The Value of Values: Branding and Living On Purpose

Photo by Joshua Earle

Photo by Joshua Earle

Values tell an important story of who you are and what you care about. If values are not kept at the center of decision-making in terms of how you spend your time, talents, and energy – you’ll know it. Life will quickly become out of balance and you will be left struggling to understand your path forward.


The same goes for brands.


Values Must Be Realized
I recently gave a workshop on the importance of defining personal and brand values, and a participant asked how a brand can best demonstrate its values.


The answer is simple.


Values guide and should be woven throughout every piece of communication. A brand’s values shape decisions and ultimately business strategy. As such, a brand’s values (just like a person’s values) should be evident. It’s not just enough that a brand’s values are displayed on a website. But more importantly, the brand values need to be lived by all of its employees.


“Values are like fingerprints. Nobody’s are the same, but you leave em’ all over everything you do.”
– Elvis Presley


Bringing Values to Life
For example, if a brand values creativity, perhaps it will communicate using a unique voice and tone and an interesting photography style – maybe they create a “living” logo in which each instance of the logo is unique. A brand that values caring might represent it by showcasing photographs of people, and stories of how the brand nurtures and cares for humanity. The voice and tone might soft and empathetic. A brand that values authenticity might create their own logotype and font, and use real photos instead of stock photography.


Conversely, if a brand values customers, yet has terrible customer service, long hold times, and poor brand experiences – it’s not living its values. Something is out of alignment.


Value Exercise
Your values impact every aspect of your life. If you haven’t reviewed your values lately, perform this exercise again. You might be surprised.


Step One: Look through the list of value words below. Select 15 words that you find particularly important. Feel free to write in values that are missing from the list. When selecting your values, consider some of the following questions: What traits do you admire in others? What values are so weaved throughout your life that if you didn’t have them, you wouldn’t be you?

Value List


Step Two:
 After you have selected your top 15, narrow it down to your top 5, and rank them in order of importance.

Value RankingStep Three: Now that you have prioritized your top five values, rank them from 1-10 in terms of how fully you are living them, with 10 being “fully living value” to 1 being “not living value”. For example, if one of your values is Family, yet you work 20 hours a day and never see them, you would probably give it a 1.


Step Four: Reflect on how you ranked your values. If you aren’t living your values, what steps might you take in order to live them more fully? What habits might you need to give up? What are small changes you can make today in order to live a life that more deeply showcases your values?


How was this exercise for you? I’d love to hear about your process in the comments below!

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