Today, we're working on how to create a set of brand values that builds company culture. We'll talk through why brand values are essential and share an activity to help you document your values and continue building a strong brand. Your brand values are part of a triumvirate that makes up your brand manifesto. It's your mission statement, your vision statement, and your values that all work together in harmony, to create that strong brand platform.
Why are values important?
Values help determine your approach to life and business, and they also guide our pursuit of meaningful work and relationships. Values should be thought of as governing rules or the primary laws of your company. We see values, or these "governing rules" in other parts of life. Take science for example: the law of gravity dictates how objects move and behave within the physical universe. Or consider the values within our culture, such as with the laws of morality; every life is created equal, and any crime against humanity is inexcusable. To start identifying your brand values, there is an excellent worksheet on brand non-negotiables in our brand manifesto lesson. In Ray Dalio's book, Principles, he also references these non-negotiables, which are essentially your values. When we design, document, and ultimately express values within our company, we are shaping the company culture. Through the expression of your brand values, which eventually governs how the company will operate under these primary laws, the company culture starts to take shape and blossom.
How to Design the Best Company Culture
If you're not asking yourself this question as a leader right now, then you certainly should. And if you are asking that question, you might be following that up with, "How do I build the best company culture?"
Brand Values Worksheet
Here's the gist. First, you'll answer these two fundamental and important questions:
What principles do you hold near and dear?
What personal beliefs are most important to you?
As the brand matures, you may find that your answers change over time. This is fine. It's more important that you answer these questions honestly and authentically, so that you're personal beliefs and principles are truly aligned with your company's brand values. After you've answered the first two questions, make a short list on how to communicate your values, and how to express them within your company. Here's an example: One of my values is built around knowledge. I want to keep a beginner's mind at all times; I always want to be acquiring more knowledge and learning every day. I express this value at my agency, with something called Wonderful Wednesday, where once a week, a member of our team presents a new professional skill they've learned or something they've recently read to the broader team.
Want to dive deeper? Here are some academic resources that give you a broader context to the importance and implications of brand values on company performance and culture.
Are the Strategic Stars Aligned for Your Corporate Brand? - Harvard Business Review
Does your brand need a refresh or rebrand? Schedule a short call with me to learn how to do this correctly.