Core values can make or break your business. Here are some reasons they are crucial to the success of your brand:
- Core values influence, if not outright determine, your brand’s messaging, personality, and identity. They guide the narratives surrounding your brand and can help streamline your decision-making processes.
- Core values can help differentiate your brand in an increasingly saturated landscape.
Without core values, your brand can easily get lost in a sea of other messages, identities, and stories. If you are in the process of coming up with a set of core values for your upcoming brand, here are some pointers to remember.
Identify what is most important to you
If you want to come up with a unique set of core values that express what your brand is all about, you will need to move outside of the box of cliches like “trustworthy,” “friendly,” “reliable,” and other dime-a-dozen adjectives. Sure, these words are uplifting and positive, but nothing about them makes your company unique and stand out from the rest. Leave these commonly used words behind, and think about what is most important and valuable to you as a brand owner.
What is a pressing issue that you feel most passionate about? Do you care the most about ethical labor practices and human rights? What about stewarding the planet and its resources? You can also don’t need to go global in your advocacy; you can also look into your immediate community and keep your eyes open to the needs of the people in your neighborhood, town, or city. Find ideals that appeal to you as an owner, to your team members, and especially to your consumers, and start casting this vision together so you can build a community based on this same passion.
Understand your audience and competitors
When trying to come up with your core values, try to think objectively about the expectations and needs of your target demographic while looking into how your competitors are already trying to offer solutions to those needs, expectations, and problems. You might need professional help with this.
For instance, if you run a healthcare business, consider partnering with firms like Care Marketing services. They can do the necessary research and develop hard-hitting strategies to achieve your goals and speak to your target audience. Once you have a thorough knowledge of your customers and competitors, you will now have the leverage to identify what your customers already believe and value. You can now draw up some core values that are aligned with what matters to them.
Use proper and clear language
As you draft your core values, here are some tips to ensure that the language is optimal for clearly and articulately sending your message across:
- Maximize action words. Remember that more core values are more than just lip service; it’s all about encouraging yourself and your employees to live out those values daily. Don’t just use flowery nouns like “integrity,” “diversity,” and “innovation.” Use words that inspire action, like “strive,” “respect,” and “recognize.”
- Avoid jargon. Make sure you use vernacular language that people from all walks of life can understand. Use words that mirror how everyday people talk, especially those who are members of your company. Short but clear statements are also more likely to trigger a response to your audience.
- Make your set of core values unique to your brand. While so many companies and businesses are being launched every year, every business and brand is still different, and the language you use should reflect that differentiation. Your core values should reflect your brand’s DNA.
Examples to follow
If you need a more concrete model to follow, here are some brands with killer core values to inspire you:
- When Apple found itself struggling to earn its share of its demographic, the brand came up with the “Think Different” campaign to clarify to its audience, shareholders, and employees just what their core values are. It showed the brand’s commitment to making products of the highest quality while still keeping them simple for mass use.
- There’s a reason Lego is perhaps the most iconic toy in the world. They centered their values around fun, creativity, and imagination—providing generations of kids with the opportunity to value learning through their excellent products and excellent customer service.
Starting a business is so much more than just making a profit; it’s all about building something of value. Brainstorm with your team, look into your own values, and ask yourselves what foundation you want to build your empire upon.