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What are the core values of your business?

When talking to groups on the subject of branding the topic that provokes the most comments and stimulates the most light bulb moments is “core values”.

So I thought I would share the thinking behind these with you.

Basically core values are typically five words which say:


                                 “This is what we believe in and this is 
how we think our business should be conducted’

Why five words?  Well basically above this number it becomes difficult for people to remember and therefore difficult to uphold the company beliefs and ethos (you will know what I mean when you last tried to memorise a company mission statement…)

On both occasions of presenting I gave the example of Midland Bank (as it was then) when they set up the telephone banking service “First Direct”.  One of the team’s first actions was to define the brand values and these were chosen as

( I think we can gloss over the fact that with hindsight this last phrase should perhaps not be attributed to the banking sector…)

The point is that the bank then recruited people who displayed these values rather than those with the best banking qualifications.  They did this on the basis that they could teach the banking bit but that the success of the telephone service was wholly dependent on how their people came across EVERY time you phoned.

Several people who heard me talk about this loved the recruitment slant and immediately saw the advantage of employing people who would innately reflect and maintain a company’s values.  However , even if you are a one or two man band the identification of your core values can be enormously useful in defining your business and keeping you on track.

I’ll tell you mine if you tell me yours… mine are

expert, incisive, focused, creative and quirky

 – and yours are - or might now be….

Thanks to cristinacosta on Flickr for the image

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