Your brand values can be guiding principles for your business, they are the defining beliefs that support the way your business works, and they'll go a long way to helping you attract your ideal customers.
Related post: 3 reasons why you should define your ideal customer
In your clients eyes, your values represent a promise you make to them about how your business will conduct itself and they'll help you stand out and differentiate yourself from your competition.
Why brand values are important
As consumers we don't simply look at the option that is the cheapest when making decisions about which brand to buy from. There are often many different businesses offering similar products and services and the way we choose is to look at who shares the same values as us.
For example, as a person who hates animal cruelty you're likely to choose a cosmetics brand that doesn't test its products on animals over one that does.
Your brand values help you build trust with your customer - if you reliably and consistently uphold your brand values with everything you do you'll earn their confidence easily.
They also give you something to market over and above the tangible features of your product or service. Purchases are often made based on gut reaction and emotion, so the most compelling way to market your business is to link your brand values to how your product will help your customer and how it will make them feel.
For example, if brand gives a percentage of money to a charity that pays to send young girls in developing countries to school, that will build trust and cause an emotional reaction for a customer that cares deeply about that particular subject.
They're so much more likely to buy from the brand that aligns with their beliefs that every young girl should have access to education over another brand that offers a similar product but no warm fuzzy feeling that they are contributing to a powerful good cause.
Do you begin to see how defining a set of brand values can differentiate you from your competition massively? These values can be unique selling points for your business.
A business that offers the 'same' service as you can soon become not much of a competitor at all when you know exactly what you value as a brand and can communicate that to your customer effectively.
How to define your brand values
Your brand values should be built on authenticity. They should be principles and genuine beliefs that you already hold as a person and should not just be chosen based on what is trendy at the time. Your customer will be able to see right through it if you choose values that aren't based on authenticity.
Start with single words.
You can start by listing out single words that resonate with you, like 'trust', 'reliability', 'sustainability'. These will all depend on you and your product or service.
Ask yourself some open ended questions like:
What does my business stand for?
What things do I consider to be important in life?
What do I believe in?
What subjects do I have a passionate opinion on?
Why did I create my business?
Can you think of any guiding principles that are already infused into the way you run your business, or the content you share on social media or your blog?
Are there any key themes that come up with these questions? Which words most deeply resonate with you? Take some time with this as you don't want to rush the process and need to change your values in the near future.
Expand on your words
You'll want to pick 3 or 4 words that really resonate with you to expand into a full sentence for each. Consider how you can be specific within your industry and think about what kind of experience you want your customer to have with your business.
For example, for my brand one of my words would be 'meaningful'. I would expand that word into the following sentence:
"I create brand visuals filled with meaning and magic."
This value would resonate with people who don't just want a cookie-cutter logo design with no thought behind it. It will attract those businesses who have a real story behind their brand and want to infuse that magic into their brand design.
Another value of mine is 'thoughtful'. You might think this word sounds very similar to meaningful, and it can mean that. However I can also expand it into the following sentence.
"I promise to be thoughtful and intentional with every design decision I make."
Your sentences don't need to be long, as long as they illustrate what could be a point of difference for your business they will be effective in conveying the message to your customer.
If you're struggling you can try to think about the negatives of your particular industry, what are the hang ups or difficulties that people might have when trying to find or use a product or service like yours? Maybe your business is the antidote to those problems, or maybe you can find a way to overcome those hang ups and build one of your values around that.
Once you have your brand values defined you need to get them out there!
Weave them into the copy on your services page or your product descriptions.
List them on your 'About me' page.
Talk about them on social media.
Mention them when you're telling people about your business.
Please note that just because you wrote those sentences earlier in this blog post it doesn't mean that's the only way you can word those values.
Write about them in any way that fits with the context, those sentences were really to get you thinking about how those words you chose relate very specifically to your business.
You could even have little graphics made to illustrate your values, for example an aromatherapy business might have a little icon created to illustrate the point that they only use 100% organic essential oils in their products.
Weave your values into anything and everything you do.
I make sure that I talk about all the meaning and thought behind the brand designs I create on my instagram account and blog. I don't just share an image of the logo and be done with it, I write about the thought process behind the design and why I made the decisions I did.
This is a major way that I attract people who want their brand to have the same level of meaning and thought behind it. If I didn't tell my followers about all of that how would they know that I'm not just the same as the next graphic designer?
Make sure your customers and followers know about these things that make your business so unique!
If you're looking to brand or rebrand your business I'd love to hear from you! Send me a message here.
If you're not quite ready to dive into professional branding, you can download my FREE branding guide - The Blossoming Brand Blueprint. Download it here.