What Are Your Brand Values? Here's How to Find Them!
Updated: Mar 12
You've probably heard the term "brand values" at some point.
Maybe it was mentioned in some marketing workshop, or you stumbled across this term on some big brand's glorified "about" page.
Either way, the impression most people get is that this term refers to the string of fancy words that businesses use to convince customers that they "care" (and that this is why you should buy from THEM and not their competition). 😏
I know I sound pretty cynical when I say it like that, but I wanted to acknowledge the fact that a lot of people see brand values as a big bunch of marketing FLUFF.
(And it honestly can be when a business decides to shares its brand values in the name of good PR without following up in action)...
But what if it's more than just some fancy marketing jargon? What if brand values actually play a HUGE role in not just your marketing, but the way you run your business?
Let's start with clarifying what "brand values" actually are.
Brand values (or pillars) refers to the set of beliefs or qualities that your brand is all about, kinda like how some people say that they stand for "equality", or when a business says that they're all about "innovation".
These beliefs form the backbone of your brand, and is important for 2 reasons:
Internal: Your brand values serve as the guiding compass for every decision you make in your business. If you say that your business stands for innovation, every decision you make from your services and your marketing down to your dress code and your email signature needs to clearly SHOW that you are all about this brand value. It's the glue that holds everything together, and helps you navigate tricky business decisions as your brand grows and expands.
External: Your brand values help your customers know that you believe in the same things they do and that you belong in the same "tribe". Customers don't buy brands — they buy into the belief systems behind the brands. The better you are at showing AND telling your brand values, the faster you will attract a loyal fanbase that will stick by you no matter what!
Here are a few examples of brand values being put into action 👇
A company that says that their core brand value is "sustainability" would most likely have environmentally sustainable products & services, leads their marketing with public campaigns and initiatives, and generally attracts a crowd that is cares deeply about social responsibility. A lot of their communications will be informative and action-oriented, and are intended to instil an overall sense of purpose in their audience. This kind of company tends to deter people who live a very consumeristic lifestyle and live life in the "fast lane".
A company that says their core brand value is "equality" would most likely provide inclusive services, place a high priority on bringing visibility to minority groups and have a diverse team. They communicate with a warm tone, and come off as being open and friendly. This company would attract people who live on the fringes and want to find a place of belonging, and deters people who are close-minded and not inclusive.
It's not uncommon for companies to have a few brand values, but most of them have an emphasis on one core value.
The reason for this is that it can get confusing when you have more than one focal point for your business, especially when it comes to making decisions. Most businesses have one primary brand value, and a few secondary ones (for support).
For example, my primary brand value is "impact", and my secondary brand values are, "belonging", "connection", "creativity" and "joy". When I make business decisions such as what to post, what to offer and who I work with, the single question I ask myself is:
Does this decision help me create more impact?
If the answer is "yes", then I run it through my secondary values to see how I can execute this idea in a way that includes the rest of my brand values. This is how I use my brand values to make business decisions and constantly remain "on-brand" — even in situations that I've never navigated before.
So how exactly do you find your brand values? Ask yourself the following questions...
Why did you start your business?
What are you passionate about?
What upsets you the most / what injustice are you fighting?
List out everything that comes to mind, then ask yourself the following questions to find your core brand value:
Which of these values is the most consistent across everything you do?
Which of these values is "the bottom line" for your business? (i.e. if your business accomplishes nothing but this ONE thing, what would that be)
What does your gut say?
After you run through this exercise, you'll probably have one core brand value and 2-5 secondary core values. One thing I like to do (as a bonus) is to ask myself:
What does [insert brand value] mean to me?
And write a paragraph in reflection of this question. This helps you unpack what this word means to you and further clarify what this value does / doesn't look like for your brand.
For example, "impact" to me means creating deep and lasting change, while "impact" to someone else can mean reaching a lot of people. Taking the time to understand what your values mean to your brand can really help you get a clearer picture of what it would look like when it comes down to executing on your brand values.
Aaand that's it!
Once you discover your brand values, it can help you find the clarity you need to navigate the tricky decision-making process that comes with trying new things for your business. It helps you define what is "right" for your brand, and it helps your customers know that you stand for the things they believe in.
Remember, it's about showing AND telling what your brand is all about! 😉
But in the case you get a bit stuck in your own head when you run through this exercise (like we all do) , help is available! You can book a quick call with me to learn more about how I can be supporting you with your branding and see if we're the right fit to be working together!
Book yourself a call using the button below — and no need to be shy... I don't bite 😁