How to write brand values for your business

Write out the core brand values for your business to connect with like-minded clients and give your brand direction.

Writing out your core brand values is an excellent way to gain direction and clarity about your brand. Your brand values can give your business something to stand for and help like-minded clients to resonate with what you do.

That said though, figuring out which words you should emphasise as the brand values for your business can be hard!

So here are steps to help you identify the attributes you can use for your brand.

First, list out all the attributes that matter to you.

We’re going to start broad and then narrow down to the specific values that matter to your business most. So, this first step is about listing out anything and everything that comes to mind.

  • Here are some prompts to get you thinking:
    What are the values you care about as a business owner? (For example, transparency, playfulness, bravery…)
  • What qualities do you like to see in your clients? (Creativity, resilience, positivity…)
  • What are some negative attributes that you want to stand against? (Ignorance, small-mindedness, greed…) Let’s switch them around! (Awareness, open-mindedness, generosity…)

I have a really handy list of core brand values if you want a head start. Check it out here: My list of 200 examples of brand values to get you started

Next, narrow down your list.

Here’s where it gets tough — because, of course, ALL the words you’ve listed are relevant, and it’s natural to want to mention them all.

However, the more words you try to pack into your brand, the more watered down it becomes. By narrowing down your list to just the most important and impactful values, the clearer your brand becomes and the more weight you can give to those values.

To start narrowing down your list, start by sorting the words into separate groups. You’ll probably find that some words on your list are saying the same sort of thing. Grouping your words helps to find the distinct threads. From each thread, choose the word that best represents that value, or the one that resonates with you the most.

I recommend a set of three distinct core brand values.

More helpful tips for choosing your core brand values

  • Emphasise the values that set your business apart. If there’s something you do a little differently than most, it’s something you want to highlight and name in your brand values.
  • Avoid the values that are relevant to everyone. Some words like “professional” and “quality” could be used for just about every company that exists. They’re base-level attributes that should really go without saying!
  • Make sure your values fit well together. Your values certainly shouldn’t contradict one another!
  • Choose values that help describe the way you run your business today (rather than choosing values you aspire to be). Once, during a strategy session, I had a client declare that caring for the environment was a core value of their company. On further questioning however, I found that they weren’t actually taking any measures to consider the environmental impact of their business in the way it was currently run. It might very well be a future consideration of theirs, but naming “caring for the environment” as a core value at that point in time would have been misleading.

Make your core brand values actionable.

At this point, you should have a list of three distinct core brand values. This next step is about bringing more life and personality to those words.

See, a single word like “curiosity” or “leadership” can’t say much on its own. What is meant by those words? How can they give us direction?

By putting the words into a short, actionable phrase, we can create a value that feels directive. It becomes a call to action. A path forward. 

Examples of actionable core brand values

“Curiosity” might become something like, “Always bring curiosity with you”, indicating that the company values asking questions at every step and seeking new ways to be innovative.

“Leadership” (which is pretty basic), could become something like, “Lead from the middle” — a leadership strategy that emphasises leading by example and working alongside your team.

Not only do these phrasal core brand values give your business more direction, but they become a part of your overall brand messaging. A phrase is repeatable and memorable, and putting these phrases to use in your messaging help your brand to be known for something specific.

Learn the steps to clarify and write out the core brand values for your service-based business.Last thoughts

Not only does writing out your core brand values give you clarity and direction in your business, but it also help you to connect with like-minded clients who resonate with the way you do things. This is why it’s so beneficial to do this sort of work on your brand.

If you’re interested in working through this process of defining your brand values in more detail (alongside the other core pillars of your brand) be sure to take a look at my online course, Brand Foundation Formula.

The course will take you from confusion about how to talk about your brand, to creating a bank of words and phrases that you can use to attract your ideal client and sell your services with confidence.

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