Need help branding your business? Read the late, great Maya Angelou.
“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”
On this first day of Black History Month, we’re honoring a true inspiration whose path to success paved the way for women like me to be here. She spoke intentionally when she penned this line about creatives.
I love Maya’s quote for many reasons. She gets in your face with the realness by putting every creative’s world into words. And I appreciate that she speaks directly to artists like me. Ms. Maya’s words inspired Irie Copy’s core values:
Passion is what we use to survive and thrive as creatives. We work so hard to show off our most authentic selves. For many of us, it’s about sharing your heart with the people who need you.
So, guess what? Your brand messaging should reflect that. Particularly when you’re defining and establishing brand values.
Put simply, your values reflect the way you do business. Brand values represent your core business strengths, goals, and beliefs. They aren’t some secret internal thing you do for funsies. Brand values humanize your business by telling your audience “hey! I know this is important to you. It’s important to me too!”
Finding your brand values is way more soul-searching than writing. Stuck trying to uncover them? Ask yourself these questions:
Reach out to past clients and ask “why did you choose me?” or check out your own testimonials for inspiration. Often times, your clients can verbalize their experiences with your company better than you can. Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback!
A creative copywriter (like me) does this hard work for you, getting to the bottom of your values and transforming them into beautiful words that resonate with your people.
Now, why does this even matter? Branding isn’t just for big companies with huge marketing teams anymore. Branding your business means talking to your audience like you feel what they feel. Your shared experience touches hearts.
Reaching your audience gets easier if you align your messaging to a brand foundation (like your values). Not only do you give your brand a soul, but you also give your ideal client reasons to stand with you, trust you, and believe in the passion behind what you do.
You also build a consistent foundation to stack your marketing choices and content strategies on. You can ask yourself: does this decision align with what my brand believes?
Now, I’ve seen many a DIY brand strategy session and there’s something that drives me bonkers.
Your brand values don’t stop at one word. Put your weapons away and lemme explain.
Pretty powerful words we’ve got listed above, but what do they mean for a brand? If your service embodies big n’ bad nouns, show it! Explain how your business personifies these words.
Instead of “creativity,” try: “we believe every day is a new chance to create something new.”
“Innovative?” What about: “Normal is a boring word. We question the standards to inspire fresh ideas.”
See what I mean?
Here are a few brands that are absolutely crushing the brand values game.
One of Adidas’s core values is “confidence.”
“Confidence allows athletes to make quick decisions on the field, to reach higher. For us at Adidas, confidence means to acknowledge that we don’t have all the answers. But we are willing to take risks, we try new things. And if we fail, then this is part of our learning – it helps us improve.”
They took a single noun — confidence — and explained how it uniquely applies to their company’s work.
At only two words for each value, MeUndies keeps it super short and sweet, but they’re saying something relatable about their brand. For example, take these three:
Find balance. (Stability.)
Build relationships. (Community.)
Keep cool. (Resilience.)
If a big business with big guns (i.e., professional marketers) can humanize their brand in six words, so can you.
Easy enough, right? Now that you know all about brand values, it’s time to get to work branding your business. Get comfy in a quiet, private spot, hit record on a new voice memo, and ask yourself the hard questions.
(Ask anyone who knows me: I’m a big believer in using your own sound bites. It makes your copy sound more relatable.)
Point is — don’t skip out on finding your values because it’s super important for your marketing. You’ll get a new outlook for your business and a jolt of inspo that only comes from believing in your message.
Who’d’ve thunk Maya Angelou’s mission could ever relate to brand messaging? She knew what to do to reach her people and, now, so do you. Be human. Give your brand a soul. That’s a lesson we small biz owners could all put into practice.
What about you? Do you have a set of brand values? (I promise, if they’re one-worded nouns, I won’t bite.) Tell me the one that’s closest to your heart!