- Use action words
- Use short and punchy phrases
- Use conversational language
- Make it memorable
- Make it unique to your brand
- Go beyond the obvious
- Be specific (not too vague or general)
- Have 3-5 brand values, but no more
- Use a copywriter to refine the language and make it more colorful
- Take your time
- Cross-check values
If you are interested in defining your own values, you are in luck. I took this component of my Clearly Branded process and I put together a handy and FREE workbook on how to define your own brand values in 3 simple steps.
You can find the FREE WORKBOOK here. Take your time with it, involve your team, and iterate until you are happy with the outcome and feel like these values are 100% true to you.
Here are some brand value examples from my Clearly Branded clients that went through that process:
- Your Space
We believe in lovingly creating a space that is warm, welcoming, and energetically balanced. A space in which we direct focus to where you need it at the moment.
We love following our inkling of curiosity through wonderful transformational adventures.
- Care for People
We believe that all people need care from both others and themselves.
- Realness & Personality
We believe in being real. Be yourself, share yourself, and bring your best self into the room with love.
- Growth & Forward Action
We believe that we are always different, growing, and a work in progress every single day.
We deliver on day one and day one hundred. You will always know what to expect from your partnership with our team.
We create communities where everyone is welcome and work hard to foster a feeling of belonging.
Fueled by a healthy dose of curiosity, we solve tough problems through strategic and creative ways.
We dive deep into our work to deliver the most accurate and tailored content for our clients—every time.
We are here as an extension of your team. Working alongside you to reach your goals and help your work life run smoothly.
SDSU Coral, a clinical research lab that helps children with language and literacy disorders
We believe in finding feasible and tailored solutions that are rooted in scientific evidence.
Our passion is to help people and to empower them to help themselves and build up their capacity.
- Built on Genuine Connection
We believe in building genuine connections through communication, collaboration, and compassion.
- Keep on Growing
We believe in the iterative process and thrive to continuously learn and grow, driven by curiosity and creativity.
- Feel Valued
We want to create a world where everybody feels valued, empowered, and ultimately happy and fulfilled.
I hope this process and examples help to clarify what brand values are. Do you have any questions, or would you like to define or polish your own brand values?
Just contact me and let me know.
I value you.