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Defining Core Values: Shaping Your Brand’s Identity and Culture

31 Oct 2023 by Vicky Hutchinson

This is Part 4 of our Brand Strategy series of blog posts

Welcome back to our brand series, where we’re guiding you through the building blocks that we feel are important to constructing your brand’s identity the right way. Today, we’re diving deep into the world of core values (whooo!) – the compass that steers your brand’s culture and identity. 

The Significance of Core Values

Values play such a pivotal role in shaping your brand’s identity and culture. We believe they should be actionable, ingrained in the company’s DNA, and not just static words such as professional, honest, and quality – these don’t mean anything to us, being honest. Being professional and having quality products or services should be a given in any business, not a value 🙂 

Core values should be authentic and if they are, they can help your business in so many ways, such as…

  1. Laying your Cultural Foundation: Core values lay the foundation for your brand’s culture. They shape the way your team works together, the relationships you build with your customers and the environment you foster.
  2. Defining your Identity Pillars: They define what your brand stands for. They are the guiding principles that influence every decision and action, creating a cohesive brand identity.
  3. Attracting Like-Minded People: Core values attract individuals who resonate with your brand’s mission and beliefs. This includes both employees and customers.
  4. Decision-Making Guide: When faced with tough choices, core values act as a compass. They help you navigate challenges while staying true to your brand’s principles.
  5. Ensuring Consistency: They ensure consistency in your brand’s actions and messaging. When your values are clear, it’s easier to communicate them consistently to your audience.


Examples of Brands with Clear Core Values

Now, let’s look at the same brands that effectively communicate their core values – remember their vision and mission from my previous blogs? 

  1. Disney:
  • Vision Statement: “To make people happy.”
  • Core Values: Joy, storytelling, entertainment.
  • Effective Communication:
    • Through their movies, theme parks, and merchandise, Disney consistently delivers joy and happiness to people of all ages.
    • Their commitment to storytelling is evident in the quality of their narratives and characters.
    • The brand’s emphasis on entertainment is seen in its immersive experiences and engaging content.
  1. Tesla:
  • Vision Statement: “To create the most compelling car company of the 21st century by driving the world’s transition to electric vehicles.”
  • Core Values: Innovation, sustainability, electric mobility.
  • Effective Communication:
    • Tesla’s innovative electric vehicles and renewable energy products embody their commitment to innovation and sustainability.
    • Their mission to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy is evident in their groundbreaking technologies.
    • By leading the electric vehicle revolution, Tesla communicates its dedication to a more sustainable future.
  1. Nike:
  • Vision Statement: “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world.” (*And they cleverly add, “If you have a body, you are an athlete.”)
  • Core Values: Inspiration, innovation, active lifestyle.
  • Effective Communication:
    • Nike inspires athletes and individuals globally through powerful ad campaigns and endorsements from world-class athletes – but rarely show their products, just the achievements of the individual.
    • Continuous innovation in athletic products showcases their commitment to excellence.
    • Their tagline, “Just Do It,” encourages an active lifestyle and embodies their values of determination and achievement regardless of physical fitness.
  1. Oxfam:
  • Vision Statement: “A world without poverty.”
  • Core Values: Poverty eradication, justice, fairness.
  • Effective Communication:
    • Oxfam’s mission to end poverty is communicated through their humanitarian work worldwide.
    • They advocate for social justice and fairness, drawing attention to global inequalities.
    • Their campaigns and partnerships demonstrate their commitment to creating a fairer world for all.

These companies don’t just express their core values through words; they embody them in their products, services, and the overall impact they have on society. This consistency in action and messaging builds trust and loyalty among customers, making their values an integral part of their brand identity.

Crafting Your Own Brand’s Core Values

Please remember that your values need to be authentic and true to your business. You can look to your peers or companies you admire for inspiration, but just copying other businesses’ values will not be reflective of your vision and your company, Also, your audience and staff will see through this and trust will be gone – and that’s hard to get back. 

So, here’s our advice on defining your values:

  1. Identify Beliefs: Reflect on what your brand truly believes in. What principles drive your decisions and actions?
  2. Involve Your Team: Collaborate with your team to ensure everyone’s input is considered. Core values should resonate with all stakeholders.
  3. Be Authentic: Your core values should reflect your brand authentically. Don’t choose values just because they sound good.
  4. Prioritise: Select a concise set of core values – typically no more than five. Clarity is key.
  5. Live Them: Your core values should guide your everyday actions. Ensure they’re not just words on paper but principles that are evident in your actions.


Next, we’ll explore effective messaging that aligns with your brand’s values, vision and mission. In the meantime, download our free guide to branding.

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