Why are brand values important and why do you need to know yours?
Why are brand values important? Well, we all know people connect with people, right? Brand values humanise your business and they're the foundation which dictates how your business communicates, where it's headed, and how it looks. (Concerned about how your business looks? My Visual Content Audit will help.)
Brand values are like a person's personality traits which inform everything from what that person wears to how they speak to how they're perceived by those who encounter them.
You need to focus on building an emotional connection with your ideal clients - an experience for your audience, and a brilliant way to do this is to establish common interests based on your beliefs and values.
There are no right or wrong brand values
Just try and pick three or four brand values from my list below which resonate with you most and speak to the way you solve problems for your clients.
If you know your beliefs and values right from the start and always keep them at the forefront of your mind when you're speaking to your audience, whether that's in creating copy or creating brand images, you'll be so much more focused, and attracting the right people - YOUR people - will be so much easier.
It's pretty easy to spot a business or brand which isn't clear on their values because all their stuff looks like it's written and designed by a bunch of different people. There's a lack of cohesion pulling everything together.
Here (in completely random order!) are some brand valuesto get you started. Work backwards, crossing off the ones that really DON'T describe you and your business, until you're left with three or four words.
Then stick these words on your wall or somewhere you can see them when you're creating content.
Brand values and characteristics - a list to get you started
Why do you need to start with this before jumping in and making sales pages, marketing funnels, a website, lead magnets etc?
Because if you haven't put a LOT of thought into what makes you different and stand out in a market where everyone can access similar services and products to yours, you'll blend in with everyone else.
But by identifying your brand values and sticking to them in your copy and content everywhere your ideal clients encounter you and your business, you’re making the connection process easier.
Yes you'll repel a lot of people. If your business's brand values are edgy, sarcastic, and extroverted, chances are a potential client who's spiritual, thoughtful, and humble would give you a wide berth - and that's absolutely fine.
But all those other potential clients who are edgy, sarcastic, and extroverted themselves who come across your business online? They'll find your business irresistible and will be dying to find out more about you.
After all, if you're edgy, sarcastic, and extroverted, wouldn't you prefer to work with people more similar to you and who "get" you anyway?
Brand values are vital to help people understand exactly who you are, where you fit into your marketplace, and what makes you different from all the others who do what you do.
Brand values: future-proofing
Even if you're selling something truly unique right now, how long's it going to be until someone else starts offering what you do?
The best way to future-proof against this is to bring the one thing to the table that NOBODY can emulate, and that's YOU. You are your unique competitive advantage.
Your brand isn't just your logo, your colours, your design ... Your brand is your solution to the problems your ideal client have, built on your purpose, all promoted in your unique messaging and voice.
So get clear on which of these values describe your brand and try to stick to them as much as possible in everything your business does and says - the more consistent you are with this, the more the right people will enjoy following you, then eventually they'll book you or buy from you.
My brand values
Looking at my own brand values, I reckon "autonomy" is probably the word I keep coming back to most.
Because quite frankly, the STILL huge gender pay gap takes the utter piss.
Because I believe that when more women have autonomy in their lives, including practical and financial control of themselves and what they do, the world will be a better place.
As a branding photographer I play a part in this as I help female entrepreneurs in Scotland achieve success.
You can read more about why I'm a personal branding photographer - does any of resonate with you?
If "autonomy" is one of my primary brand values, the sentiment I keep coming back to is "Don't be a dick."
I could word it more politely, perhaps. But this is the phrase that I hear in my head, so why change it?
And I don't just mean not being a dick to others. Don't be a dick to yourself either. Or allow others to be one to you. There's a pretty high chance you don't actually deserve it.
I think this is a GREAT rule to live by! What do you reckon?
Of course, I've got more brand values too. In no particular order, they are:
I get to meet lots of new people and find out who they are, what they do, how they do it, who they do it for, and why they do it.
And I don't even get told off for being nosy!
This is a dream job for me.
Then once I know all that stuff about my clients, I then get curious about how I can best help them.
How to get all these whos, whats, hows, and whys translated into a collection of business portraits which will help them sell?
You've slaved your guts out over your business and you're probably juggling all sorts of other stuff too.
You're BRILLIANT at what you do, but are you shouting about it loudly enough? Are you SEEN? Are you RECOGNISED for the value you bring?
My brand photography makes female founders proud to show off their businesses so the world can see and recognise their talents.
I believe in you, and I want to help others do so too.
If I don't know what I'm doing, I can't help you properly.
Knowing stuff is dead important to me.
I LOVE learning, and I love constantly learning new ways to up my own game and help folks up theirs.
Then I can apply my knowledge of branding and imagery to my new-found knowledge of your business.
I can geek out about this stuff ad infinitum, believe me.
I just want to know ALL THE THINGS. Preferrably right now if that's okay.
Oh I do love me a good spreadsheet!
Keeping things orderly is really important to me in life as a whole, as well as in my business.
The back end of my business is run on systems on processes which I loved creating and I adore tinkering with.
The French culinary expression "mise en place", or "everything in its place" is what I aspire to in business as it just makes everything so much easier ... I don't always manage, but I like trying!
Have you identified YOUR brand values? If you're a service-based small business it's very likely they're based on your own personal values.
I'd love to know what yours are - let me know?