When I started my business I wanted to show that marketing could be done differently. That it could be authentic, relationship centred, based on engagement and interaction. I wanted to be transparent and for the business to be full of who I was.
Those are my values, an internal barometer to which I measure all business decisions. When I was deciding whether to delete my Pinterest boards, I went back to my values. Diversifying into teaching online classes? I went back to my values to create a course that I knew in my heart was the right thing, instead of what was expected of me. Whatever the business decision, I want it to be in line with what I personally believe to be right for me at that time.
Knowing what my values are have meant that I’m not swayed by what my competitors are doing. I can use my own voice and put my heart into my business without feeling pressure to be or do something different.
Customers will seek out people that have similar values to them. It’s becoming increasingly common to connect with a business first before making a purchase. The ‘about’ page on a website is one of the most visited pages for a reason. People want to know what you and your business stands for. The words you use and your brand messaging should communicate this consistently and authentically.
Your business values are not something you can copy from someone else or follow from a blueprint. The values must mean something to you personally, deep down, or it will come across as contrived or artificial.
A great example of a business using values to guide them is The Green Gables. Owner, Gabrielle Treanor has strong ethical and green values which she highlights on her website. She says it was natural to build a business on her personal values. It has also helped her to diversify into other products whilst keeping it authentic to her brand.
“Strong values can definitely be a driving force. I don’t just want to make and sell pretty looking stationery, I want to give consumers the option to buy responsibly produced stationery that shows there’s a market for recycling paper and gives them a great looking product without them compromising on quality or price. This ‘mission’ spurs me on and keeps me motivated.” – Gabrielle, The Green Gables.
So how can you identify your brand values?
Start with you.
What personal values do you hold at your core? What is important to you? Use these core values to build the foundation of your brand.
What is your personal mission for your business?
Why do you want to do what you do? Who are you trying to help and why?
How do you want your audience to perceive your business?
What are the most important parts of your story that you want to share with them? Show them that you fit into their lives and that you have a similar value system.
Wherever you decide to grow your business, these values should stay at the center of everything you do.
Do you have values that guide your business? How do you communicate them to your customers?