Defining My Brand Values
When I first started my business I had no real concept of what brand values were, I'd never really thought about what my business stood for, or represented. After all I was just selling jewellery, right?
Well I came to find out that running a business, and creating a successful brand involves a whole lot more than just 'selling stuff'.
So what are brand values?
In the dictionary 'value' means - the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something; principles or standards of behaviour, ones judgement of what is important in life.
So when considering what your 'brand values' are, you have to think about what your brand stands for? What things are important to your brand, what does it aspire to be? What things are unimportant to your brand, what does it absolutely not want to be?
To answer these questions fully, it was necessary for me to anthropomorphise my brand and think of it as a person in its own right. Who was Undead Unicorn, and what was important to her?
She is a free spirit, someone who stands out from a crowd, does her own thing and is not ashamed to be different from those around her, she is kind and accepting, and bursting with child-like joy - she's who I aspire to be.
So, when putting it in terms of my brands values; it strives to be different, to create unique, one-of-a-kind pieces of jewellery that are not influenced by current market trends, but are an expression of my unique perspective of the world as a proud autistic woman. I know what it's like to feel excluded, outcast and odd, and the damage that can be caused by forcing yourself to try and fit in. I am seeking to encourage people to embrace the parts of themselves that make them different, to see their oddities as strengths instead of flaws.
I want the people who wear my jewellery to feel empowered and confident, and joyful in the expression of their individual style and character. We all deserve to shine in the ways that make us happy.
Inclusivity, acceptance, uniqueness, joyfulness, playfulness and fun are fundamental to what my brand is about. These brand values merge well with my own personal values of autistic advocacy and acceptance, being kind and non judgemental, listening to and accepting the experiences of others. I believe in listening to and lifting up the voices of minority communities, especially when their experiences are different to yours.
In the business course I'm doing, an amazing course from Ali Mapletoft of Creatrix Coaching, called Art Pays, there are several exercises working on your values. One of those exercises took me off on a wonderful creative tangent. In it you look at your life experiences to see when you were happiest, when you were proudest and what you most enjoyed spending time doing. From analysing the recurring themes in these answers, you find what your creative values are.
These values are things that need to be met when creating any piece of art, or making any decisions for your artistic business. You need to ask yourself if the decisions you are making, or art you are generating align with your core values.
If not then it's time to reconsider your actions. In this way you are able to stay true to yourself, and to the core values of your business.
I found the whole experience so inspiring that I actually created a piece of art around my own creative values of Playfulness, Uniqueness,Natural Beauty, & the bedrock of Acknowledgement, that perfectly represents Undead Unicorn.
I got so swept away with the beautiful image I created, that I have done several versions of it and am adapting it to be my new brand logo. It's been a long time since I sat down and just drew something because I was moved to. It felt really good, and reminded me of the importance of taking time out to do something just for the sake of doing it.
So this is how I not only found my brand values, and realised they perfectly aligned with my personal values, but also how I created a logo that is very personal and representative of Undead Unicorn.
Now, every time I create something new, or make a decision in my business I check in to make sure it resonates with my brands playfulness, uniqueness and natural beauty, and move forward knowing I'm on the right track.