How to Define Your Brand Values

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Values (for your business) creates value (for your business).

Entrepreneurs and small business owners are doers….sometimes we get so pumped to do the work that we skip over the thinking and planning portion. We get a great money-making idea and move full speed ahead to implement it without building the long-term foundation for the business as a whole.

What does your brand stand for? What beliefs do you hold in high regard? Particularly in this low barrier to entry marketplace we operate in, consumers have options. We can compete on price, product quality, business hours, etc., and buyers have to make decisions on where to spend their money.

Why should they choose you?

When you define your brand values you have an anchor;  you have a core idea at its center from which everything radiates.

You give your audience something to identify with, something that creates the type of loyalty for which price doesn’t matter. Seth Godin writes about the importance of identifying values for your brand with these words:

Every time you use waffle words, back off from a clear statement of values and priorities and most of all, think about what’s likely instead of what’s possible, you are selling yourself out. Not just selling yourself out, but doing it too cheaply.

Clarity creates confidence (in your prospective customers), and these days you can no longer get away with being unclear. When you make it clear what your brand stands for you make it easy for your audience to decide what to believe about your brand. There are many “formulas” out there that any business owner can follow to define their brand values, but I’m going to drill this process down to two questions (because I know you’re busy):

What don’t I like?  + Can I be consistent?

Focusing on what you don’t like is easy – because everybody knows what they don’t like. You don’t like dogs, gluten-free pizza and bad customer service. Once you pinpoint what you don’t like you can decide to project the opposite through your brand.

Once you identify what values you want to project, determine if you can illustrate those values on a consistent basis, in order to reinforce the idea in the minds of your audience.

Here’s the truth – you can’t please everybody…there are people out there that already don’t like you or your business, and that may be due to the fogginess of your brand values.

If you stand for integrity – proclaim it.

If treating your customers like family matters – tell it.

If diversity, equality, social justice is your jam – display it.

The people that identify with your core values will fall in love with you, and those that don’t will self-eliminate.