Janaury 2024

How to choose brand values for your small business (with examples)

This one question on my branding worksheet stumps most business owners: What are your brand values?

This one question on my branding worksheet stumps most business owners:

What are your brand values?

It’s probably such a stumper because people tend to feel one of two ways about them.

     1. They feel values are “fluffy” and unnecessary, or

     2. They feel brand values are so important that it’s too overwhelming to get them right.

If you fall into the first group, I have to tell you that your brand values can actually make or break someone’s decision to work with you.

They also make it easier to make decisions for your business (and in life).

Which is probably why the people in the second group believe it’s so overwhelming to choose the right ones.

But overwhelming doesn’t have to mean impossible if you come armed with the right insights.

Your brand values are meant to guide decisions on everything from the kind of content you produce to who you work with and the collaborations you agree to.

Brand values give your business a North Star

Brand values are really statements that act as your guiding principles.

They represent the ideals or beliefs you hold above all others and – especially for small businesses – should be rooted in your personal mission. 

Your brand values are meant to guide decisions on everything from the kind of content you produce to who you work with and the collaborations you agree to.

In other words, they’re your brand’s personal North Star – always pointing you in the direction you’re meant to go. 

As long as you stop to check in along the way.

Why you need to define your brand values

Every little detail about your brand’s identity is easier to align if you start with your brand values. 

Your purpose, your audience, your designs – none of it can really be decided without first establishing what those brand values are.

They’re a huge part of what makes your brand stand out from the crowd.

And what makes people remember you.

Plus, people are more likely to remain loyal to brands whose values reflect their own (or the values they aspire to)…

Making it easier to retain followers and customers alike.

Questions to determine your brand values

So, if brand values are so darn important for the success of your business – how do you figure out what they are in the first place?

Obviously, it helps to work with a branding expert. 

This is one of the exercises we start with when we’re aligning your brand identity.

But you can certainly start thinking about this now and come to the table more prepared with the answers to a few clarifying questions, like:

     How do you want your brand and business to be perceived?

     Who is your dream client, and what do they care most about?

     How do you want people to feel when they work with you?

     What do you want to be known for?

     What are your personal values?

Your brand values will help bring focus to everything else you do and make it a no-brainer about what to do when you’re faced with difficult business decisions.

And if you need to jumpstart your brainstorming, Science of People has an incredible list of 216 values you can check out.

Brand values: Examples in the wild

It’s always easier to grasp a concept like brand values when you see it in action.

Here are examples of companies with strong brand values you can see and feel in their customer-facing interactions.

(And who have fiercely loyal customer bases as a result.)


It’s no secret that if you’re a Starbucks fan, no other coffee shop is gonna cut it.

But it’s not because they brew the world’s greatest cup of coffee.

It’s because their customer base is attached to them – largely thanks to how obvious their brand values are in all their interactions.

Delivering excellence with passion and creativity. They take pride in their craft.

Doing the right thing even when it’s hard. They value courage even in tough situations.

Treating others with dignity and care. They foster a sense of belonging for everyone.


Strong values aren’t just for productized businesses.

Service brands who stand by clearly outlined values benefit from them, too.

Canva has really stolen the DIY corner of the world from harder-to-use tools like Photoshop, and at least some of that is due to their unique brand values.

Being inclusive. Canva sees themselves as a force for good.

Strong communication. They encourage others to be good, honest humans.

Empowerment. By making design accessible to all, Canva empowers others to win big.


Know an eco-conscious outdoor lover?

I’d bet just about anything they live and breathe Patagonia – a company with some of the fiercest convictions in the branded world.

Providing the best products and service. Quality is a cornerstone value.

Protecting Planet Earth. Environmentalism is always top of mind.

Doing it their way. Like their customers, they aren’t bound by convention.

Grace Built Co.

It would be hypocritical if I didn’t practice what I preach.

So here’s a look at a few of Grace Built Co’s own brand values (through which every decision is made):

Creativity takes courage. Be brave enough to put your creations into the world.

Always be learning. Never assume you know enough – pursue new dreams.

Progress over perfection. Nothing will ever feel 100% ready. Just take the next step.

Incorporate your brand values into your business

Once you actually have your brand values, what do you do with them?

Some people like to put them up on the wall for everyone to see – which is definitely a fun idea, but you can take it a lot further than that.

(Especially if you don’t have a brick-and-mortar storefront.)

Here are 5 ways to incorporate your brand values into your business:

Use your brand values to tell a story that you include on your website’s About page.

Turn them into the benefits of working with you and display them on your homepage, too.

Craft your vision and mission statements from them for internal (and external) guidelines.

Refer back to your brand values every time a business decision is presented to you.

Schedule quarterly check-ins to ensure you stay aligned with your values.

Much like your personal values act as an internal compass for life, your brand values should be your compass for business.

So use them whenever you need extra guidance.

And if you’re looking for the easiest way to 

  1. a) decide your brand values, and 
  2. b) align every other aspect of your brand identity with them,

Book your branding consultation call here.