As a business owner, you have a lot on your plate. When you’re developing and running a company, it’s incredibly easy to get lost in your vision without taking the time to properly brand your company. Most small businesses just start with a company name and logo then begin offering their services. But statistics show that having a strong, clear, and concise brand foundation leads to higher ROI and customer loyalty. Without having a clear brand message, companies waste their marketing dollars.
One component to a solid brand is a list of company core values. Core values promote a healthy company culture by aligning your team with your mission and brand purpose. Still, figuring out your core values can be confusing.
What are company values, and why do they matter?
Before we get into the 3 steps, let’s define exactly what core values are and why they’re important.
Your values drive how you connect with your customers, what emotions you want your customer to feel each time they interact with your brand, and how you respond to negative customer feedback. In this digital age, the consumer is more inclined to be loyal to brands that know who they are.
Every successful company has strong values – here are a few examples.
Adidas has its values listed as nouns followed by explanations.
- Performance: Sport is the foundation for all we do and executional excellence is a core value of our Group.
- Passion: Passion is at the heart of our company. We are continuously moving forward, innovating, and improving.
- Integrity: We are honest, open, ethical, and fair. People trust us to adhere to our word.
- Diversity: We know it takes people with different ideas, strengths, interests, and cultural backgrounds to make our company succeed. We encourage healthy debate and differences of opinion.
Facebook is another great example, using verbs to inspire action.
- Focus on impact
- Move fast
- Be bold
- Be open
- Build social value
As we saw with the examples of Adidas and Facebook above, there are many formats your values can be written in; you’ll have to play around to see which format feels authentic for your company.
Now, let’s dive into the 3 steps you need to take to develop your company’s core values.
How to develop your company values
1. Your personal values can be your company values
Now that you understand what your values might look like, you can begin your exploration by answering the following questions:
- “Why did you start this business?”
- “Who are you trying to help?”
- “How would you want your team to approach challenges?”
Once you identify these answers, you can begin the deep dive to further define your findings.
2. Values are found, not invented
Many business owners make the mistake of trying to guess what their company values are instead of taking a deep dive to find them. The reason inventing values doesn’t work is that it isn’t authentic. When you take a deep dive to find your values, it becomes a process of revealing what is true for you.
We recommend doing a values exercise among the senior leaders of the company as part of your deep dive. Additionally, you can begin thinking about what you appreciate in your business team members. Do they exhibit any actions or qualities that you find valuable? If so, add these qualities to your list.
Once you have your list, meet with your team to discuss what everyone has come up with so far. Collaborating will not only help you further refine your values, but it will extend your branding to each of your team members. With the right alignment of values, your team members can become your brand ambassadors, sharing the company message through everything they do.
3. Start big, then condense
Once your team has come up with values, it’s time to discuss and condense.
As you look over the values, talk with your team about which ring truest to your brand. Combine values that seem to be similar and try to condense the list to no more than 5 main values.
Core values dictate every business action you take. While you can have more or less than 5, not everyone your team discovers will be part of your core list. That doesn’t mean these aren’t still important to your company, they just aren’t as forward-facing as your core values.
You will need to try out your new values for a few weeks to see if they are present in everything your team does on a daily basis.
When you land on the final list, display them in your office, create a brand guide that includes these core values, and possibly even create a company t-shirt with your favorite values. Then, if you like, you can proudly post them on your website and social media accounts to share them with the world!
Your core values are meant to dictate every part of your organization. From the people you hire and work with to the difficult choices you have to make when facing a customer-related issue. Your brand should be centered around your core values. And if it isn’t, you need to take a look at your core values again because the values you landed on aren’t your true values.
As an example, here are our company values.
TruBrand’s Core Values;
- Do good: impact lives in a positive way
- Be a valuable force: deliver value with every action
- Stay true: commit to goals and intentions
- Build relationships: put people first
- Drive results: deliver success
- Embrace teamwork: collaboration to create excellence
Once you know your values, you can better align every part of your company to put you above the competition. Use it to your advantage!
Looking for a brand-driven team to help take your business to the next level? We’re here for you.