Companies use core values to help define their culture and give weight to their brand. But for too many businesses, core values are nothing more than a collection of empty, hollow words. No more! This blog post and tools are here to help you bolster your business with values that add meaning to your brand. Your brand values should help to identify what your business stands for, what gives it significance … creating your culture story.

In 2017, Willow went through a rebrand of our organization. Not only did we change the visual way that our brand was represented, but we also took a good hard look at our brand values. While many of the values that Willow was founded on still rang true, certain values were “non-negotiable” and raised their way to the surface of what makes us who we are.

We kept it simple, straightforward, and easy to remember. Our pledge and our promise is … OHH!

We choose to be open to new, big ideas, and open to perspectives different than our own.
We choose to be humble, because we feel hard-pressed to find genuine humility in this industry, and we believe it sets us apart.
We choose to be helpful, because that is basically our sole reason for existing.

Selecting our brand values wasn’t an easy process, but we could immediately tell we’d made the right decision. How? Because we saw those values embraced and embodied immediately by every member of our staff. They lived it, and we loved it.


How to define and activate your values

So, how can you go about defining and activating your brand values in REAL terms that mean something to you and to your team? I’m glad you asked!


Reflect on moments in your professional life that have inspired you, and then consider the emotions you felt around these moments. Write down any key words that jump out as you think back on your proudest achievements. Finally, in determining what values define your brand, think about words that define what the brand is not.


Time to bring your brand values to life! Look over your notes and identify key themes that emerge. Circle or highlight words that appear over and over, then narrow down to those that align with your brand’s persona. Finally, live your values. Share them with your team, and with the world. Don’t forget to recognize employees and customers who seek to embody those values.


I’ve put together a few helpful tools to help you and your team get to the heart of your brand values.

Click here to download a worksheet that will really get you thinking about your values. Questions like “List some of the organizations or leaders you admire. What characteristic(s) about them stands out to you?” and “Write down the way you feel when you leave the office at the end of a long day. What is it about your work that makes you feel accomplished?”

We’ve also provided you a printable card you can use to recognize members of your team who are living out your brand values. Recognize them for the moments – big and small – that make your brand so special.


Kim Jones headshot

Written by Kim Jones

“Willow has been in my life for a long time. I’m excited about the future—where we’re heading—and I’m excited to lead the way.”