Deriving your venture’s core values early on is essential to formulating a strong brand from within.
Imagine your core values being displayed beautifully in your company’s lobby: Your team will see them every day and it should engage and inspire them. At the same time, clients and shareholders should be able to read, and be in agreement with, your core values actually representing, and serving, your brand well. They need to resonate across the board. We advise to keep those value-statements to three very short and actionable sentences (some of the more universally applicable examples we derived with our clients in the past months are shown below):
It is easy to notice that core values often sound similar, perhaps even a bit generic if taken out of context, regardless of how hard we worked with our clients on crafting them. They often do not feel naturally implementable either. No surprise then that they often stay put on a desktop in a PDF document, rather than being embodied by the team.
I gave this issue a lot of thought as I urge my team and myself to create work that is intrinsically being embodied by our clients to push their ventures into great brands.
I recommend embodying your core values the same way I would recommend you preparing for a very important presentation: Once you have the presentation deck done, the speaker notes inserted, and you start practicing, you will realize that the more you practice, the more you embody the content and overall spirit. The day of the presentation you will notice that you fully embody the content, to the extent that you could hold a successful speech even if a major electricity outage hit – in candle light, without slides, without speaker notes – because you are living the content.
Treat your core values the same way: Try assigning one of your new brand’s three core values to each day of the work week, then make it your goal to do something each day that turns the words of one core value into action. It might be a project scope document and you decide to question the status quo and try to turn it into a better product. It might be actively doing good and being the example by staying late to help a co-worker meet her deadline.
Examples are endless, core values there are only a few, so if you start checking one value off the list day after day over the course of two weeks, and you ask your team to be doing the same, you will quickly realize that you do not have to be reminded about the values anymore – you will just be doing it. This will be the magic moment where you will be embodying your brand’s core values, and that brand document that resides on your desktop can now be accidentally erased, because it does not matter anymore. Action, as we all know, speaks louder than words.