Defining Core Values
If we’re learning anything right now, it’s how much people and relationships matter. You want to make sure your customers and prospects know they’re heard and valued. And this starts with your brand’s core values. Core Values are the backbone of who your brand is and how your brand connects and interacts with customers, prospects, and partners.
Know Your Audience
But first, before you can define your core values, you need to understand who you’re connecting with. Who is your audience? What are your customer’s concerns, insecurities, ideas, hopes, lifestyle?
If you’re not sure who your audience is, you can check out our recent blog, How Do I Connect With My Target Audience? to go in-depth on how to create connection and build loyalty with your audience and potential customers.
But to summarize, successful marketing outcomes begin with an empathy-first definition of your audience. By imagining your audience’s world, perspectives, and needs with empathy, you’ll be able to more quickly and clearly identify and choose what resonates and relates directly to your audience’s needs and values.
Choosing Core Values
So what exactly do core values look like in practice? To give you an example, the ones we’ve defined at BTD Brand are: Receptive. Resourceful. Responsive.
This means that we hear our clients, for real. Their ideas and input fuel our ability to create an amazing, memorable brand and effective marketing. We listen to their goals, address any possible hurdles, and work in tandem to deliver what they need. We want to make our clients feel comfortable to share and speak with us about concerns or any issues so we can make appropriate edits, suggestions, or options, and this really helps us understand goals and preferences for future projects.
This speaks to our customer’s needs to stay within a budget, to complete a last-minute request, or to find solutions for a tricky project. This core value assures clients we know how to get great work done and they won’t be left in the lurch. Every project, big or small, gets our full creativity, ideas, and solutions so any problems along the way don’t stall, stunt, or stop our progress.
The direct connection to ‘responsive’ is same work-day responses to customer, prospect, and partner messages. Another important action that is a result of this core value is to communicate with the customer via the media that work best for them first, and us second — so emails, phone calls, text messages, Zoom chat, etc.
Going Beyond the Expected
You’ll notice our core values at BTD are not directly related to design or creativity. Creativity and good design are basics that are expected from all brand and marketing agencies. Prospects expect a brand agency to be good at design and creativity — rather, they are looking for more, what separates us from other design agencies. We strive to go above and beyond, to speak to relationship-focused values and on building connection.
When creating your core values, think about the standards that are already automatically expected in your industry. Think about how your values can go above and beyond the basics and how your team can fulfill customer needs and respond to concerns.
One way to narrow in on compelling core values is to look back at any customer, client, or audience feedback you’ve received in the past. Notice any recurring themes. Perhaps there’s an area where customers consistently give you glowing compliments. Or, there’s a recurrent issue you could focus and improve upon.
Okay, so you’ve identified and narrowed down your core values, now what? The next step is to share them with your team. Align your team or company, ensuring everyone is on the same page and understands the core values and uses them as a guide post for client and audience interactions. For instance, if one of your core values is “responsive” team members shouldn’t be waiting a week to return calls or reply to messages.
Now while you don’t have to create an entire employee handbook expounding on your company’s core values, these values should be consistently demonstrated in meetings, in interactions with coworkers, employees, and prospects. You want to build your company culture around the core values and create a shared understanding of them.
To help get you started on creating your core values here is a great worksheet we put together to get the process going: Core Values Worksheet