Are you sitting there thinking what is this crazy lady talking about? My brand values can play a part into who works with me? Well friends, buckle up because this post is going to dig in deep into the very foundation of your brand.
Keep reading to find out how your brand values play a BIG part in booking clients who love you.
What is your brand?
Have you ever asked yourself that question, or considered what your brand consists of?
Looking at items 1, 2, and 3 below, which one do you think most represents what a brand is?
- Your logo, color palette, and graphics
- Your value proposition, tag line, and brand messaging
- The way people experience you
If you answered #3, you’re SO right! Your brand is the way people experience you; it’s how they think and feels about your business.
A quote by the Chief Creative Officer at DDB Global sums the answer up perfectly. It says:
“A brand is not a product, a promise, or a feeling. It’s the sum of all of the experiences you have with a company.”
Seth Godin elaborates on this, too. He says,
“A brand is a set of expectations, memories, stories, and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.”
Just as you’re much more than your outer appearance, so is your brand. While visuals are so important (and I talk about that), if all you’ve done is applied some lipgloss and mascara to your brand, without cultivating something of substance that connects with people, you won’t have a large, repeat client base; a steady flow of new leads; or massive impact.
If you love Starbucks, how do you tell someone how much you love them?
Do you say, “ I love Starbucks mermaid logo and totally identify with their red cups?”
Womp, womp. Probably not!
You likely snap a cutsie pick of your fave drink, hashtag it, and say something like, “This caramel frappe gets me every time. It’s so delicious and is my go-to afternoon pick-me-up.”
You’re describing how it makes you feel, how you interact with it — basically, the sum of your experience with it.
Whether you like Starbucks or not, when you interact with the brand, you gain a sense of what the company stands for, what their values are, and why they matter.
Knowing that you should focus on your clients’ experiences with you doesn’t mean your logo, brand collateral, and website design doesn’t matter—on the contrary! It just means that your brand has to go deeper than that and have substance.
Branding then is creating experiences and being intentional about every client and market touchpoint so you can positively shape how people think and feel about their interactions with you.
When you’re able to engage with your audience in a unique way that connects with something deeper inside of them, you stand out and are memorable. The more excellent, memorable experiences people have with you, the more you create a brand that stands out in their minds.
You give people these unique experiences by engaging with them as a real person, sharing glimpses into your life and values, and telling stories that allow them to see themselves in your brand.
So, how do you do that? Well, if you’re the heart and spirit of your brand, you have to align yourself with it and identify what your values are so the right people can identify with you in the right way.
Attracting and working with people who share your values is not only way more fun, but also way more impactful. Plus, like attracts like, so those clients likely have a circle of friends, who share similar values, they would love to refer you to.
Your brand values highlight what your business stands for and what you prioritize. They inform your vision and mission and are a guiding light as to whether you’re achieving that vision and mission.
Here’s How to Identify Your Core Brand Values and Use them to Book Clients You Love
01. Ask Yourself These Questions
You should define brand values that you already embody because people will sniff out an imposter before the ink dries on your list of values. Your values represent how you think, speak, and act towards your clients and potential clients. They’re your business standards, and guidelines so really think through why you do what you do, who you help, and why. Ask yourself these questions:
- What do I value as a person?
- What do I believe in?
- What’s most important to me in the way I conduct my business?
- What character traits do I want to represent my brand, and why?
- How do I want to make clients feel?
Another hack to make this easier is to think about what you don’t want to be known for or what you dislike about your industry. What kind of things do customers complain about as it pertains to your product or service? If you’ve received a customer complaint in the past, what was that person unhappy about? If you’ve made a mistake in the past and gotten down on yourself, that mistake likely points to something you value as a business owner or person.
I recommend coming up with 3-5 values that are important to you and represent your brand accurately and authentically.
02. Go a Level Deeper
Now that you’ve identified some values, I want you to go a level deeper. Don’t just say you’re a heart-centered brand who values making an impact.
These values are excellent, but get a little more specific as to how you add your own unique touch. Using myself as an example, I value friendliness and approachability, but that alone doesn’t fully set me apart. There are a lot of friendly and approachable designers.
But! Going a level deeper, when I work with my clients, I want them to feel like they’re getting a warm hug—kind of like Olaf LOL. Olaf leaves an impression, doesn’t he? I want my clients to feel my warmth and know I value them in such a personal way. It’s authentic and it’s me. It sets me apart from other designers because there’s an extra, more tangible layer of approachability and concern. Do you see?
This level of warmth and friendliness is important to me because I believe everyone deserves to feel seen, understood, and embraced. I’m the tender heart who wants to cocoon the person who gets bullied. I want that person to know that he or she is special and loved and important. Everyone deserves that. That’s why I want everyone to feel like they’ve gotten a warm hug when they work with me.
Connecting your values to your why is also important. It shows a deeper window into who you are and allows clients and potential clients to understand why things are important to you.
03. Communicate Your Brand Values and Highlight Them
Once you’ve identified your values and dug a little deeper, now you need to communicate them. Share them on social media, in your marketing materials, or on your website. Filter your blog posts and client interactions through the lens of your values. Whether you’re writing, speaking, or just interacting, highlight them so people can connect and identify with you.
When you communicate your values, you stand out. Those values become the difference between saying something like, “I design beautiful weddings” or “I take pretty pictures” to “ I eliminate the overwhelm newly engaged couples experience by planning and designing their designer weddings or “I help clients treasure all of the moments they’ll never get back.”
Your brand visuals and marketing materials will come, go, and shift as you change and grow in your business. Your brand values are timeless, however. They’re foundational, and by solidifying them, you ensure that whether your logo is pastel pink or mint green, people know who you are and why they love working with you.
If you’re ready to be original and truly create a personal brand that stands out online and attracts more leads and is truly “unforgettable”, I would love to help you.
Check out my tailor-made brand experience. In this experience, I build a custom package for brand design and support to your budget, which means you can work with me on everything from your brand foundation to your website design to your marketing templates and brand collateral.