How to discover + define your brand values- (and why it matters)

“It’s the job of any business owner to be clear about the company’s non-negotiable core values. They’re the riverbanks that help guide us as we refine and improve on performance and excellence. A lack of riverbanks creates estuaries and cloudy waters that are confusing to navigate. I want a crystal-clear, swiftly flowing stream.”

– Danny Meyer

It’s hard to believe that we’re already standing at the starting gates of Q2 for 2019, isn’t it? It seems like just yesterday we were celebrating 2018’s successes while setting our sights on the intentions of 2019. That means now is the perfect time to check in on the state of your state and evaluate where your brand is in real time.

We can be all too guilty of waiting until the calendar year is over and looking back on what was and “problem-solving” after. How much more effective do you imagine your strategies would be if you shifted and course corrected when the moment was still ripe to effect change?

One of our favorite ways to check in is by coming back to our core values and asking where we are as a brand and a team in relation to those values. Wrapping up the first quarter of the year is the perfect time to return to these values that essentially act as both a filter for your brand and as a system of accountability and alignment.

If you don’t already have a set of clearly identified and uniquely defined values, now is the time to start getting clear. Here are some tips to get you started:

  1. Be who you are – When we talk about values, the MOST important factor is that they are authentic and real. This isn’t about declaring things that make us look good. Our values are about embodying the truth. You will feel it when you’ve got a value that is 100% true to your organization, and so will the people you’re here to empower.
  2. Forget about looking good – It can be tempting to make declarations of what you think your brand “should” be or what “looks” good. The pitfall here is that you can’t be held accountable and keep your word around something that isn’t authentic to you. “Integrity” might sound like something you SHOULD value, but maybe it’s not AS important to or true for your brand as “Creativity.” Remember that all the things you want to work towards improving can and should be alive in your strategies and goals.
  3. Define what they mean in your own words – Forming your own unique, brand-specific definitions of your values is what really activates them. You could compare five companies whom all have “creativity” in their Core Values, but it would represent something unique to each one. Using your own brand language to give life to these concepts is what moves them from the two-dimensional, into the three-dimensional world and makes them yours.
  4. Check in quarterly – Use your values as a way to check your alignment. The end of every quarter is the perfect time to look at what is and is not alive in your brand right now as it relates to the values you declare. Follow the path of your values back home when you get off track.

Keep in mind that as your organization evolves, so too will your values. If something doesn’t resonate anymore, great! Change it up and get curious about what does. Your values should evolve and transform as your brand does. It’s a sign that you’re actively listening and committed to growth.

So as Q1 comes to a close, take some time with your team to connect with your values and get clear on your goals and intentions as you move into Q2 informed and empowered.

Need some core value ideas? Not sure where to begin? Get empowered here.