As a business your brand is not just what you say on your website or marketing materials. It’s also how people experience you – including what you stand for, aka your values.
Company values drive behavior, shape culture, and are strong building blocks for growth. Research and experience show that values drive organizational practices, help recruit the right people, enhance team engagement AND even impact a company’s bottom line.
But company values are useless unless they translate into brandworthy behavior.
And for many businesses, they don’t. Their business values either haven’t been defined or are hiding quietly in Sharepoint or an HR manual.
To turn your company values into brandworthy behavior, bring them to life by turning each of them into a guiding principle for your people to follow.
Turn Your Company Values Into Brandworthy Behavior
Here are three steps you can take to actively translate your company values into brandworthy behavior.
Step 1: Audit Your Company Values
If you – or your team – can’t automatically tell each other what your company values are, then it’s time to do an audit.
Review and edit the values you have to reflect what your organization stands for and what shapes its DNA.
- What were the principles the company was founded on?
- Do they capture what we stand for and how we do business?
- Do they articulate how we want to treat people, i.e. team members, customers?
- Will these values help us be the people we need to be to fulfill our mission?
Pro tip: Choose 3- 5 values that best represent your company. If you have 6 or 7, don’t sweat it – The Ritz Carlton has 12 Service Values!
Step 2: Turn Your Values Into Behavior Statements
Next, define the behavior that will help your company succeed at its mission rooted in why it matters.
Take each of your values from Step 1 and turn them into a statement that shares a principle and the action it produces.
Here are a few examples:
Respect → Respect for the Individual, Ideas, and for All. We know that diversity of thought and healthy, passionate debate create better business outcomes. So, we listen before we speak and freely discuss and disagree without ever making it personal.
Customer Service → Customer Service is Paramount. We genuinely care about our customers. We take the time to get to know our customers’ likes, dislikes, and preferences. We go the extra mile and the extra $100 to ensure that our customers are not just taken care of, but that they feel cared for.
Efficiency → Proactively seek the most effective, streamlined way to get things done.
Pro tip: If you’re stuck on how to translate your values into guiding principles, use this formula: We believe/know/care about [Insert value]. We [insert statement about what you do to put this belief into action].
Step 3: Share, Communicate, and Reinforce These Brandworthy Behaviors
Build brandworthy behavior and culture by communicating the values and philosophy that define how you operate. Embed these guiding principles into all aspects of the business by modeling and intentionally reinforcing them.
Make it a point to formally introduce your guiding principles to your business. Then communicate them by weaving them into existing communications, e.g. annual company meetings, quarterly updates, team meetings, one-on-one’s, and daily interactions.
Here are some ideas for bringing your guiding principles to life:
For your team and company:
- Create a company credo or team promise that can visibly be seen by each person who works with you.
- Add your guiding principles to the team handbook and train new hires on them.
- Regularly highlight a guiding principle and how it was put into action during company updates and meetings – the Ritz Carlton is famous for doing this before every shift at its hotels!
- Reward evidence of these behaviors, e.g. have a “values hero of the month.”
For recruiting and hiring:
- Add your guiding principles to your job postings and the hiring section on your website.
- Share your core values during the recruiting process – and use them as a filter to ensure candidates are a culture fit.
- Build questions in your applications or interviews to diagnose if candidates align with your values.
- Include a mug or a mousepad with your credo or values on it as part of a new hire welcome gift.
For your customers:
- Add your guiding principles to your website and marketing materials.
- Train salespeople and client managers on putting these principles into action.
When you have your values mapped out and your guiding principles in place, your brand and business benefit. You’ll begin attracting the right clients to your company, unite partners and teams together, and give your people more autonomy in decision making.
Follow the steps above to bring your values and principles to life and then communicate and model them again and again.