In business, where image is super important, establishing a strong brand identity is crucial for business success, especially for a small business. One key aspect often overlooked is identifying and defining your brand values. The following 8 steps will provide you with effective techniques to find and use the authentic values that will resonate with your audience and increase brand loyalty. You can (and should) use them when you start a business, but also if you want to further develop your existing business.
1. Think About Your Purpose
Your brand values should align with the core purpose of your business. Reflect on why your business exists beyond making profits. Consider the problems you solve, the needs you fulfill, and the impact you want to create. Your purpose serves as the foundation for your values, giving them depth and authenticity.
2. Analyze Your Business Culture
Look at the culture of your business and examine it. What principles and beliefs guide your and your team's actions and decision-making? Identify the values that are already implemented in your business culture and check if you want to keep them. These existing values can serve as a starting point for crafting your brand values, ensuring alignment between internal and external perceptions.
3. Listen To Input From Employees, Peers, and Colleagues
Engage the people around you in the process of identifying brand values. They can provide valuable insights into the values that are already actively demonstrated with your current business base and resources. Conduct surveys, interviews, or workshops to gather their perspectives, while maintaining a sense of ownership and commitment to the identified values.
4. Analyze Customer Feedback
Your customers are a valuable source of information when it comes to understanding your brand. Analyze customer feedback, reviews, and testimonials to identify recurring themes and sentiments. What aspects of your business do they appreciate the most? The values that resonate with your customers should be reflected in your brand values, creating a connection that goes beyond transactions. Try to have a focus group with them, because if you plan it well and ask the right questions, the amount of information you’ll get can change the future of your business for the better.
5. Evaluate Competitors’ Values
Analyze the values of your competitors to identify white spaces and areas where you can differentiate your brand. Understanding what values are already associated with similar businesses in your industry can help you carve out a unique identity. Using business differentiation wisely when creating your brand values sets you apart and attracts customers who align with your distinctive principles.
6. Connect with Your Audience
Building a successful brand involves establishing a genuine connection with your target audience. Conduct market research to understand the values that matter to your customers. This insight allows you to tailor your brand values to align with the aspirations and preferences of your audience, creating a more meaningful and enduring connection. If you want to know how, read this article about the customer journey.
7. Prioritize Authenticity Over Trends
While it's essential to stay relevant, it's equally important to prioritize authenticity over temporary trends. Identify values that are timeless and resonate with the core identity of your business. Authenticity builds trust, and genuine brand values create a lasting impression, fostering loyalty among customers who appreciate your commitment to principles that withstand the test of time.
8. Align With Your Brand’s Personality
Consider the personality of your brand when defining values. If your brand is playful and innovative, your values should reflect creativity and a willingness to take risks. Ensure that your brand values align with the overall personality you want to convey. Consistency in messaging and behaviour strengthens your brand identity and fosters a more cohesive brand experience.
Sometimes, I ask clients to write a social dating profile for their business when we create the brand values list. You’d be amazed how difficult but productive it is!
Key Takeaway: Identifying your real brand values is a strategic process that needs to be done when you start a business or want to make an existing business more profitable. It doesn’t matter if you start a business in British Columbia,Canada, or Europe. Identifying your values is where you start.
Oh, and I almost forgot. How many values? There is no specific number, but if you want to create a list that you can actually implement, keep it under 7, while 5 is the optimal in my opinion.