Brand identity is a complex subject.
It all seems to center around the customer, and for good reason. Most of your attention should be spent telling a story that draws your customer into what your brand is all about. As business owners, it isn’t just “good” to think about your clients’ problems, it is a necessary consideration if you want to stay ahead of the competition!
But there is a trap here, and it’s one that leaves many business owners wondering what happened to their brand!
When you forget to incorporate your core values into your brand, your business is in danger of turning into a whole different beast once you step away and become the visionary.
Here’s an example:
A business owner starts a coffee company, not only because she likes coffee but also because she believes in spreading positivity and kindness through customer interactions. When she is working in her coffee shop, she gets five star reviews! Her business earns a reputation for being super customer friendly.
As her business grows, she steps away from her coffee shop and starts managing the bigger picture. The change doesn’t happen over night, but slowly, she begins to get customer complaints. Her business is losing traction. Customers are noticing that the service isn’t what it used to be. Something has changed.
BEFORE YOU STEP AWAY FROM YOUR BUSINESS, it’s important to create a brand identity that includes your core values.
Core values represent your big WHY, your higher vision for your business, and the ethical framework you use to guide your brand’s trajectory.
When you embed these core values throughout your business and instill them in the hearts and minds of your team members, you can safely step back from your business, knowing that it will be run the way you would run it yourself.
Here’s how to do it:
- Think and reflect.
- What values are at the heart of your services and client interactions? What do you return to again and again when making big decisions for your business?
- Feel and meditate.
- It’s amazing what five minutes of quiet focus can do! Take some time alone to meditate on the heart of your brand. See what comes to mind!
- Write it all down.
- There are no wrong answers here. Write down all the core values you thought of during your reflection stage.
- Ask your team.
- Call your managers into a meeting and invite them to share their ideas for what your brand should stand for moving forward.
- Review your current materials.
- As a last measure, review your current material. Usually your core values are hidden in your mission statement, elevator pitch, and training manuals.
- Narrow down your list.
- Decide which 3-5 words best capture your brand’s personality. I prefer to cap mine at five, and I would not recommend more than seven.
- Write one or two sentences explaining what each core value means to you.
- To really capture your meaning, fewer words are better. The right words are powerful, and too many words reduce impact.
- Create a branded graphic that showcases your core values.
- I recommend hiring a graphic designer for this step. If you don’t have one in your contact list, you can always find contractors on Fiverr or Upwork.
- Incorporate your core values into your business.
- Add them to your new hire training, review them at team meetings, share them in your client newsletters, and post them in your office.
- Use them to catch you when you fall!
- The beauty of core values is that once they are on paper, you can always return to them. If you feel backed into a corner by an unexpected situation, you can revisit your core values to help guide your decision. Your management team can do the same!
With your core values in place, you can step back confidently, knowing that your team members will keep the heart of your brand in the way you do business.
Ready to create your core values?? Click here to get my 15 Minute Core Values Magic Worksheet!