As a business owner, how many times have you heard that identifying your brand values is critical to creating your brand identity?
After all, your core brand values guide your business choices, direct your growth, and help you connect with your ideal clients. Yet, many busy business owners are taught to simply pick 10-20 values from a list without reflecting on their underlying beliefs.
One of those commonly chosen brand values?
But integrity isn’t a core brand value.
Integrity means being honest, following through on your promises, and acting in accordance with your values (even if that means making hard business decisions).
Integrity is the bare minimum of running a business, serving clients, and selling products. Your clients expect you to act with integrity in everything you do.
Since integrity should go without saying in your business, as a core value it doesn’t truly reflect anything about you and your brand. It doesn’t tell your target audience about the experience, service, or approach your business creates. It doesn’t give your ideal clients something to latch onto and get excited about.
And it doesn’t highlight your unique magic that makes your brand stand out in a sea of sameness.
Since you know integrity isn’t a brand value, are you wondering, ‘okay Chelsea, then what are brand values? And how do I identify my business’s values?’
I’m spilling all the beans on what brand values are, how I work with clients to identify brand values, and what to do with your core brand values once you’ve chosen them.
Being an intentional, conscious business owner means evaluating what you’re passionate about in the world, your strong stances, and your responsibility to your client, and then incorporating these pieces into everything you do.
Core brand values are the principles that reflect your beliefs and guide you in your business choices.
They narrow down your target audience, guide your processes, inform your design decisions, and create cohesion across all aspects of your business from services to messaging to visuals.
Brand values can also be the *thing* that helps you resonate with your ideal clients.
People want to connect with the businesses they’re supporting. When you share your strengths, weaknesses, and beliefs, you deepen your relationship with your target audience and help them feel seen, heard, and connected to you and your brand.
Which ultimately, makes your business the one they turn to and open their wallets for.
So, you're saying no to picking core brand values at random.
Instead, you’re ready to spend more time identifying your values than you spend picking a restaurant to Doordash from on a Thursday night.
But what do you need to consider when identifying your core brand values?
When I work with clients on Holistic Brand Strategy™, I always start by asking what they value as individuals in their personal life. Business is personal so this is a perfect starting point to discover what’s important to the brand you’re building.
Oftentimes though, we need to go deeper. The values we think we have or want to portray don’t always reflect our actual actions and decisions.
Some of the questions I ask clients to reach the heart of their brand values are:
These questions draw out the changes business owners strive for and zone in on the beliefs that shape their business decisions.
When it came to working with L&H Skincare, a skincare line developed by estheticians for estheticians and skincare enthusiasts, the founders were tired of dishonest and complex skincare products.
Together, we identified education as one of their core brand values because L&H Skincare believes you don’t need a chemistry degree or esthetician certificate to care for your skin.
To support this value in all their business and branding decisions, L&H Skincare shares relevant, digestible, and personalized information so it’s easier than ever to care for your skin.
Choosing a brand value that reflects their strong beliefs reinforces L&H Skincare's entire brand, from messaging to products, and helps them stand out from competitors in a crowded market.
What do you do with your core brand values once you’ve identified them?
In many businesses, brand values hide behind the scenes and aren't always reflected in business decisions, products or services, or core messaging.
To truly align your business with your beliefs, you need to take your brand values further with actionable steps and practices.
For example, one of Honey and Co.’s core brand values is trust. I believe that trust between my clients and myself is essential to developing a brand strategy that aligns with their business goals, hopes, and dreams.
How does that play out in my daily messaging, meetings, and services?
It means I have an open and honest approach to all communication. I’ll tell it like it is (in a caring and supportive way!) and I want to hear all your hot takes as well.
Sometimes that means we have hard conversations or surprisingly realizations, but it’s always in the name of creating a wildly successful and aligned brand for your business.
Remember, your brand values don’t stop once you’ve chosen them. They should drive every step your brand takes.
Identifying your core brand values is at the heart of transforming your brand from ‘one of many’ to ‘the one.’
After all, your brand’s success is fuelled by what makes you unique. And your beliefs, stances, and values are an important part of the magic that makes you, you.
So, if you’re tired of borrowing values from other brands, are ready to uncover a deeper understanding of what drives you, and want to stand out while staying true to yourself, then I have the course for you.
The One is a one-of-a-kind brand positioning course for service providers who want to create a unique, irresistible, and aligned brand that has clients lining up around the corner.
If that sounds like you, then hop onto the waitlist and become the first to know when the next round launches!
All my best,
Principal, Honey & Co.
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