Building Your Brand with Your Values

In boardrooms, kitchens and cafes across the nation, people are building great businesses. And inevitably, they must ask themselves the following questions (hopefully sooner rather than later): what’s my brand? How do you put a brand together? How do you know you’re on the right track? Why the heck is a brand so important anyway? And what if I’m selling something intangible like success coaching?

There are many ways to look at the process of branding, with interesting points to consider from all the marketing gurus. You can, for example, think long and hard about your target market or ideal customer, and imagine what they would like to see in a brand. You can do extensive research about what these people resonate with, what problems they have that need solving, colors they love and what kind of cocktails they drink. All of this can help. And I’d recommend doing market research like this.

But my real advice for the foundation on which to build a brand comes down to this: what are YOUR values? Figure that out, and you’ve got a rock-solid identity to build a business around. One that won’t shift with the ever-changing tides of the fickle marketplace. One that you will never grow weary of, because it can grow and evolve along with you.

Lest you should think I’m being airy-fairy and idealistic, let me assure you that I have been very carefully, intentionally crafting my businesses around my values, and I know for a fact that this strategy has been absolutely critical to my sense of success. It’s what keeps my employees happily engaged, and countless job applicants lined up for every position I need to fill. It’s what keeps customers coming back for more, and telling their friends. It’s the reason I feel I have support from my community, meaning I know whenever I build something new, I can rely on my reputation to attract other like minded people.

Values have become a commodity, with companies trying to buy and sell them. They’ve been co-opted by marketing firms and used to sell everything from real estate to high heels. So if you’re wary of using trendy terms which may sound meaningless, like “eco-friendly” or “deliverables”, I hear you. But forget about companies that don’t practice what they preach. Look at businesses and entrepreneurs you admire, and figure out exactly what it is that you love about them. Are they innovative? Exclusive? Philanthropic? Edgy?

Community is important to me, so I sponsor a lot of local events, kids athletics and fund raisers that mean something to myself or my crew. Inspiring the leaders of tomorrow is part of my life’s mission, so I put everything I can into training my staff and setting them up for success in the world. Health and wellness are my personal passions, so I chose to build a business that sells healthy food and beverages. Kindness and generosity are core values of mine, leading me to initiate a 22 Days of Kindness campaign that at a local level, meant my business name became synonymous with kindness.


Look around you:

the books you read, the movies you watch, the clothes you wear, the car you drive, the friends you most spend time with. How would you describe the things and people in your life? How would you describe the things and people you wantin your life? This could be a starting point for you to start getting crystal clear on your values.

This exercise is all about getting at the heart of what truly matters to you. Don’t simply jump on board with a cause or concept that sounds admirable. The clearer you are on your core values, the more you can infuse your business with them and create a living, breathing entity that reflects the very best and brightest parts of you. And that is what people will connect with. That is what will keep them coming back for more. It’s what will make your brand, and your business irresistible. And at the end of the day, what will lend to your own personal sense of contribution and true success.

 

12 Responses to Building Your Brand with Your Values
  1. Jayne Kopp
    August 25, 2011 | 2:40 pm

    Hi Natalie. I really liked the way you said we should be clear on our ‘core’ values because that really is what it all boils down to. Once you know that, you can be more clear on who it is you wish to hook up and connect with.

    I find this ‘branding’ thing though is something you ‘grow’ into. When I started online, I knew who I was (obviously) but hadn’t given too much thought until I realized that in order to be noticed and attract the right people … I needed to determine what I wanted to be known for.

    I have to say it has evolved too. As I have become more passionate about my work and experienced more successes, I have tweaked my brand along the way. I’m sure there’s still more ‘tweaking’ as I feel it coming on. I’m always in transition as I believe we all are but as you say your values are always at the heart of it so it’s a good place to start.

    Thanks for the nice read. It is also very nice to get an idea of the way you run your business.

    Best

    Jayne
    Jayne Kopp recently posted..EXTRA, EXTRA!! Did You Know About the New Blokube Pro?My Profile

  2. Catarina Alexon
    August 26, 2011 | 11:40 am

    Agree with you in particular this, I quote: “Inspiring the leaders of tomorrow is part of my life’s mission, so I put everything I can into training my staff and setting them up for success in the world. Health and wellness are my personal passions, so I chose to build a business that sells healthy food and beverages. Kindness and generosity are core values of mine, leading me to initiate a 22 Days of Kindness campaign that at a local level, meant my business name became synonymous with kindness.”

    Have written far too many mission & vision statements and don’t want to hear more about focusing on customers, innovaton and so forth.

