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Time to reexamine or create your brand values

We’re in this for the long haul. I read this piece about Iceland feeling back to “normal” and I got s
Coffee Marketing
Time to reexamine or create your brand values
By Jenn Chen • Issue #105 • View online
We’re in this for the long haul. I read this piece about Iceland feeling back to “normal” and I got sad. When the US could’ve done something (and still could), we refused. Instead, those of us in the US are living in what feels like a movie’s alternate timeline where everything that could’ve gone wrong did. 
Even if/when borders reopen and indoor dining returns, COVID isn’t going away without a vaccine, which means our expectations of normal need to consider COVID in the long haul. This expectation is what led me to write the below on reexamining your brand’s values.
Some housekeeping:
  • I am likely ending my brainstorming session offer at the end of this month. My work and time is being booked up with new and exciting things.
  • If you ever need to review past issues, there is an archive available and I try to publish original articles on my blog a week after issues are sent out.

Featuring my own work & press
Featuring my own work & press
Time to reexamine or create your brand values
Usually at the formation of a company, you write up a mission statement and identify your brand values. It’s a good idea to also reexamine these from time to time to see if anything has shifted in light of major events, like operating in a pandemic or the mainstream discourse on Black Lives Matter. 
Since I just went through this process twice in the last month, I thought it might be useful as a refresher for my audience here. You can also do this process for any other kind of value set, be it for yourself, family or any group you’re part of.
Some basic tips about brand values:
  • Aim for 3–5 values
  • They can be single words, phrases, or even sentences
  • You can have two sets of values, one encompassing the other. Public-facing values are ones that signal your commitments to your audience. Internal ones should include your public ones but might also have ones more oriented to inner operations. For example, you value transparency as a company. Internally, you might expand this to mean transparent communication from leadership and a discouragement of too many private groups.
  • Add descriptive sentences to the values so people can understand what you mean by words such as “transparency.”
How to work on values
Here’s the guide, whether it’s your first time writing values or your millionth time.
1. Gather all the people who you want input on values in one place.
  • If impossible or you have a large group of people, have them do the brainstorming exercise on their own and send in their results. A smaller group can then decide on the final words.
  • Some companies like to have employee input. Especially if your value sets are several years old, you might want to ask your employees what they see are the values of the company.
2. Brainstorm! Set a timer for 15 minutes or however long you think you need.
  • Write down all the words and phrases you currently or want to associate with the brand.
  • Brainstorms work well when people are bouncing ideas off each other or just putting words out for someone else to write down.
  • Use a physical or digital whiteboard.
  • If you are reviewing your current values, put those words in at the beginning of the brainstorm.
3. Once the time is up, look at all the words and categorize them by theme or feeling.
  • Not all words need to be grouped. Some might be discarded.
  • Pick the most relevant word(s) of each group to represent them. Use the other words to create the descriptive sentences.
4. Decide which format you want your values to be: one word, several words, or a full sentence.
5. Add your descriptions. Edit away and don’t forget to ask for feedback!
Values can be used in multiple ways. They can guide your difficult decisions, orient your company’s path, and also identify if a social post is reflective of your brand. They also signal crucial information to current and future employees, customers, and partners. It’s always good to revisit these every few years to see if anything has changed.
Quick text updates & links on what's new on the networks
Quick text updates & links on what's new on the networks
Instagram added the ability to pin up to 3 favorite comments in posts. It’s testing the “shop” tab for a few users and full-screen stories display.
Facebook added custom audience creation based on shopping activity (useful if you’re running ads & have a web shop). A multiyear audit commissioned by Facebook was released by a third-party group detailing failures in civil rights.
TikTok is very new but if you’re on it as a business, they opened their ad platform to everyone.
Helpful links on how to improve your digital marketing
Helpful links on how to improve your digital marketing
Style Guide: How to Write One for Your Brand
How to Repurpose Blog Content for Endless Social Media Posts: 9 Powerful Ideas
How to Use Instagram Games & Challenges to Grow Your Following
Anything I've enjoyed reading recently
Anything I've enjoyed reading recently
Coffee Shops Are On the Brink Of Losing Their Place In American Culture
Is this the most powerful word in the English language?
Perfecting the potato chip
An update from my container garden!
An update from my container garden!
This bird of paradise is both the most expensive and largest plant I've ever purchased. It's been on my wishlist for a while so I'm excited to have it!
This bird of paradise is both the most expensive and largest plant I've ever purchased. It's been on my wishlist for a while so I'm excited to have it!
I’m doing free 15-min brainstorming session consults for coffee businesses/organizations affected by COVID-19!
I’m doing free 15-min brainstorming session consults for coffee businesses/organizations affected by COVID-19!
What'd you think?
Feedback, questions, or fist bumps 👊 – send them my way by hitting the reply button. Also happy with the 👍 at the end. Or find me on the social networks @thejennchen.
This newsletter is free to subscribe to & takes several hours to put together each issue. If you’ve enjoyed or benefited from my work and would like to support me: donate to your local bail fund, forward to someone who would enjoy the newsletter, buy me a coffee, or Venmo/Cashapp/PayPal me @thejennchen.
Did you enjoy this issue?
Jenn Chen

Thoughts on digital marketing as they intersect at specialty coffee, social media, writing, photography & social issues. 2x a month on Wednesdays. @thejennchen | https://jennchen.com

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