“What does this say about me?” - A roadmap for your content
In redefining my business, it’s aesthetic, it’s voice, it’s direction and the people I wanted to connect with, I pretty quickly came to realise how important it was to identify my values. I have so many things I want to say, but so do millions of other people around the world with a halfway decent internet connection. What makes what I have to say more or less important than what they have to say?
My point of difference is my voice. No one can say or explain anything in the same particular way that I say or explain anything. Part of defining that voice is establishing values, and working to weave them into everything you produce. From your website to your printed collateral, to the comments you leave on Instagram; we should always be asking, “what does this say about me?”.
Why are defined values important?
Defining your values has a myriad of benefits to you and to your business. It can help you to identify your target audience, and define your point of difference. Having defined values can help you to identify the trajectory of your business, and allow you to feel confident in your decisions about the type of people you choose to work with.
Establishing defined values allows you to ground every decision you make in your business in the things that matter most to you. And it can empower anyone who works for you to make informed decisions about your business, that align closely with your values.
Weaving your values into everything that you do can draw in your audience, hook them, and eventually convert them into a loyal, paying client or customer.
Values help you stick to a theme, and allow you to speak with authority on the things that matter to you. After all:
If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.
And, when you do choose to stand for something, aligning it with your values prevents it from seeming opportunistic and dishonest. See here: brands that change their logo to incorporate a rainbow during Pride Month, while never donating to LGBT+ charities or supporting the community in other ways throughout the year.
What are Some “Good” Company Values?
Because values are very unique to a person and to a business, I don’t know that there’s any right or wrong choice here. Although “destruction” maybe isn’t a good place to start? Unless you’re a demolition business… and even then I’d probably start with “safety”, personally.
My business values are:
Be Mindful and Open-Minded
This is what I try to convey in everything I produce. Maybe I don’t get all of them every time, (and honestly, it would be exhausting if I did), but this gives me a guideline to follow whenever I feel lost or doubtful about what I’m doing.
Defining your Values
When it comes time to define your own company values, consider the following three questions:
1. What do you want to be known for?
Write a list of every word you can think of. Don’t overthink it, just let your instincts take over. When you have a full page of descriptive words, it should feel and look like you. Now, you can start to group those words by category and begin to whittle it down. Maybe you wrote down “likeable, relatable, empathetic, understandable, approachable and responsive”; these could all fall under the category of “relatable”.
If you work with other people in a small team, get them to do the same. Ask them to think about how they see the business, and what words they think of when they think of your team. See where your words overlap, or create a cohesive theme. Keep working at it until you’ve got a handful of words or a phrase that feels right to you.
Or maybe 3-5 words leapt into your mind right away? Write them down, study them, and think on them. Come back to them in a day or two. Do they still feel right?
2. What are you passionate about?
In some way, your personal and business values should intersect. How will you speak honestly about them otherwise? Trying to manufacture a business that cares about environmental sustainability when it’s not a priority for you as a person, is never going to work out. The whole concept will feel dishonest which will shine through in what you produce and leave your audience feeling confused.
3. Where do you want to be in 6 months? 12 months? 36 months?
I’m not asking you to define exactly what you’re going to be doing next year, but knowing what kind of feeling you want to have at the time might help you to define your values. Do you want to feel peaceful? Powerful? Wealthy? Fulfilled? Helpful?
Remember that there’s not really a right or wrong answer here. What’s important is that your values feel right to you and to your business. You don’t even need to tell anyone else what they are; just use them as a guide, leading you on your journey!