Core Values = Crap

During a brand workshop that I hosted several months ago, someone asked me a very poignant question:

“I mean, isn’t doing stuff like core values a load of crap? Does it really make a difference?”

Core brand values ARE a load of crap… when you’re not being authentic. I’ve seen a lot of companies come up with core brand values as a way to create smoke-and-mirror messaging in their marketing.

True core values are not a load of crap. The reason being is that fundamental core values already exist with the people who start and run companies. Often, those belief systems drive company culture.

Core brand values exist when deciding to hire a new team member. They exist when you’re deciding if a colleague is still a good culture fit. They exist when you’re questioning to take on a new client. They exist when you’re deciding to merge or acquire. Values are the core to every decision, whether it be business or in your personal life.

Core brand values exist in daily business decision-making, so it’s important to actually document them. Documenting them creates a guiding post and consistent filter for company decision-making.

Core brand value are principles of belief that guide an organization’s internal conduct as well as its relationship with the external world.

A perfect example of great core values is Mindspring, which I wrote about in a previous post. Their core values were at the heart of the company’s operations. It permeated into decision-making and internal processes. So much so that, decades later, past employees are still loyal to the culture of the Mindspring brand. How powerful is that?!?

The best way to start creating core brand values is to list three to five values that you believe drive your company and its decision-making. Then, briefly describe why each is important.

This allows you to consider core values from the perspective of your belief system, as opposed to creating values that really are a “load of crap.”


Now it’s your turn: What are your company’s core values? How do you incorporate these values into your business operations?


I would love to hear from you! Please feel free to leave your thoughts, comments, and feedback in the comments below.

~ Christine