Revisiting Core Values as a Part
of Brand Work
Let’s talk about core values. Specifically, let’s talk about core values in the context of brand. Frequently, when we go in and we work with organizations on either building a new brand or refining one, revisiting one that’s a storied brand over time. Part of that process is going to be revisiting those core values. And here’s why.
If you think about the external side of your brand, right, the salespeople that are representing you in the marketplace, the people who are doing the marketing, who are fulfilling the customer service side of your business, all of them are the front end, the leading edge, the representation of your brand in the marketplace.
And at the end of the day, all those people need to be representative of what the purpose and values of your brand are.
If you have a brand that is really strong in its foundation, that is likely laddered down to a real brand purpose, what you want to achieve in the marketplace. This isn’t something like what you do for customers. It’s deeper than that.
And alongside that brand purpose are a set of core values that are representative of what you want to do, how you want to show up, and how you want your people to show up as representatives of your brand.
With that in mind, here’s a few places where that can go wrong.
One thing that we have frequently experienced is organizations do have a set of core values already in place, but those core values lack a lot of specificity. Let’s say you have some core values, such as transparency, trust, and you might even have something around hard work and grit.
The problem with that is, while you, as the individual or group of individuals who created those values, might understand the intent because of the simplicity and the lack of context, the more people you bring into the fold, be it internal stakeholders, new hires, or external, they’re going to have a lot of room for interpretation of those values. So while one of the things we might do is go in and look at your values, or let’s say you’re doing some brand work on your own, you might not need to change your values, but you might need to add more context.
What does trust mean? What does transparency mean to you?
Think about how you can refine those values, change the language, and add language to make sure that it’s easily understandable to every new stakeholder that needs to embody those values as they’re going into the marketplace.
Another question might be, Yes, we are refining our brand, but we really like our values. Let’s say you’re a storied manufacturing company that’s been in business for 100 years and those values have been in place. That’s great. And when you go and you do some brand work, you might not need to completely blow up the values that you have today, but you might need to tweak them.
You know, in that previous example, that was adding context, but maybe you need to do some slight evolution. Maybe you should lose one and add another. It’s not that you necessarily need to completely redo your values when you redo your brand, but there’s likely some relationship and evolution being needed in one and evolution being needed in the other.
As a growth-minded business, you are likely looking to grow and a part of growth and taking your business to new heights is an evolution. So the same way that your business is evolving, let’s say that your business model itself changes.
You’re adding new product offerings, you’re adding new people to the leadership team, you’re acquiring other brands.
There’s lots of change here, well a likely correlation there is that there’s going to be some change or evolution in how the values that you have are showing up. It doesn’t mean that they aren’t true anymore, but it might mean that again, to take in the full context of your evolving brand, the values need to evolve as well.
Now the benefit is once you have gone through revisiting these values and they’re really strong, they’re really aligned and they’re really clear, what you’re doing is enabling all the people in your organization to then be the best ambassadors of your brand in the marketplace.
So not only will it pay dividends in a clarity in hiring, clarity in retention and those types of decisions, but it will also make sure that your prospects and your customers are getting the best version of your company, because that is all rooted in purpose and it’s rooted in really strong, clear values.
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