(Updated in 2020)
Liz Strauss. Photo by Anne Helmond
10-Point Plan: How to Use the Values Baseline to Make Decisions
The Amazing Testimonial
They say other people, our customers decide our brand. I’m no longer convinced of that.
I had the most fabulous experience at BlogWorldExpo. While I was talking in the hallway, a woman I respect came up and put her arms around my waist. She looked at the people I was speaking to and said …
I respect and love Liz Strauss because she’s intelligent, generous, real, and she truly cares about other people. But what’s even more important is when I talk to other people about her they all say the same thing that I just did.
Wow! What a testimonial.
It left me thinking … how did that happen? What makes a brand that everyone describes the same way?
I think it comes from the values I chose and the questions I use to simplify decisions and be clear on my business and my brand.
How a Values-Baseline Can Simplify Hard Decisions and Build a Strong Brand
When you know your values and establish a brand-values baseline, every decision — business or living — becomes easier. Rather than thinking through the situational details. Values push us up to the larger picture. We’re left with simple questions. My brand values are authenticity, creativity, intelligent perception, love, and connections. So the questions I ask myself about my life and my business sound a lot like this ….
- Is this delivering brilliance? Is this an intelligent connected idea? Does it connected intelligent people in a brilliant, seamless effortless way?
- Does this shine with informed trust in ourselves and others? Does it show authentic belief, integrity, and confidence and a willingness to decide when to set aside fear?
- Is this smart and sensitive? Does it show respect for the intelligence and heart of the people I want to work for and with? Will it move our business, our lives, and the lives and businesses of the people we care about forward?
- Will this good news or bad news be truthful, generous, and leave a place to stand for the other person or the business?
So when a difficult real-time decision drops in my lap, I make visit those questions or questions like them — all of them drawn from my brand-values.
Suddenly deciding comes more easily. The decision might be whether to spend some money, take a project, redesign an event, or tell a friend what she’s not doing. By the time I get through the questions — an answer is clear and the direction is true our values.
In this new social business world, we have a chance to live and share our values rather than let people try to find them in a broadcast messages. In that way, an individual or a huge corporation can be the values-based brand and attract the people who value what they do.
Live your values. The brand story will ring clear and resonate.
And like telling the truth you won’t have to remember what you said yesterday.
All of your decision will reinforce you, your team, and your business.
What values and questions might define your brand for you?
–ME “Liz” Strauss
READ the Whole 10-Point Plan Series: On the Successful Series Page.
Chris Theisen says
Even though they are all saying the same things (I concur) that person at the event, and people on your blog or other social channels still help shape your brand. Maybe decide is the wrong word because you decide what face to put forward or what values to hold true but customers and followers still have the power to shape your presence. True its easier to get everyone on the same page and saying the same thing if you stick to brand values but most brands or businesses cant agree on brand values or get every person in the organization to buy in to get this kind of brand recognition. Its easier with a personal brand but nearly impossible with a business. Those that have succeeded at it are crushing everyone else, those that havent are having varying degrees of success. Interesting insights, thanks for sharing.
ME Liz Strauss says
If you can agree that taking care of customers is a value, then does it matter which word you choose? The experience of the exercise is to discover what words we use to name the same values and that we have the same values in common so that when we use our own words we working with confidence. If a corporation doesn’t have the same values throughout the organization, then it’s bound to be serving too many masters. I think that it can be focused. And I plan to show you. 🙂 heh heh
Patricia Martin says
“Its easier with a personal brand but nearly impossible with a business.”
I am beginning to wonder if we hold brands to a higher ethical standard than we do human beings. We expect brands to be transparent, socially responsible and philanthropic. Do we ask all of that of ourselves?
ME Liz Strauss says
I agree that brands are made of people and can live up to their values the same way. 🙂
Hi Liz, this post is fantastic.
Yes, your Brand comes from others, but only when they can see it from you consistently!
Consistent behaviors develop Brand. You do it on purpose.
You have defined your Brand, and given yourself a structure and questions to ask yourself, to make sure you are living up to the brand you defined.
This up front work, this definition, enables you to act consistently and on purpose.
It’s almost impossible to act consistently if you have not gone through the work of deciding what your values-based brand is, and then challenging yourself at every interaction, email, meeting, presentation, blog post, and conversation to live up to it.
The values-based part is critical, because a personal Brand sells on authenticity. It is even harder to be consistent if you pick Brand attributes that do not align with your values. It’s too hard to keep up the act!
It is no surprise to me that you have a strong consistent Brand that people notice, because you have indeed put the effort into defining it and living it on purpose.
You are a master at this, because it (you) are real.
ME Liz Strauss says
This comment is the start of an absolutely brilliant blog post. If our actions don’t match our brand values, people will decide our brand on what we do not what we say we are. 🙂
Jackie Mitchell says
I respect and love Liz Strauss because sheâs intelligent, generous, real, and she truly cares about other people.
Andreas Pazer says
A unique brand image is important for every business. If the brand is copied, the customers will feel that the company is unprofessional and shop with the competitor instead. Having a unique brand image can increase the conversion rate of your product.
ME Liz Strauss says
I agree a unique impage is important. One built from the values that the brand team holds dear is the cornerstone to attracting ideal customers who love what we do. 🙂
John Coonen says
Branding’s fickle, which makes for fun intellectual banter. Once you launch your brand, is it push or pull technology? Um. End of the day, so what. Just check the scoreboard often, and gobble up those hugs.