How to distinguish your brand values from your personal values

Brand values are an important element in creating a unique brand identity. Sometimes, though, people confuse their personal values with their brand values. There can be overlap between personal and brand values, but usually there are some important differences. If you’re a mom, you might have strong family values. But your business might serve people who are more focused on their careers. So if you talk about family values in your business, it might not appeal to your audience. 

Brand Values by popular US graphic and web designers, Bea and Elle: Pinterest image of How to distinguish your brand values from your personal values.

 

Brand Values vs Personal Values

Brand Archetypes

One way to try to distinguish between personal and business values is to look at brand archetypes. Many brand archetypes are based on the 12 primary personality archetypes created by Carl Jung. Like people, brands incorporate a blend of archetypes. However, when identifying brand values, it’s helpful to focus on the primary and secondary archetypes. These archetypes include:

  • The Innocent
  • The Sage
  • The Explorer
  • The Outlaw
  • The Magician
  • The Hero
  • The Lover
  • The Jester
  • The Everyman
  • The Caregiver
  • The Ruler
  • The Artist

When viewing this list, you might automatically be drawn to certain words. You might even start to get some visuals in your head that you associate with the words. So you can see right away how certain visuals might give people an idea what a brand’s values are. If you take the time to read over these archetypes, you’ll see that there are certain values associated with each one.

Where some people get caught up is thinking the visual interpretations of values have to be literal, tangible items. For example, let’s say your brand values are in line with the explorer archetype. You might think that means you have to incorporate a compass in your logo. Lots of people associate a compass with travel. So they might assume that your business is a travel business. And if you’re not a travel business, you don’t want that!

Brand Values by popular US graphic and web designer, Bea and Elle: Collage image of a web design color palette.

This is where a branding professional can be really helpful. They can look at your brand values and draw out visual elements that send the right signals to people without being too literal. And while the archetypes are one useful tool for identifying values, they’re not necessary. If it feels too hard or complicated to follow, don’t use it. Most businesses, like ours, have in-depth questionnaires to help you identify your brand values. This way the pressure’s not all on you to figure out your business values. 

Which values should you focus on?

When we try to adhere too strictly to any one way of doing things, we can end up limiting ourselves and our options. And its important to remember that brands can evolve just like businesses. But knowing your business’s core values is not just helpful for developing a recognizable brand. In our current climate, it’s becoming expected. People are spending money on businesses whose values align with their own.

Just to be clear, this does not mean you have to affiliate yourself with any political party. It just means people are going to want to know where you stand on certain issues. Don’t worry or get overwhelmed — you don’t have to have a position on ALL the issues. Just the ones that are important in your business. 

Whether you’re thinking about DIY’ing your brand or hiring a professional, it can be really helpful to go through an actual exercise to identify your brand values. That’s why we included a brand identify section in our free DIY Brand Audit Workbook. We have a whole list of values with easy instructions to follow to help you identify your brand values. If this sounds helpful to you, or if you are just interested in doing your own brand audit, we invite you to sign up for the workbook here

What are your brand values?  Let us know in a comment below!

About Bea + Elle

Bea + Elle-96-1

Brooke and Laura have a combined 20+ years of experience in graphic design, web design, and business branding.

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