    What matters to customers today is that you are supporting worthy causes. Excellent as far as both of us are concerned since then doing something we believe in can make profit. Capitalism at its best, actually.

  3. Ian Belanger | Network Marketing Success
    August 29, 2011 | 8:41 am

    Hi Natalie,

    People are attracted to people who have the same values and ideals as them, generally. So it is very important for us as marketers to know what our own core values are before we try to market to others, especially if we are branding ourselves.

    I agree with Jayne, branding is something we grow into. As we become more successful, our core values may become more apparent to us. I like to say “Money doesn’t change who you are, it just allows you to be more of what you are.

    So if you are a giving person, money will allow you to give more. If you are a selfish person, money will make you more selfish.

    Thanks for sharing Natalie and have a great day!
    Ian Belanger | Network Marketing Success recently posted..Back and Better Than Ever, With Some of My Favorite ToolsMy Profile

  4. Rachael Slorach
    August 29, 2011 | 1:32 pm

    Hi Natalie,

    Totally agree with you, building a business around our core values and beliefs means we can contribute far more to our community and environment than simply our products and/or services. Customers and business partners recognise these values and do they take them on themselves? Quite possibly. Thanks for the great post. To a better world!
    Rachael Slorach recently posted..A Baby Boomer could do it!! Blogging made Simple with NEW Training Modules AvailableMy Profile

  5. [...] does your brand stand for? I’ve talked before about building your brand with your values. I believe you need to do this from day one, when you’re writing your business plan, and you [...]

  6. Jeanine Byers Hoag @ Dressing My Truth
    August 31, 2011 | 12:36 pm

    Hi Natalie!

    Great point about not dismissing the concept of building a business based on your values just because some of those “values” terms have been overused or misleading. I think if your values provide a foundation for your business then they will help guide every decision you make, especially when it comes to adding new products or shifting your direction in some way.

    My primary purpose is to help people become more authentic, and know and express who they really are at the core in the way that they dress. That value is top of mind as I change and grow and evolve my business.
    Jeanine Byers Hoag @ Dressing My Truth recently posted..Fall Capsule Wardrobe Challenge: Twenty Twenty September Starts TomorrowMy Profile

  7. Hi Natalie,

    Hopefully, a person will bring his values to his business, instead of letting the business shape his values. Values are a priority, whether you are in business or not. It is easy to tell if anyone, whether it be a businessman, a politician, or private person says or does what he thinks the people he is with at the moment want. It might be more difficult, but it’s always better to stick with what you think is right.

    Lou
    Lou Barba@informationhighwaycardandgiftshop.com recently posted..Lady “Dowdy” Gets Her Blue Jeans OnMy Profile

  8. Easther
    September 5, 2011 | 8:24 pm

    Hi Natalie

    You’ve made a good point! I totally agree, that you are to build your business around your values. providing values is important if you want to be successful.
    Great post!

    cheers
    Easther
    Easther recently posted..Grab a Slice of the Online Success Pie with my free eBook (worth $47)My Profile

  9. A. Leigh Edwards
    September 7, 2011 | 7:31 am

    Yes, Natalie! I so agree with you. I truly believe that what you believe internally shows up externally. When we consciously choose to create based on our core values and offer our best selves through our businesses, we will find it in our lives.
    A. Leigh Edwards recently posted..How to Feel the Joy Before It ArrivesMy Profile

  10. Radu
    September 9, 2011 | 9:40 am

    Hi Natalie,
    “Create a living, breathing entity that reflects the very best and brightest parts of you”. I love it. This should be the basic belief for every entrepreneur: whatever you create with your business, it must reflect your highest self and an ideal translated into reality.

    Values-those invisible things- is what truly matters in this ocean of contrasts. If you know what you stand for and actually walk the talk, more and more people will be inspired to think and act from a higher perspective.

    Your post brought more clarity in my mind. I was thinking about my brand these now. You came right on time.

    Thanks for sharing your insights:)

    All the best,
    Radu
    Radu recently posted..4 Tips To Create Great Blog CommentsMy Profile

  11. [...] clear about your brand. I’ve talked about the importance of this before, and how you should use your values to build an awesome brand you can grow with. It’s an essential key to success, and many solopreneurs don’t bother with [...]

  12. A Website Designer
    September 11, 2011 | 10:10 pm

    Hi Natalie, I agree, it’s one of the great things about having your own business is you don’t have to follow other people’s rules and you can build your brand and company values around what is important to you. I find if these are unique and if they are real, then people appreciate this as well making it a useful thing to do not only from the point of view of keeping yourself motivated (it can also attract customers – particularly those customers who you want to attract).
    A Website Designer recently posted..My top 3 SEO strategies and how I implement themMy Profile

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