Many organisations create and then communicate their brand values to their staff and customers. Some take it further and make big promises with audacious goals. They may gather press to announce their vision… And then business continues as usual.
It shouldn’t be this way. Brand values are meant to be the pumping heart and soul of a business. When companies have a solid sense of ‘this is who we are’ and walk the talk throughout their business, they see increased performance, productivity and better profits. This makes sense. We admire people who live with integrity and the same goes for companies.
Here is my opinion on what it truly takes to live your brand values, what we are doing at London Speech Workshop to ‘walk the talk’ and our loftier goals for the future.
Why are brand values so important anyway?
It’s become more crucial in recent years for businesses to identify a core set of values. But what are they really? They’re more than a set of ideals to strive for.
Brand values should be at the core of a business. They’re the foundation the underpins everything – they define the brand’s personality, what the company wants its customers to know about it and how it wants customers to feel.
While your logo or other elements of your brand can change, as can customers and staff, the identity and personality of the brand continues through your values. They’re vital because they set you apart. If they are aligned with the values of your customers, your promises will resonate with them and they are therefore more likely to choose you over competitors.
The difference between having values and living them
For brand values to be truly lived, they have to be embraced by everyone in the company – from the owner right down to the lucky person who makes all the teas. They need to be part and parcel of everyday business life and all communication – marketing campaigns, job descriptions, newsletters, meetings, the list goes on.
What does this mean in reality?
1 - Recruiting the right people.
There’s no point hiring someone who has all the skills you need, but a completely different set of values. All it takes is one bad experience with a member of staff and you could lose a customer. So, hiring staff who already live your values makes sense. Therefore, companies need to interview and assess the candidate’s personal values as well as their abilities and experience.
2 - Giving training.
Even if they live the values (maybe unconsciously), employees need to understand how the values drive everything that the business does – that every interaction is important.
3 - Living values from the top down.
Business owners and senior managers must be the role models and active examples of what a value actually ‘looks’ like.
4 - Maintaining a feedback loop.
Some sort of process that can identify when things go off-kilter, what the gaps are between behaviour and the stated values and how to re-calibrate.
5 - Celebrating successes.
When they’re truly being lived by a member of staff, this should be recognised.
What does it mean for London Speech Workshop?
At London Speech Workshop we want to take it further than this. It’s an exciting time of change, as I’m growing the business and that’s made me think about the bigger picture. It’s more than simply hiring additional staff and attracting a larger number of clients. I want to use my business as a force for good.
This is where B Corp certification comes in. Never heard of B Corp? Then let me enlighten you.
Taking it one step further – B Corp certification
The B in B Corp could stand for benefits – as in benefiting the wider community.
It could also be interpreted as ‘Be the change’ or ‘Better’, because these all describe what B Corp status companies aim to be and do. To use their business to build a better world around them. Better for staff, customers, society and the environment, both locally and globally.
B Corp certification is similar to the Fair-Trade certification. Where you see the Fair-Trade symbol, you know that the community growing the produce has received a reasonable wage or a decent price for their produce, enabling them to continue and prosper. For the B Corp certification, it’s a validation that the company is living its values and using the business to help create a fairer world for everyone.
B Corp companies consistently attract the best talent, customers are drawn to their ethical standards and they are sustainable. I learned all of this at a most inspiring day put on by B-Lab – the organisation that certifies businesses as having B Corp status if they pass their rigorous ethical and sustainability standards.
The event was packed with the good and the great of business: from former Google leaders to the management teams of companies like Innocent Smoothies and The Body Shop. A full day of talks from brilliant women and men, who all had a defining common goal – to run businesses that are “good citizens” of the world. Businesses that do good for their employees and community, for the environment, and are profitable too.
Being in the game of communication and integrity, the entire event was like music to my ears. So many people pledge one thing and do another, but this organisation is about supporting people to truly walk their talk in the name of what some people call the triple bottom line for business – for people, planet and profit.
Out of all the speakers, the person who inspired me most was Patrick Pichette, former CFO of Google. He spoke about how being a leader means living your leadership in your personal life, not just at work. He then went on to share his own story of what this meant for him: spending all his children’s inheritance on rescuing 65,000 acres of parkland in his native Canada from property developers and preserving it for future generations. Now here’s a man who walks his talk.
We think one day companies will not only compete to be the best in the world, but the best for the world. That’s what being a B Corp is all about – being part of a movement of businesses doing things the right way.
Clarifying the purpose of London Speech Workshop
Spending the day with B Corp helped me clarify London Speech Workshop’s purpose. We exist to help you create a space where leaders, managers and teams can thrive in psychological safety; where leaders listen and staff feel empowered to articulate their ideas, and where everyone can work and communicate in integrity.
Here are a few of the ways we can help do that:
Don't just talk the talk, walk the walk.
Embedding values across your business entails far more than referring to them in appraisals or displaying them in your office. It's crucial that managers at all levels model the right behaviour and HR has a major part to play in ensuring this happens.
Helping leaders live their leadership.
If values are not lived and modelled at the top, they will never cascade through the organisation.
Leaders need to consistently model how they want employees to behave in turn. Consistency is key.
Creating human workplaces.
As technology takes over the workplace, we need to double down on human communication skills.
Developing empathy, creating psychological safety, open collaboration, listening skills – these are all the qualities of effective leaders and thriving teams.
Difficult conversations made easier.
Honest feedback that boosts rather than reduces confidence. Receiving feedback with grace. Asking for something urgently. Firing with heart and disagreeing productively. Tools for building shared goals and common ground.
How can London Speech Workshop help you live your brand values?
Here’s our simple process:
1 - Discover
We work with you to understand where there is room for improvement in every aspect of communication. We look at two key performance indicators – where communication deficits impact company profits and staff wellbeing.
2 - Design
Based on our findings we use the Serlin Method™ to put together a solution, customised to your exact requirements. From group workshops to individual sessions to digital training and products.
3 - Deliver
We begin with a measurement of all personnel involved in the project, providing us with a robust reporting tool for the end of the programme. Our experienced LSW coaches deliver the programmes on-site.
We’re excited to develop even more tools to empower leaders who want to truly live their leadership.
We’re just starting on this great journey to becoming a B Corp ourselves. And we’d love to help others do the same incorporating our philosophy on communication and transformational tools.
Through identifying your communication strengths and challenges we’ll be able to interpret where you are, and show you the direction you’ll need to go. We understanding the learning process and we work hard to achieve your highest expectations. Allow us to show you what happens backdoor and how. By developing your skillset you’ll acquire amazing techniques to communicate with confidence and present yourself bravely. Leadership can be a strong magical tool if perfected properly.
Learn how to master your spectacular leadership skills and show you how to engrave the business values to your business.
Regardless if you’re a leader or a team member of a company that aspires to be a “good citizen”, get in touch – we look forward to working alongside with you.
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