Image by Startae Team
One of the most important factors for a startup is forming an identity. This goes beyond simply just having a logo, a typeface and and a colour palette, it is the whole personality of the organisation. A company’s brand should therefore reflect their philosophy, their business methods and core values.
From the ground up
At early startup, establishing a system of values will provide you and your team with a benchmark for what you want to achieve, and should form the foundations for how you will shape the experiences of your customers and employees as your brand grows.
Values drive behaviour
Creating a brand vision for your startup is the number one priority. Your vision is the filter through which all future decisions about funding, hiring and services are developed. It is here that you begin to shape a memorable story for your brand that your audience want to be a part of.
Begin by coming up with a mission statement for your company, consider the crucial questions that every founder needs to ask themselves; ‘‘Who am I ?’ and ‘What do I stand for?’
Before you define your values, it is worth starting with the following:
Create a moodboard
Research brands that you want to align yourself with. Collect logos, images, quotes and material and consider how they use adjectives and language to describe scenes, products and services they offer. Note down anything that could be appropriate to the service you are aiming to offer.
Consider a Brand Sprint
The exercises set out in a brand sprint aim to glean the information required to begin building a purpose driven brand with meaning. You’ll cover aspects of brand personality, look at the competitive landscape consider tone of voice. Going through the process with a graphic designer means time boxed sprints, a good energy level, and a room of people to offer their insight and ideas.
With the information gathered from your research and brand sprint exercises, you will hopefully begin to see a clear set of values that your brand stands for.
Next, you’ll want to communicate this with your team. Establishing shared values is the next step towards building a brand culture. Great companies live by their values and build a culture that is informed from the inside out. Values shared by employees and customers alike help in promoting a strong, resilient brand that people want to be a part of.
In order to build a customer base, make sales, and secure your place in the market, it is vital that you identify the types of people you want to work with, your target audience, and the experience you are aiming to provide. The collective core values of your team will inform your company culture, and reinforce your clear, shared vision.
Evaluating the values of your early-stage startup
Part of the startup mentality is the pivot, and this allows for the opportunity to potentially re-align your brand values after launch and early market testing. With this in mind, encouraging your team to discuss their values ensures there is some alignment that can be used as a point of reference when the values and culture of your brand change to accommodate their audience.
Through the formative time of your startup, constantly consider how your values are lived within your company, and how they inform each decision made. Being able to identify points where difficult decisions had to be made in order to stay true to values is a great way of getting a sense of whether values hold meaning or are just for show.
Remember that values are not rigid or fixed, and can be adapted and added to as your company grows. However, in order to build a work culture around those values requires some consistency, so it is useful to establish a point of reference to continue to trial and test your ideas and decisions against.
Three tips for re-evaluation
Always question and re-evaluate whether your values are aligned with the action you are taking
In times of uncertainty always refer to your values to determined the best course of action
Before doing anything with your company, ask yourself if it reflects these values.
Maintaining the focus
One of the most difficult parts of building a startup is channeling passion and energy, and moving forward in a decisive and effective way.
Taking the time to outline your core values, and making your message more succinct could aid this process, and free up valuable time to think about the possibilities and potential for your business.
Need help identifying your brand values? Talk to us!