If you’re an entrepreneur ready to grow your small business, the chances are that at some point you’ll have asked yourself: what does my company stand for? What’s important to us? What do we want to be known for? These questions go beyond the service or product you want to sell, to how your entire brand is perceived by everyone who comes into contact with it.
1. Define how you want others to perceive you.
So be ready to do some work on defining exactly what you want your values to be. This may not be what they are today, but we’ll come to that later. You’ll want your values to define you in a few short words.
Some organizations, such as Netflix, have a long list of brand values: judgment, communication, impact, curiosity, innovation, inclusion, courage, passion, integrity, selflessness. Others, such as Tesla, focus on three or four, including powerful statements such as: ’We do not cut corners, and we do not settle.’
What these different approaches have in common is that they want to be associated with these values in the minds (and even hearts) of every stakeholder. Defining your values is a team effort, guided by your vision, so be prepared to invest whatever time and effort needed. If you’re not sure how to begin, digital marketing agencies are the experts when it comes to helping companies define their brand and ensuring they’re aligned with all your business goals.
2. Everything comes back to your values
Once you’ve decided on your values, the next step is to organize every activity and process in your business to support them. If one of your values is innovation – how do you prioritize that? How do you recognize employees who demonstrate innovative thinking? How do you respond to experiments that, maybe, fail? If you claim that teamwork is a value- how is this communicated? Do you reward individual superstars or team players?
Values should be a topic of conversation at every meeting, not just a list on a poster or in the employee handbook.
3. Communicate your promise
Once you’ve made your values living inside the organization, it’s time to communicate them externally. Digital marketing agencies are experts in ensuring that you’re sending a consistent message that is aligned with your values.
4. Tell engaging stories
As humans, we’re hard-wired to love stories. Go beyond the expected list of values, and make them come alive by telling stories that illustrate what they actually mean in practice. There are so many channels you can use to do this, both inside the company, and externally: social media posts, blogs, webinars, award ceremonies. There’s no better way to communicate what your brand stands for and keep your stakeholders engaged with your values.
5. Be consistent
The final piece of the ‘brand values’ puzzle is consistency. The old saying that ‘People may not believe what you say, but they’ll always believe what you do’ should guide your approach. Let every decision you make and every action you take pass the ‘Does it fit with our values’ test, and your brand will stay alive to define your identity in the eyes of every stakeholder.