02 Discover Your Brand Values
My strong recommendation would be to listen to Laura Coleman's AMAZING audio meditations here before watching the videoor doing any work on defining your values as it will get you set up in the right head space and ensure you get the most out of this exercise.
LISTEN FIRST | Your pre-training Meditation
YOUR BRAND VALUES
Welcome to part two of this mini series where we’ll be diving into your core brand values.
By the end of this short tutorial you’ll have an understanding of what brand values are and what they’re not, you’ll see why they are so important to acknowledge and define and you’ll have a much clearer idea of your own brand values.
WHAT ARE BRAND VALUES?
Your core brand values are just 3-5 simple words or short phrases but they are so much more than that. They are the very foundation of your brand. They are what you stand for. Your logo, your colours and design and even your marketing strategy may change over time but one thing that should always remain constant is your values. If you are fervently anti-racist, if you will not stand for injustice, if there are things that you cannot and will not be moved on then you should consider including these things in your core brand values.
They don’t have to have political connotations, of course. You and your business may be about bringing joy into the lives of others. It may be about community and connection. The thing about your brand values is that only you can really decide upon them. They have to feel right, to you.
HOW DO YOU DETERMINE YOUR OWN BRAND VALUES?
Now deciding on your values is really difficult for some businesses, others find it really easy. There is no one way. I do quite in-depth work with my 121 clients around defining their values, but there are a few tips I’d love to share with you to help you discover your own.
The first thing I’d like for you to do is to look up a list of values online to give you some general guidance. Build a shortlist of the ones that really resonate with you. Then just systematically take away the ones that don’t quite ‘feel’ right. It’s quite an intuitive process. Secondly, avoid the obvious. Most businesses are expected to work with honesty, integrity and reliability. Most are assumed to be sincere and trustworthy.
Now if you run a creative business like graphic design, brand development or photography then creativity is kind of a given. So try to remove these from your selection. Your final list should be more unique and personal to you and how you do business.
You’ll also I find that there are words that are similar in meaning like brave, courage and fearless. Which are all great brand values but there will be one that just resonates more deeply with you. Just make sure that when you have your final selection that none are too similar in meaning.
Now one of the best ways to determine your values is to grab your pen and paper and write a list of the five most important things to you in life. Then I want you to write down what each one of these things represents, what it means to you. So for example, if you were to write down family and then really think about what family means to you, it may represent security or connection. Investigating it further by asking what does security mean to me I might find that freedom is actually what that security gives me.
If you were to write down caring for the planet then it may be that environmental concern is one of your core values. The five values you infer from this list of what’s important to you should be a great starting point. Ultimately I would love for you to come up with 3-5 values that will become the foundation of your brand.
So grab some paper and run through the exercises I’ve just outlined and see if you can narrow down your list to just 3-5 core brand values. Give yourself some time for this one. It shouldn't be rushed. Now the great thing about developing a personal brand is that there is so much of yourself in there so using your own core values tends to work really well. But remember, the values you choose have to feel right to you. They shouldn’t be influenced by external factors, what other people think or what you think others expect of you.
As an example my brand values are fearlessness to represent stepping over the ego, fully embracing who you are and showing up for yourself without doubt.
I knew confidence was one of mine because it is a part of my own brand story. I had no confidence as a child and one day when I was 16 I decided that my value and my worth was not determined by how others treated me but by my own existence in the world and something changed.
It’s also what I bring to my clients. I love to highlight that confidence is not a personal attribute that you either have or you don't but actually a skill that can be learned through practice. I chose Freedom because it is hands down the most important thing to me in life. And Connection because it is so vital for building relationships and relationships are integral to success.
And my final one is Possibility because I approach everything with a sense of wonder and joy and understand that anything is possible if you put your mindset to it. I want my clients to feel all the same things I do in terms of what is possible and not be held back by themselves.
SO WHY ARE YOUR BRAND VALUES IMPORTANT?
Your values represent all that you stand for. All that your business stands for. Used well they should determine the outcome of every business decision you ever make. "Should I sell that product even though I know it could be better?", "Should I work with that team even though I’ve heard they lack integrity?" These are pretty extreme examples but hopefully you get the picture? When you start making decisions that aren’t guided by your brand values, this is often when things start to fall apart. It’s when we start to feel misaligned, like something is ‘off’ in our business.
This is because we’re travelling down a road that takes us away from our true north. “True North” is, I think, the best description of our brand values. But, they also form the most powerful basis for connection with your ideal client. Think about when you go on a date. You’re looking for the partner of your dreams, the one you want to spend the rest of your life with. How likely are you to sign up to a lifetime with someone who doesn’t share your values or want the same things? You’re so much more likely to choose a partner who stands for the same things you do. This is because we’re drawn to people who are like us. Those who share the same or similar opinions.
Connection is based on understanding and feeling understood so if you can openly demonstrate your values through your content then you’ll find that your ideal client (who is most often a reflection of yourself) will be naturally drawn to you and your business. They are more likely to want to start a ‘relationship’ with you and invest in you as a person. So understanding and expressing your values is 101 in brand development and in building rapport with your followers.
HOW DO YOU USE YOUR VALUES. IN PRACTICE?
Now, as I said at the beginning, these are not flimsy, interchangeable concepts. You’ll need to take time deciding upon them and stick with them. They may change a little organically in the first few months but after this you should stand firm in your values.
I would really recommend writing out your brand values and sticking them somewhere prominent in your workspace area so they are always top of mind when getting content together. Also, start threading them through your content so your followers start to get a real feel for what you're about.
Now you can be brazen with it and create a blog post literally saying “These are my brand values and this is why I chose them” but that’s not really making the most of them. It’s also a little stale. So, alternatively, I’d also suggest brainstorming each individual word or phrase to come up with related content ideas so your values can be more subtly introduced through your published posts. So for example, for me, I mind mapped ‘Confidence’ and came up with at least ten content ideas within the first 15 minutes.
Here’s a few examples;
- Learning to be confident: it’s a skill not a fixed attribute
- Why confidence attracts clients
- Confidence breeds confidence: Here’s where to start
Once you have the title it will give you some guidance on the content. You see, there are subtle ways to get your values across. And what happens as you create more and more content that’s inspired by your values is that your voice changes, it becomes more sincere. People start to build a real picture of what you stand for. Building a successful brand is all about influencing that positive perception. We can’t decide how people see us, but we can guide it.
How does having shared values build trust?
The truth of it is that we find the deepest connection with those who share our values. It really is as simple as that. So if you start threading your values through your content then your ideal clients (who most likely share your values, that’s part of the reason why they’re your ideal clients) they’ll start to find an affinity with your words, with your personality and with your brand. The sentiments you convey will resonate with them and they’ll find themselves agreeing with what you say. They’ll start nodding along as they read your words. Then they’ll want to know more because your words are cementing their own views.
So, grab some unlined paper and I would really recommend using coloured pens and pencils to allow your brain the freedom to create and develop ideas without constraint. This is such a great exercise for generating content but specifically content that really connects with your ideal client, who remember, shares your values. Write down your first brand value in the centre and brainstorm content titles. Keep going and see what comes up. Then do this for each one and you’ll suddenly find you have so many new ideas for content creation.
I hope you’ve found this tutorial really useful and have a few ideas to start narrowing down your brand values and how to use them within your business. If you’d like to know more, have any questions or would like to work with me then you’ll find a link to my website alongside the video.
Tune in to the next video to find out more about how to develop your Brand Personality. Thanks so much for watching.
“If you are looking for some empowerment to move your business to the place you wish for it to be...talk to Lauren. 40 minutes of GOLD is what I say!”
– Hanna, Hannacake –