It can be hard to work out where your brand fits in the narrative on the tumultuous world stage and how to contribute in a positive way. But, it doesn’t have to be complicated. You can start by identifying your brand purpose and values – and then embed them into everything you do in your business to make a positive impact.
I’ve seen so many entrepreneurs skip this step. Have you skipped it too?
It’s ok, you’re in a safe place here, and the good news is it’s never too late to get clear about your brand values.
Your brand values act as your guiding lights and shape every decision you make in your business. In fact, the timing could never be better than right now – and it could actually create a distinct competitive advantage for your business.
That’s because a clear majority of customers are looking to spend their money with brands that align with their own social and environmental values. It’s brands that act, not just talk, that will win the hearts and minds of these customers.
Here’s how you can turn your values into a clear advantage.
First, start by identifying what your core brand values are
Some values may come very easily to mind. Others might need the help of the answers to these questions:
- What does a utopian future look like for my brand?
- What is the change my brand is here to make?
- What does my brand stand for?
- What does my brand stand against?
Create a list of 5 – 7 core values that will act as your guiding lights. Any more than 7 and you’re going to start watering down any real impact they’ll have in your business (and probably confusing yourself!). Keep it simple and choose those values which are the most meaningful to you and your vision for the future.
“Integrity is doing the right thing even when nobody’s watching.”
Next, get clear about what your brand values mean for your business
For each of the values in your list, you’re going to want to answer “so what?”.
What does each mean for your product or service, suppliers you choose to work with, materials or tools you source, how you communicate and promote, etc.? Your goal here is to create alignment, so there’s no disconnect between what you say your values are and what you actually do.
Remember that integrity is doing the right thing even when nobody’s watching. That means that not every single action should be done with the expectation of applause. Being a truly values-led business means making choices and taking actions that aren’t necessarily on show for all to see. They’re just a natural part of your brand’s DNA.
Embed your brand values into your client experience
With one of the most powerful methods of marketing being word of mouth, crafting a values-led client experience will not only create a positive interaction with your brand, it will likely get you talked about too.
Knowing your ideal clients’ own personal values, motivations and fears will help you craft a beautifully aligned and memorable experience. When you know what’s most important to them, you can empathise with their needs at every step of the journey. It also means you can surprise and delight them.
Define how your brand values connect to your impact strategy
For bonus brand kudos, outline how exactly you will contribute back to the greater good. This doesn’t have to be a financial contribution either. You might choose to volunteer to a cause that aligns with your brand and values. That might be in the form of volunteering your time or providing mentorship.
You might choose to offer pro-bono services to a minority group or not-for-profit organisation that aligns with your brand values on a regular basis (e.g. quarterly) or once you’ve achieved certain milestones in your own business (e.g. once your monthly revenue goals have been reached).
Consider which format for your contribution will work best for your business model and also create the positive impact you’re seeking to make.
Values-led businesses are not only good for the world, they’re winning at business too. With more examples of big brands crumbling for behaving badly, and more consumers shifting to spend with brands that have clear and positive values, the time to create a purposeful, stand-out brand is absolutely now.
That’s certainly a “new normal” I can get behind. How about you?