Values: The Intersection of Culture and Branding
Back in April, we discussed a few tips on how to boost your brand, one of them including visiting your values.
Today, we are going to explore the concept of values on a much deeper level: what are they, why they matter, how to create them, and why we consider them a significant part of the branding process. Many organizations are guilty of stuffing their handbooks and homepages full of words like integrity, respect, and communication. But in reality, they haven’t taken the time dig deep and really look at who their organization is. When we develop communication strategies for our clients, it’s more than just fluffy words and fun times. Our goal is to ensure that your core values align with your organization, and allow your employees to fully and intentionally live your brand.
What are core values?
Your values are the roadmap for your organization. They guide how you make decisions, solve problems, and interact with one another. There are many values that all good businesses should have, things like honesty, transparency, respect, ethics, and so on. But those are no-brainers and reflect the most basic expectations. Your core values, however, are ones that are completely unique to your organization. They should reflect the specific individuals you employ and set the standard for defining and growing your culture. They are the criteria upon which you should hire, fire, and evaluate your employees. With core values in place, you can design a culture that is sustainable, cohesive, and intentional.
Why do they matter?
Intentional core values create community. When everyone in the organization is led by the same four to six guiding principles, your culture strengthens. When core values are used appropriately, they are found in every aspect of your organization. From the people you hire to the way that you interact with clients and employees, your values can be seen consistently across the organization in multiple ways. They lay the foundation for your organization, help you make decisions on a daily basis, and cultivate a unified culture.
How do I create really awesome ones?
To create core values, we like to use the process that Gino Wickman recommends in the book Traction. Think of the people in your organization that rock. They mesh with your culture, align with your vision, and are incredible at what they do. Now thinking of those individuals, create a list of characteristics and qualities that those individuals have. With those in hand, you can narrow it down to the values that uniquely represent your organization and bring you the most opportunity for success.
And how do they relate to branding?
Ahh, our favorite question. When it comes to creating core values, these are the foundational elements that allow you to truly live your brand. Your brand isn't the sum of all the colors, logos, and typesets found in your brand guide. It’s the key characteristics and qualities of your values that form the personality of your brand.
From the very foundation of your organization, everyone should make an ongoing effort to contribute to the culture. What your brand stands for and how each employee brings that to life is where core values and culture align. Our advice? Lead by example. Exhibit the core values you set in place and others will follow suit, in turn making your workplace more enjoyable and productive, and your brand more authentic and consistent.
Looking for branding and communication strategy services? You're in luck. UNANIMOUS is a Lincoln, Nebraska based agency that assists clients with branding, marketing, and web design. With over 350 active clients across 15 states, the agency is known for its collaborative style and prides itself on rhyme, reason, and results. If you’re ready to create a brand that matches your organization's true identity, contact Rachel at Rachel@BeUNANIMOUS.com today.