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4 Ways to Build Company Values: Show Notes & Transcript

Post | Oct 04, 2022

Welcome back to Marketing Smarts! From brand-building and marketing veterans Anne Candido and April Martini (that’s us) comes a podcast committed to cutting through all the confusing marketing BS so you can actually understand how to take action and change your business today. We deep-dive into topics most would gloss-over, infusing real-world examples from our combined 35+ years of corporate and agency experience. We tell it how it is so whether you are just starting out or have been in business awhile, you have the Marketing Smarts to immediately impact your business.

This is Episode #120 and we’re talking how to build company values. Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and your other favorite podcast spots – follow and leave a 5-star review if you’re exercising your Marketing Smarts!

  • Episode Summary & Player
  • Show Notes
  • Marketing Smarts Summary
  • Transcript

Marketing Smarts Episode #120: 4 Ways to Build Company Values

Company values – it’s a topic that’s near and dear to our hearts. Company values can make the difference between a company that flourishes and a company where the team can’t wait to jump ship. How do you build company values that inspire your team and stand the test of time? In this episode, we’re bringing you 4 ways to build company values. You’ll learn how to identify the key pillars your company stands for today, engage a team to assist in the value development, be choiceful about the values you select, and craft the values in your company’s voice. You’ll also discover how to choose the decision-makers for your value development, roll out the values to your company, and hear real examples from April and Anne’s experience with company values. This episode covers everything from integrity to value development. Here’s a small sample of what you will hear in this episode:

  • How do you build company values?
  • What are the key pillars your company stands for?
  • How do you build a value development team?
  • Why should you be choiceful about the values you select?
  • How do you craft values in your company’s voice?
  • What do you do if everyone wants to be decision-makers?
  • Why is voice so important?
  • How do you roll out company values?

And as always, if you need help in building your Marketing Smarts, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at:

Check out the episode, show notes, and transcript below:

Show Notes

  • 4 Ways to Build Company Values
    • [0:00] Welcome to Marketing Smarts
    • [0:30] Anne Candido, April Martini
    • [0:33] Learn more at
    • [0:39] How do you build company values?
    • [2:16] Identify the key value pillars that your company stands for today (or the perception of what they are)
    • [6:53] Engage a team of culturally tuned in folks to assist in the value development
    • [9:32] Customers, Consumers
    • [10:33] Company Culture
    • [12:33] Be choiceful about the values you select and the reasons why
    • [13:37] Integrity
    • [20:26] Agency
    • [21:02] Craft the values in your company’s voice
    • [28:39] Recap: How do you build company values?
    • [29:22] Are you craving a deeper dive immersion into the topics on our podcast? Shop our Virtual Consultancy
    • In-the-Trenches
    • [30:10] People are excited about the values exercise, but they all want to be decision makers. How do we handle this?
    • [35:46] The voice part seems really hard. Why is it so important?
    • [41:40] You mention rolling them out. How do we do that?
    • [43:19] Brand Ambassadors
    • Marketing Smarts Moments
    • [48:10] deets
    • [48:42] QR Code
    • [53:55] Recap: How do you build company values?
    • [54:46] Make sure to follow Marketing Smarts on your favorite podcast spot and leave us a 5-star review on Apple Podcasts
    • [54:52] Learn more at and connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn
    • [54:56] Sign up to view all the ForthRight worksheets & tips for FREE!
    • [55:05] Shop our Virtual Consultancy

What is Marketing Smarts?

From brand-building and marketing veterans Anne Candido and April Martini comes a podcast committed to cutting through all the confusing marketing BS so you can actually understand how to take action and change your business today. They deep-dive into topics most would gloss-over, infusing real-world examples from their combined 35+ years of corporate and agency experience. They tell it how it is so whether you are just starting out or have been in business awhile, you have the Marketing Smarts to immediately impact your business.

How do I exercise my Marketing Smarts?

Thanks for listening to Marketing Smarts. Get in touch here to become a savvier marketer. 


Please note: this transcript is not 100% accurate.

Anne Candido 0:02
This is Marketing Smarts – a podcast committed to helping you become a savvier marketing leader, no matter your level. In each episode, we will dive into a relevant topic or challenge that marketing leaders are currently facing. We will also give you practical tools and applications that will help you put what you learn into practice today. And if you missed anything, don’t worry, we put worksheets on our website that summarize the key points. Now, let’s get to

April Martini 0:27
it. Welcome to Marketing Smarts.

Anne Candido 0:31
I am Anne Candido.

April Martini 0:32
And I am April Martini. And today we’re going to talk about a topic that is near and dear to my heart and our hearts, I have to say, and that is the development of company values. Nothing sets the company up for success or failure faster than by either not having, which is the worst or not developing second worst company values. And just so we are clear company values are the guiding principles that are the foundation of how the business operates, and what culture exists within the business.

Anne Candido 1:03
Yeah, and I just want to thank April for giving me the opportunity to talk during this one, because usually on a limited role to play to talk. Awesome. So yeah, so going back to the actual company values, a typical ones that you hear a lot are things like integrity, honesty, accountability, but we’re going to talk today about why these are not the most effective ways to communicate values, and how to push them further to actually represent your culture. Yes, exactly. And like I said, work that I guess I have a ton of passion for I do shoe, but I just don’t usually get to do it.

