Your brand has a logo, a beautiful colour palette, fonts, photos, tagline, social media images, and then some. It is honed to perfection, all pieces in the place. Yet still, it's not quite standing out. Something is missing. You try to look into other brands, to find out what it is that yours is lacking. Is it the outpouring excitement of that artist and Internet entrepreneur? Is it the confident I-know-what-I'm-doing of that social media strategist? Is it the warm, safe, motherly style of that career coach?
Yes, excitement in what you do is good. Confidence, you do need that. And you could benefit of being approachable. However, none of those things are the essence of a successful brand.
There's that other level, level of having an undeniable presence. Those people (and businesses) who really stand out and show up, whose presence is clear and consistent, they are on that level. They can sell sand in a desert. It's like a religion, and you are a believer.
The outpouring excitement, the almost annoying confidence, and the motherly warmth are all presentations of what makes a brand so undeniable and successful. You don't have to be any of those things to have that undeniable presence. As a matter of a fact, if those things aren't true to you and your business, you are better off not trying to pretend them. Keeping up the faked presence, and not getting caught from faking it, takes too much of your effort and energy.
Excitement, confidence, warmth, they are amongst the values of some people and their businesses. Your values could be something different.
Find your core values
A strong business and brand has clear and concise core values. They define the moral code of your brand. You are best known for what you stand for, and for standing your ground. The most coherent principles also stir up emotions. An emotional response is what makes a presence undeniable. It can be your own emotional response, as well as that of your clients and other interest group members.
Figuring out the core values of your brand can feel overwhelming. It's okay. If you find your moral code too easily, it isn't really worth much.
Begin with finding your own principles. You are your business, you are your brand. Thus your values are the centre of the values of your brand. If you are a feminist, then your brand follows feminist ideals. If you believe in trustworthiness, then your brand thrives to be trusted. Your brand can't follow principles you don't follow. Your brand has to have the same values as you do. Otherwise your brand will show up as fake and pretentious.
- Why do you do what you do?
- What makes your work worth your time and effort?
- Who do you admire and why?
- Where do you find inspiration and motivation?
- What do you believe in?
- What is true and important to you?
- Who and what kind of a person do you thrive to be?
- What are your priorities in life and in business?
Make a long list of your values by answering to those questions. List all your values, your principles and rank them by their importance. Be fair and honest. Do you value wealth and luxury? Then don't claim to value plain simplicity. Do you value quiet calmness? Don't insist to value unstoppable, loud enthusiasm. Whatever are your values, list them and rank them.
Find the 3 to 6 most important values from that list. Those are your core values. See if and how they fit in with your business and brand. Are they in align with what your business is about? Do they fit in with what you do?
Figuring out which values you follow and believe in is a good start. Next step is communicating the values.
Communicating the values is important for many reasons. It helps you to keep following them and not straying off your chosen path. And it helps your interest group members to understand what your brand is about. It gives them an idea if working with you, or buying your products or services is beneficial for them. You don't want just anyone becoming your client or collaborator. You want the right people. Communicating your core values lets the right people to find and notice you.
Create a value statement
A value statement, sometimes known as mission statement or purpose statement, is a declaration of the values, beliefs and priorities of your business or brand. It reminds you, your collaborators and employees about what is important and what you thrive for. A value statement also helps you to identify and connect with your ideal clients. Additionally it can work as a tagline or slogan in your marketing.
At its most simplest form a value statement can be a list of your core values. Or it can be one to two sentences about the purpose and principles of your business. A value statement is a sort of a motto of your brand. It shows what your brand is about
Place your value statement prominently on your website. Figure out a way to show it in your brick and mortar too. Create an image which features it and share on Instagram and Pinterest. Add it to your social media bios. Write a blog post about how you came with your value statement. Make it an important part of your brand.
Display your core values
While you can communicate your core values in many ways, showing them is important. Showing includes visual parts of your brand. With a good brand designer, you can show your values in the logo and colours and fonts of your brand. Though, it's really important to remember that meaning of colours or symbols isn't set to stone. We experience those things in different ways. In any case, they can be used to amplify the understanding of your values.
Moreover you can display your core values by living, breathing and working by them. You show them in the language you use, the action you take, the people you work with. Trustworthiness is displayed by being trustworthy. Creativity is displayed by being creative. Empathy is displayed by being empathetic.
For your values include being ecological, you must make ecological choices for your business. That could mean using eco friendly materials, recycling, going paperless and more. Just saying your business is ecological, or using green colour in your branding won't do. Your business must be ecological. This applies to any other values as well.
Your brand mustn't only talk about core values, but live and breathe by them.
Well established core values are the key of a successful brand. They set a business apart and give a person the important depth. The core values of your business must be in line with your personal values for the sake of authenticity.
Core values include the principles and priorities of your business and brand, and they can be seen as a moral code. They convey your purpose and why your business is. Clearly set values help you identify and communicate with your ideal clients.
When you have figured out your core values, they must be communicated prominently. There are different ways to communicate your core values, including a value statement and displaying them.
Which are the core values of your brand? Do you have a value statement? How do you display your values?