I talk a lot about values and how your values should help inform your branding but what exactly do we mean by values and being value led?

Your values are your fundamental beliefs that guide and motivate your attitudes or actions. In simple terms your values are a set of principles that without them, you wouldn’t be you anymore, or your brand wouldn’t be it anymore. Your values are one of the foundations of you and your business.

We do hear a lot of buzzwords around “value led businesses” but are these businesses really value led or are they just saying it as a marketing tool?

Are you values really your values?

Your values are what you live your life by. Whether you realise it or not, you probably have a whole list of values already but have never really thought about them or written them down so you don’t really know what they are. Maybe you think you know what they are but in reality they’re just a list of adjectives that you think your values should be, like honesty and integrity and authenticity. Any of this sound familiar? 

Clients are attracted to businesses that share their values, values they are aligned to so it’s worth spending the time really thinking about what your values are. 

That’s not to say we should all be listing our values on our website and social media bios, it means that any marketing or content we put out into the world should reflect our values. Although you can have a list on your about me page on your website, you should be saying them, without actually saying them, in everything that you do. 

That simply means if you say your value is that you put planet before profit, you wouldn’t then go and start selling an item that has a massive co2 footprint, because that’s just going completely against your value. I would question if that was really your value in the first place, or in fact was one of your values to make as much money as possible (no judgment either way but obviously I would align with the planet saving values!).

I’m not a massive Elvis Presley fan but I found this quote and it just says what values are so perfectly (whether he did actually say this or not I’m not sure), “Values are like fingerprints, nobody’s are the same, but you leave them all over everything you do”.

Values can change over time

Having said all this about values, it’s worth remembering that values can change as you grow both personally and as a business. Think back to when you were 18 and the things you valued then (Thursday nights at Rock City and a weekly copy of NME were two of mine), they will be widely different to what you value now. It’s therefore worth coming back to examine your values on a regular basis to make sure you still align with those values and your business and clients still align with those values too.

How to discover your own values

I’m guessing you’re now wondering how you find out what your values are then? And that would be an excellent question to ask. There are several different ways I use to discover values but one of the easiest for everyone is to think of times when you felt:

You will see common threads running through what you’ve written for each of the headings and it’s from those threads you can discover your values.

I realised all of my happiest moments involved other people or animals so “Having meaningful connections with others” is one of my values.

Have a go and see what meaningful values you uncover that you can use to align and connect with your audience.

Oh, and in case you’re interested, my other values are:

  • Continually developing as a person
  • Helping other to develop and succeed
  • Being kind and compassionate to others
  • Feeling safe

What next?

If you’d like to start your journey of discovering your why, your values, your purpose and ultimately, your brand, my course Build a Thriving Brand is just for you. And if you’re an artist or maker, my course Connect With Your Audience was created especially for you so go and check it out.