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Written by Peter Lowes

How To Create Meaningful Brand Values

A business should always be founded on clear and meaningful brand values. Getting these values right as early as possible in the process is imperative to creating a brand identity that really works. This can make what is already a daunting task even more so.

Make them too generic, and you can box in your thinking and be indistinct from the competition. Make them too abstract, and your team may struggle to associate with them as they don’t reflect how they see themselves or the business as a whole.

It’s about truly understanding why you do what you do, and ensuring that your actions embody them going forwards.

With this in mind, we’ve developed a simple process to frame our thinking when developing brand values.

Start with a conversation

Rather than listing forced, empty platitudes, start with a structured conversation about why you do what you do. Businesses are about people and, without listening to how people perceive you, creating a brand personality that engages with the right audience will be much more difficult.

Let people speak – what is your vision? What did you set out to achieve, and how did you intend to achieve it?

Read between the lines

Let your brand values arise naturally through this conversation and your identity will become clear. Listen to all that is said, but notice everything that isn’t said too. Listen to how people are saying what they are saying, and identify what they are implying in the spaces between.

Document, don’t discredit

Document everything. Come away with a long list of words and phrases that you can begin to analyse. Find the commonalities and recurring themes, the surprises and the inspirations. Everything that feels meaningful to the past, present and future of the business should be treated as such.

Where are your roots?

A useful tactic is to identify some key umbrella terms that encapsulate your objectives as a business.

From these main areas, begin to build a list of considered, relevant keywords that reside under these umbrella terms.

These will form the foundations of your identity. By using this method, ideas will arise organically, and your own perception of your identity will be clear and thought out.

We’d also recommend stress testing this to ensure the values you’ve decided upon work just as well looking in as looking out. They should act as guiding principles, helping you to decide key decisions you make on everything from hiring to areas of focus to benefits offered.

By treating this step, and the rest of the brand creation process, with the reverence it deserves, you’ll create a brand that you and everyone else in your organisation can associate with; a true embodiment of who you are, what you do, and how you do it.

On such foundations, brands can continually evolve and grow with you, instead of needing a complete revolution every few years.

Take your time at the beginning, and you’ll reap the rewards in the long run.

How did you create your values, and do you think they’ve stood the test of time?