Core Values have become something of a “buzz word” in the entrepreneur world lately. Finding your core values is the first step in creating a foundation for your brand. If you’ve been building your brand for some time now, but haven’t stopped to figure out your foundation, finding your core values is a huge step in the branding process. Establishing these values not only sets the foundation for everything you are doing currently, but how everyone involved with your brand in the future will make decisions and affect your growth.
During my time in the corporate world, one of the most valuable things I learned was to “hire, fire, review + reward” based on your core values. If the people you’re working with aren’t aligning with your core values, it’s a good indicator that you have a people problem, not a brand problem. Once you’ve discovered what the most important values are to your company or your brand, it’s time to set the wheels in motion and get your audience on board. Here are 6 ways to showcase your core values through your brand and build a lifelong bond with your audience.
Inspire them visually
For the purpose of this post I’m going to use Social Studio Shop’s core values - Inspire, Connect, Grow, as the illustrating example. Every image you post whether it be on Instagram, Pinterest, or any other platform, should be a visual representation of your core values. Your audience should be able to see by the effort and attention to detail, that the content you’re creating wasn’t done as an afterthought, but as a means to visually inspire your followers. Need help figuring out how? Our course, “How to Create Unforgettable Content to Up Your Social Media Game” is just the ticket.
Educate with a purpose
Don’t just post to post. If your brand involves educating your audience (just like us!), then everything you’re sharing should be inline with your core values. If there’s a new technology that’s come out, and it’s incredibly popular, but it doesn’t fit with what your brand believes, just leave it. You don’t have to jump on every bandwagon. Your followers will respect your discernment and it will only build your credibility on subjects you do decide to take on.
Perfect your product
Similarly, the same goes for products you’re selling. Now I know the life of a girl boss is busy and sometimes you just have to hit that deadline, but if you look at a product you’re creating and it doesn’t perfectly align with your values, shelve it until it does. And, scary truth time - sometimes, it never will. There have been plenty of products we at Social Studio Shop thought might be good profit boosters, but when it came down to a finished product, if it didn’t “Inspire, Connect, Grow”, it didn’t see the light of day. The end result is that you’ll be incredibly proud and in love with every product you do decide to showcase.
Say it with love
The absolute best (easiest!) way to showcase your core values, is by communicating with your audience. The way you interact with your followers says everything about your brand. Set specific standards for how you’ll verbally interact and make those cohesive with your values. This can include; response time, signatures, verbiage, even emojis! Your voice should always reflect your core values, no matter what the situation. Yes, that means even those times you may have to deal with “trolls” or people with less than lovely things to say. How you handle your response to every follower is a clear indicator of how you’re letting your core values influence your brand.
This is a biggie. Like I mentioned earlier, your core values should influence all of your decisions, including hiring, firing, reviewing + rewarding. This is the absolute best way to make sure that everyone involved in your brand is the right fit. But it should influence every decision you make as you build your brand as well. Will writing that blog post “inspire, connect and grow”? Is taking out that small business loan in line with where you see your core values leading your growing business? Before you make any kind of decision in your brand, ask yourself “does this ‘fill in the core values here’?”. You’ll be amazed how many times it can affect your decision making process when you take that second to step back and reflect.
Pick your partnerships carefully
As creative entrepreneurs, we’re so lucky to have a huge pool of like-minded babes to collaborate with. But just because someone reaches out to you for a partnership, sponsorship, collaboration, etc., doesn’t mean you have to participate. Do your research and figure out if their past projects and interactions align with your values. Better yet, let them know what your core values are and set expectations from the start! If the stars align and you find a collaboration that fits with what your brand values, only wonderful things can happen!
If you haven’t quite figured out your brand’s core values, today is the day to start. It will bring out a consistency in your brand that your audience can trust and value. Brand trust and value is everything when it comes to building a successful business, so dig deep, girl boss, and build a foundation that truly reflects who you are and what you believe.