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BRAND VALUES: what are they and how do you create yours?

1 Dec 2021

If you’re busy building a new brand or going through the rebranding process, you’ve probably heard the term ‘brand values’ knocking around. Now if you’re new to it all, you may be asking yourself what brand values actually are and whether you even need them. 

Well, if you want to build an authentic brand that people love, you really do. 

But it can feel overwhelming, deciding on your brand values, and so I’m going to share some useful tips on how to create yours, so they feel fully aligned with what your brand is all about. If you’re rebranding, you may find this useful as an evaluation exercise to see whether your values have changed since you started.

Before we do any of that, however, let’s dive into what brand values actually are.

WHAT ARE BRAND VALUES?

Your brand’s values help to create a clear purpose and vision for your business – they’re often used to make your mission statement. They help identify what you stand for. 

The easiest way to think of your brand values is to imagine your brand as a person. Its values are its personality, identity and behaviour. What does that person stand for and believe in? What would other people say about them in their absence? 

Think about a brand you particularly love – what are its values? How does it make you feel when you buy or work with them? What attracted you to them in the first place? 

Some of the world’s biggest brands spend a lot of time and money on establishing their values as they recognise their importance as guiding principles for the decisions they make. Take Google, for example, whose brand values include:

  • Focus on the user and all else will follow
  • It’s best to do one thing really, really well
  • Fast is better than slow

It keeps these at the forefront of the decisions it makes and no doubt helped them develop the world’s most popular search engine.

HOW TO CREATE YOUR BRAND VALUES 

Now, you’re not Google (and frankly, you might not want to be) but you can learn from the way big brands use their values to ensure customers know what to expect when they use the service/product they offer. 

So how do you create yours? The easiest place to start is with a list of adjectives to describe your business personality. You may feel as though its personality isn’t far removed from your own and that’s perfectly normal. 

You’ll probably also find you have some very generic terms on your list – and these are ones to try and avoid. Here are some of the most common:

  • Trustworthy
  • Warm
  • Friendly
  • Reliable

These should really be a given for any business, right? So why not dig a little deeper. What makes you stand out from other similar businesses? What words would you use to describe businesses you admire? It’s okay to magpie values – nothing is unique to one particular brand. And if you can’t think of single words, phrases work too – like with Google. Avoid over-complicated language – the simpler, the better.

Once you’ve got your list, pick out approximately 5 words/phrases you really like the sound of, that really resonate with your business identity. Write them down on post-its or pieces of card and stick them up in your workspace. Let them sit with you for a while – you may find you change your mind or adapt them slightly. 

USING YOUR BRAND VALUES

Once you’re happy with your brand values, you can start to use them in different ways in your business:

  • In the actions/behaviours your brand displays on a daily basis
  • To create your brand tone of voice document
  • On your social media and website – you can even talk about them directly and why they’re important to you
  • To create your brand’s mission statement

Creating your brand values may feel like a time-consuming process, but it’s a great way to build a business that customers or clients trust and enjoy working with – that all-important ‘know, like and trust’ factor. So grab that notebook and have a go!