As much as branding is important, so is the brand values that your business has. Even if you are a solopreneur like me or you’re running a small or medium sized business, having brand values is key. Not only in recognizing them, but in sticking to them too. You shouldn’t be swaying from them when you have to make business decisions.
Building a business isn’t easy as there are plenty of moving parts to it. You have a lot of considerations to make and if you’re like me, things like branding and marketing tend to get pushed aside. But as my business is starting to grow further – thanks to putting more value in marketing after years of little growth – the more I understand how important this all is at the start.
The list of reasons to recognize and stick to brand values is long. However, here is a short list for you to realize just how important brand values are to your business.
They Define Your Business
I like to say that your business is an extension of yourself. Even if you’re the head of a large corporation, your decisions – or indecisions – will make an impact on people. The only difference is the scale of it.
But we can build from that line of thinking.
A business in it’s entirety is an extension of yourself, but also of the values that you hold as well.
These values are what make every business different, even if the business is fundamentally the same in terms of services or products.
Think of them as norms in a group. They set the tonne for how everything works and how people see things. It’s these kinds of values that can ultimately impact whether someone is excited to go to work or is miserable about it.
Even if it’s only yourself who is working right now, setting yourself clear brand values can keep you moving forward towards that direction and attract people that have a similar way of thinking as you.
They Define Everything About You On A Business Level
Things like brand personality, your behaviour, how you relate to other people, your brand values define these things which ultimately encourage people to stick with you or avoid you.
You can’t please everyone in the world of course, however your brand and its values can resonate with all kinds of people. From customers to suppliers, investors, and employees too. Having strong brand values and knowing what they are will help in retaining those individuals.
It’ll also help you in retaining your own work as well.
For example, I’m at a point in my writing career where I know what is a good job and what is going to be a bad one. The same holds true to people I wish to collaborate with or avoid. The difference between those people and work and the people and work I do want to work with is all based around my feelings.
I feel uneasy, or uncomfortable with work that I don’t want to be doing or being around those I don’t want to be around. I make a point of avoiding those people and work at any chance I get. On the other hand, the work and people I want to be around give me energy and joy to talk to. They help me to focus on things that matter.
All of these things impact my business and they will do the same for you.
Brand Values Make Decisions Easier… Slightly
One of the reasons I’m writing about this is that I’ve been getting a few emails lately from people checking out my Instagram page and wanting to offer shoutouts. Those emailing me are companies that have millions of followers and have been on the platform for years, growing a dedicated fanbase.
While that is okay, the issue is these companies that want me to pay them to have them share my content revolve around women fashion and beauty products.
As I’ve mentioned to one of them before:
“I’m happy that you like my content but I’m not a female model nor do I provide any kind of beauty products. I’m a self-improvement writer.”
In these kinds of situations, it’s easy to make a decision on what the best for the company. I’m not about to change my entire brand into fashion and beauty products any time soon so it’s clear that I won’t get as much benefit from this collaboration compared to a company that does provide self improvement related products.
However, sticking to these brand values and knowing what they are can make even challenging decisions easier to think about.
For example, I had a meeting with my marketing team a few months ago discussing where to best focus our efforts on promoting. Not to mention how to be promoting.
I focused on getting viewership of my posts over trying to push a product or to develop interest for a future product. Why I did that is because it makes more sense for my brand. Even though I’ve been working at this for a while, this is the first time I’ve got a marketing team helping me market my content.
My overall viewership isn’t much to write about. It makes sense to focus on getting more views and having more people check the site out rather than trying to sell a product or service to someone or to build hype around it.
It also eases me on the pressure to quickly put together something that I can sell. I can afford to take some time to put together something reasonable that I can provide to people and gradually build interest with people.
It Helps With Productivity
As odd as it may seem, brand values can also help greatly in productivity. When there is something that you want to be doing, you’ll find the task giving you energy and focus. You’re less prone to getting distracted or even that task taking a long time to complete.
Similarly, if all the work you are doing isn’t something you care about, it’ll drain your energy further and you’ll put it off.
This also works on a larger scale. If you go to work for a big business that has good norms, culture and brand values, you’ll love going to work. On the other hand, having a company that you don’t jive with will make you depressed or dread going to work.
All of this feeds into productivity since according to an Oxford study, happy workers are 13% more productive than those who go to work depressed or angry.
Brand Values Offer Directions And Goals
Stemming from the idea that decisions get easier, your brand values also narrow down your goals and the direction you’ll go to achieve those goals. Setting aside the fact that having goals is important, how you reach those goals is also essential.
You’ll be met with all kinds of distractions or even opportunities that can give you similar results. But the more you look at those kinds of things, the more you find that they have nothing to do with you. Going back to that offers for shoutouts I’ve gotten, while they do help me in getting my brand out to more people, it’s hard to say whether those efforts are worthwhile.
Sure that’s to be expected with every shoutout, but it would be very off brand for these companies to have one of my instagram posts in the middle of a bunch of other posts with beauty products and female models.
It’d be off brand for them and off brand for me since our audiences don’t relate to one another.
Again, I’d be better off working with those in my particular niche rather than the multitude of fashion companies that apparently want to share my work.
It Builds Wealth
Even though my focus on my brand is to build viewership, I can still market that in a sense. Just like many companies encourage folks to “join the 2,000+ members of this email list”, being able to talk about the traffic my site is getting is something that can be brought up eventually.
Those kinds of things drive incentives. Just like brands offering shoutouts because they have millions of followers.
Beyond that, what sort of brand values will push you towards your goals which naturally come with things beyond the satisfaction of achieving that specific goal. For example, my goal is to gain more viewers. This means more eyes on my work and potentially more people commenting or even offering to work with me. Even if that happens to be collaboration efforts with a company that isn’t related to my niche at all.
All of these things bring value to you and also wealth along with it given enough time. The more you continue to work, the more doors open and more opportunities will come your way in theory.
Brand Values Help Shape Who You Are
One thing that I find with entrepreneurship is that it offers a huge amount of personal and professional development. Since I started writing, I’ve learned a lot about myself and what kind of man I want to become.
Entrepreneurship has taught me a lot of lessons and challenged me to change my values and to take time to realize what they are too. They embolden me and provide many reasons for me to push forward with my work regardless of the circumstances.
If it’s done all of those things, then it stands to reason that it’ll do the same for you.
Brand Values Are Everything
Even before this pandemic, branding has shifted dramatically. It’s no longer just a logo or a slogan. People are looking for honesty and even personality from the brands that we interact with. Even if you’re a solopreneur working in an apartment with nothing but a dream and dedication to your craft, you need to have brand values.
And you need to be showing those brand values if you are ever planning on growing your business into anything at all.
To your growth!
Eric S Burdon