BRAND FOUNDATION

Every brand needs values

HOW TO DETERMINE YOURS AND COMMUNICATE THEM THROUGH YOUR BRANDING

closeup of woman writing a mission statement
When I started my business back in 2017, there was one thing I was absolutely sure of – I was tired of working with people who put others down, and didn’t care about anyone but themselves.
I was coming out of a male-dominated company in a male-dominated industry, and had spent a good part of my career being underestimated. I had been working with customers who were only interested in squeezing the last cent out of a deal, and colleagues that often found problems to every solution.
It was a toxic situation for me that ended in burnout.

UNDERSTANDING MY BRAND VALUES

 

So when I started Personal Brand Architect, I made a promise to myself as an entrepreneur to make empowering others to dream big and believe in themselves one of the core values in my business.
One of my dad’s favourite sayings is, “life is too short to work with a**holes.” It turns out he is so right.  So on top of my promise to empower others, I also made a long list of stuff I didn’t want in my business. Among other things, I decided that I won’t work with anyone that doesn’t appreciate my efforts, is only interested in their winning over me losing (like trying to get me to lower my prices so that they can feel like they got a deal), isn’t truly dedicated to accepting responsibility for their own failures or successes; and isn’t fully committed to growth, change, and taking action.
I can sum all of this up in the essence of my core values:
empowerment, integrity, visionary
This is the foundation of my brand and business, and I make decisions based on these values. I’ve turned down clients because of them (even though I could have really used the income at the time). I had friends tell me I was crazy. That I had made a mistake and that I would never be able to grow my business like that. But the truth was, I didn’t want a business (especially not a BIG business) that went against my values. I still don’t.
every brand needs values; how to determine yours and communicate them through branding

CONNECTING TO CLIENTS WHO SHARE YOUR VALUES

 

The brand you create for your business has to transport your values and make them clear to your audience. Most of us want to work with people we feel a certain connection to – people we feel are on the same page as we are – and as service-based entrepreneurs, our values will be one of the deciding factors here. Sharing your values will go a long way in helping build up the know-like-trust factor.
So how do you determine your values and how can you incorporate them into your branding? Let’s take a closer look.

HOW TO UNCOVER YOUR BRAND VALUES

 

When you build a brand around yourself and your services, it can be difficult to draw the line between the values you want to guide your business and your own values as a person. While I would generally encourage everyone to regularly reflect on their personal values, you’ll want to be a little pickier (for lack of a better word) when it comes to your brand values. You don’t need more than 2-5, and they should be the driving force behind how and why you do business the way you do.
Start by reflecting on the defining moments in your life, personal and professional.
  1. What were the peak moments in your life – when you were happiest, most proud or felt exceptionally fulfilled and satisfied. What was happening, what emotions came up and why? Why do these moments stand out?
  1. Consider the negative moments in your life – when you were angry, frustrated or upset. What happened and what led to these feelings? What injustice did you feel at that moment?
  1. Your code of conduct. This is usually related to your upbringing and likely reflects what you were taught was right and wrong growing up. Consciously reflect on what deep-rooted beliefs you have and what persona values influence your behaviour.
When you start examining your values this way, you’ll likely find that a pattern emerges. Your strongest values will tend to keep reappearing in your most important experiences, positive or negative.
For your brand, you’ll want to edit your values down, choosing only a handful – the strongest and most important values for how you do business.

INCORPORATING YOUR VALUES INTO YOUR BRAND

 

In your brand identity
Once you’ve identified your core values, you can start thinking about how those values would look and feel.  A brand identity that is aligned with your business’ core values will go a long way in building trust and helping people understand what to expect from working with you. From the colours to the typography, illustrations, and photography that you pick, your values will play a big part in creating an intentional brand identity that really works for your business.
Let’s look at an example. I’ve created two mood boards with different brand values. Which mood board feels more aligned to which brand values?And more importantly, why do they feel more aligned with the one or the other?
honest, grounded, visionary    vs.    friendly, creative, full of energy
mood board 1
brand values moodboard example 2
mood board 2
brand values moodboard example 1
In your marketing materials
Your values will set the tone for all your copy, from your website to your print media, to the e-mails you send your subscribers. To be clear, I’m not suggesting you change your style or your voice to try and sound like someone or something you are not. Instead, I want you to build awareness for how all these components fit together and either complement or juxtapose each other.  
In your content
A great place to straight-up talk about your values is in your content. Tell the story behind your values and why they are at the core of your business. Let your audience into your world and help them get to know you better. Again, this is all about furthering the know-like-trust factor in your brand.  In addition to this blog post, check out my Instagram this week to see me talking all about the importance of brand values and my own brand’s values. 

YOUR VALUES ARE THE FOUNDATION OF YOUR BRAND

From your brand identity to your business strategy, to your dream clients, your values play a defining role in how you run your business and what your clients can expect from you. Taking the time to determine your top-priority values will pay off massively and really help you create a strong, successful brand, build trust, and forge a strong connection with your dream clients.

Your values are just one part of makes up a successful brand.

Get my new free resource – the ANATOMY OF A THRIVING BRAND –  to help you better understand what makes a brand great and make sure you’ve got everything in place to create your own thriving brand!
the anatomy of a thriving brand with Karina Schwarzenböck the personal brand architect
Karina the Personal Brand Architect with her dog

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