In this article, we’re going to walk you through how you go about the process – from the planning and sourcing of help, through to the creation and testing of the values you decide upon. So let’s get started.
Planning – how big an exercise does this need to be?
For small startups and fairly new businesses, the exercise of building brand values is carried out by a very small number of people: the founder, his supporting leadership team (which may be no more than 2-3 people) and a branding expert.
As the business is new and small, they are able to determine what the core values should be purely by what looks good for the business, what will appeal to potential customers and employees and what will drive success. There’s no history to consider. No reputation to factor in. Relative to a large, established business, it’s a simple process.
But as you’re not a new or small business, and you have many employees working across many sites, defining your company’s core values is going to be a bit more complicated. Yes you’ll still need a branding expert and the leadership team but you’re also going to have to involve employees, customers, and even perhaps shareholders.
So factor in approx. three months for the project, line up customers for interviews, and devise a plan for getting input from your employees.
Sourcing of help – how do you do it?
There are lots of branding experts out there and a brand marketing agency should specialise in defining a company’s brand promise, values and key messaging. Upmarketry, a marketing agency working with start-ups, specialises in brand-building but you can also find the help you need via google. Just get a reference if you can.
For customer support, it’s fine to only approach happy customers – in fact that’s recommended. Why? Because you want your core values to be positive attributes of your company from a customer’s eyes so where better to look?
Gathering employees’ perspectives will be more of a challenge unless you have a tool in place which has the functionality to survey staff and employees are already engaged with. If your employees aren’t all office based, an app based intranet platform like StaffCircle will deliver this.
Creating your company’s core values
Now we come to the core of it but the beauty is that your branding team will do this job for you. They’ll gather feedback and insight from your customers and staff, research your company’s public profile and reputation and look at your competitors. They then should build you core values that:
- Your employees will feel comfortable adopting
- Fit with the experience that your current happy customers are receiving
- Set you apart from the competition
- Suit your product/service
Values created – is that it?
Once your branding experts have presented you with their recommended core values, we recommend testing them with other happy customers and with your workforce. Again, it helps here to have an employee communications tool in place to capture and analyse feedback quickly.
You don’t need to get ALL your staff to provide their opinions – that will only open a can of worms that you’ll never be able to close again – but some feedback from a cross-section of the business will be helpful.
Assuming the values pass the test, then it’s time to put them into action.
Embedding the core values into your business
Once you’ve agreed upon the brand values, it’s CRUCIAL you get the next stage of driving your workforce to follow them right.
As this is an extensive task and incredibly important, we’ve created a guide to make the process easy. Just click on the image at the bottom of this article to gain access.
Enjoy and good luck! It will be worth it.