Let’s talk about a key piece in your brand strategy framework that oftentimes gets overlooked by business owners.
The other weekend I had one of those glorious days where I parked myself on the couch, a glass of wine in hand, and enjoyed a full-on Netflix binge.
My show of choice? The Politician. An over-the-top, wildly fun satire on the world of politics, filled with insanely gorgeous clothes, hilariously complicated characters, and plenty of plot twists.
Don’t worry, you didn’t accidentally stumble onto a review of the show.
So why on Earth am I blabbing on about The Politician?
While I was watching, there was a quote that Gwyneth Paltrow, who plays the ultra-glamorous Georgina Hobart, said that pretty much stopped me in my tracks.
“I was a corked bottle floating in the sea, the tide pushing me wherever it wanted to. The note inside me was blank.”
I don’t want to sound dramatic…but I felt seen.
This line so perfectly articulated how I’ve often felt, and so many other entrepreneurs I’ve worked with often feel about their business.
How many times have you felt completely lost with no direction? Like you don’t know what your business stands for, which leaves you susceptible to being pulled where the tide takes you?
As an entrepreneur, you quickly learn that to be successful, you have to adapt to change and continually pivot your direction. Uncertainty comes with the territory.
But, even with the constant shifts and pushes and pulls, if you have a set of beliefs to help guide you, your route may still be windy, but you’ll always end up where you’re meant to be.
That’s why knowing what your brand values is essential if you want a strong brand strategy framework (which something tells me you do). Getting clear on your list of principles that steer your business and how you run it — from strategies to decisions — is what allows you to take risks and explore new avenues without losing sight of your end goal.
Let’s put this idea into practice
- You just got an offer to sell your products at a big-name retailer. But does this retailer abide by your commitment to sustainability?
- You’re thinking about offering an online course to your readers, but it’s about a topic you’ve never discussed on your platform before. Does this align with your belief in empowering others?
- The latest trendy social media platform just popped onto the scene, and you’re debating whether to start an account. Are you putting into practice your value of simplicity?
Get the picture?
Your values are the perfect gut-check to make sure your business is staying on the course you’ve laid out.
Having a defined set of core values is the gift that keeps on giving and can have a ripple effect across your business. Let’s take a look at some of the other benefits they provide.
Core Values contribute to a positive company culture
Your values set the tone and framework for your company culture. Even if you don’t have employees yet, it’s important to establish what you stand for from the get-go. Having a strong culture and set of values will not only help you attract and motivate employees, but it also has a significant impact on consumers. Your culture is essentially the personality of your brand, and is what connects with and establishes relationships with customers.
Core Values help your business grow in a sustainable, thoughtful way
Just like you rely on your personal values to guide how you evolve as a person, the same can be said of your business. Your values allow you to keep the bigger picture in mind as you expand. Having a set of values to lean on will also help you make choices that are smarter and less reactive. Additionally, your customers long for comfort, stability, and reliability. These key elements are essential for building brand trust. They want your values and promise to be consistent, not to change with trends over time. As the saying goes, “Consistency isn’t boring unless you make it boring.”
Core Values attract your ideal customers
Strong brand stories reveal a business’ uniqueness, values, and vulnerability. Consumers are increasingly more conscious of what brands stand for and gravitate towards companies that align with their values. Build a brand that’s clear on its values and you will attract the types of people who believe in what you’re doing and will be true brand supporters. But more on this in a bit.
Core Values can impact your bottom line
People are putting their money where their values lie. Having a charitable component can have a major impact on your profit. In a recent study, Mintel found that a company’s charitable giving affects 73% of Americans’ purchase decisions, and 50% of Americans say that would switch to a company that supports a cause they believe in.
One of the most successful brands to prove this is Toms. In just 13 years, the shoe brand is reportedly worth over $300 million and has helped over 94 million people through their One for One business model.
But a brand doesn’t have to have a charitable component to stand for something.
Simply weaving your values throughout your business can have a significant impact on the success of a brand.
In their 2018 Earned Brand study, Edelman found that consumers are just as likely to express purchase intent after seeing a values-led communication as they are after seeing a product-focused message.
As president and CEO of Edelman, Richard Edelman put it:
“This is the birth of Brand Democracy; as consumers are electing brands as their change agents. Brands are now being pushed to go beyond their classic business interests to become advocates. It’s a new relationship between company and consumer, where purchase is premised on the brand’s willingness to live its values, act with purpose, and if necessary, make the leap into activism.”
As a consumer yourself, you may not realize your favorite brands are, in fact, your favorite merely because of their values and what they stand for.
Ready to create your own set of core values for your brand?
My Core Values Clarity Guide will help you understand what kinds of values are important to you as a consumer and which align with the brand experience you are building as a business owner. You can download the guide here (and did I mention it’s free?):
What are your company’s core values? Share them below!