Last month's blog post began the discussion of building your brand starting at the core level with your Vision & Mission Statements. This month, we are digging into defining what your Core Values are and how they serve the day-to-day operations of your business. Being able to express these Values in a formal statement can function as your guide when serving your customers and when hiring staff, strategic partners or vendors.
Let's start by defining what we mean when we say Core Values of the business. As defined by Sarah Durham, author of Brandraising, "Values are beliefs in which a person or group has an emotional investment. In an organization, values can serve as guiding principles that shape and inform the organization's approach to its work."
So what does that mean exactly?
I believe the best way to explain it is to give you an example. Last month I shared my Vision & Mission Statement, which explained that my goal is to work with businesses that share my vision for a cleaner planet and a plant-based, cruelty-free lifestyle. That being said, it's not hard to see that my values would include the following:
- Sustainability: Working with clients that have a consciousness around sustainability (vegan, eco-friendly, natural health & wellness) so that I can stay true to my Vision and Mission Statements
- Made in the USA: Working with strategic partners and vendors that are in the United States so that I can ensure quality and efficient communication
- Creativity: Staying current with trends and design solutions so that I can offer the most professional marketing pieces to my clients
- Punctuality: Being punctual with scheduled meetings and deadlines so that clients know I value their time and I deliver on my promises
- Patience: Each client is at a different stage with their business and marketing knowledge—which requires listening, patience and education when interacting with them so that they know I understand what their needs are
- Satisfaction: Delivering services and products that meet my clients' highest standards so that I can ensure their full satisfaction
- Balance: Working each day to maintain a healthy work-life balance so that I can sustain implementation of all the Values listed above
So how do you define your Core Values?
If you haven't done it yet, create your Vision & Mission Statements. Know that all these documents are living, breathing pieces of your brand. They can change as your business and the future evolves. Don't let perfection hold you back. You should keep your Values list short. Try to come up with five to ten at the most. Choose the things that matter most.
One thing that helped me define my Values was to think about the things I value in the people I work with and the things I won't compromise on. What I value most in my working relationships with others are the Values I embody in my own business.
Values are a code of conduct for you and everyone in the business. Think about the kind of culture you are building. In addition to Values being the guiding principals of how you run your business, you can think of them as adjectives of how you want your customers to define your brand. Here's a great list from James Clear to get you started.
Do your values include working with businesses that are eco-conscious and vegan? If so, let's chat!