April Martini 1:41
Okay, there’s the control freak, anyone coming?

Anne Candido 1:44
Alright, so anyway, how are you in your lane and you know, to your strengths, and also, so fair.

April Martini 1:49
So hopefully, you’ll hear in today’s episode, both the passion but also really a better way to do it, with the intention of helping companies get to this place as a result of the episode versus phoning it in a little more, which is where we see those values, outline that and mentioned. And with that, we will get into how to build company values that impact culture. Number one, identify the key value pillars that your company stands for today, or the perception of what they are. So again, we just said and outlined in the beginning, These might be things like honesty, integrity, accountability. And while we feel that when articulated this way, they fall flat, you do have to start from a place of identifying what the values are, or what people say that they are in the absence of them having been developed before. So really, and truly, the best way to start is to get in a survey in of from all employees or hold a brainstorming session or do both, quite frankly, where folks are able to identify what they believe the company values are as they exist today. And what you’re looking for here are consistent themes that come up over and over again. And we’re not saying that you’re going to get the right company values out of this exercise. But what you’re doing is an assessment of the culture and what has just grown out of what you have at this moment in time. So we’ll talk about you know how to build them throughout. So you’ll get the the principles and the perspective on how to go and do that in a really intentional way. But you want to just kind of get that temperature check and see where are things. Also, whenever asking for feedback from people know that you’re not looking for this group to solve it for you to make the decision for what the values are moving forward. You just want to see what those key themes are and what comes out of the discussion. You also get bonus points for engaging people in the process so that when it comes to time to roll out the values, they’re already bought in because you’ve asked for their opinion, they’ve been part of the process they’ve been brought on along the way and so they feel compelled to continue to participate.

Anne Candido 4:05
Yeah, and I think the important thing here is when you’re doing this assessment, don’t always assume that the values are good ones exact right? So everybody’s definitely the witness and say well pick from this list of you know, all these like really strong values of what you think represents a company but what they’re thinking in the back of their head is like disorganized, disoriented, lacks vision. So be very honest I in this assessment and make sure that you’re getting into full scope and you’re not just feeding these people what you want to hear back and first because that’s not going to do you any good to actually be able to identify what’s going wrong or what might not be working totally like it should in order to build the culture you want. And we see this happen all the time is that that part is kind of like dismissed and so when they actually do all devalues always like they seem tone deaf because I was like What about like the fact that we can’t even get our shit together in order to get the stuff out the door on time, right? Yeah. And so then everybody’s like, well, this doesn’t mean anything to me because you didn’t even address this. Yes. Right. So make sure you’re actually sourcing the input that is going to be the best in order to move you to the next step, not just what you actually want to hear to make yourself feel good.

April Martini 5:15
Yeah. And I think that’s a really good point. And that’s why one of the reasons that I liked doing the combination of a survey and then some sort of in person with folks, number one, I think the first question should always be What do you think the company values are today without any leading the witness, just to see what comes back and note that everyone will not be able to participate in that, like they want you know, what, what you get back might not even be valued in some instances. But then quickly, on the heels of that asking you a question about things that are not working, yes, it’s also the other side of a survey like that. And if you have an open culture, you can maybe have those discussions in person. But I do feel like when people feel somewhat anonymous, you get the more honest truth. So I think And your point is really well taken of, you can’t just say we do all these things, so good. And here’s some values when every organization has things that they need to work on. And sometimes it’s just acknowledging that as part of the rollout, you know, we’re gonna roll out the values, because we’re trying to reset or refocus, or we’re moving offices, or we hired all these new people, and we need to really intentionally build the culture. But also, we know that there’s these other things that we need to fix, in addition to building up the culture, and that in order to do so we have to address that as well.

Anne Candido 6:34
And I think that’s a really good point that values can’t exist in a vacuum. No, right? They have to have all the things that support them, the actions, the behaviors, all of that. So that’s why what you said is so critically important. I hope everybody heard that. Yeah. Thank you.

April Martini 6:49
All right. So I you do this work. Yeah. But Ann’s gonna take this next one. So letting me talk. Number two is engage a team of culturally tuned in folks to assist in the value development. And

Anne Candido 7:01
And notice, I didn’t get the What about how do you actually create them.

April Martini 7:05
I mean, if you want to do it, you shouldn’t.

Anne Candido 7:09
This is actually a really, really important point, because you can’t be as April mentioned, you can’t be a team of one. And to do this work, right, you need to have the feedback, you need to have all of the exposure to the people that are going to provide you that insight that you need in order to create the right company values. But in order to do this, you have to actually seek out the right people. So a lot of times when people tend to do is like, hey, raise your hand, if you want to be part of this team? No, no, absolutely the wrong thing to do, what you want to do is you want to go seek out the right people to be on the team, and you want to invite them to be on the team and even pregnant incentivize them to be on the team as well. And these are people that others look to, to kind of create the culture, right. So these are the people who are naturally already feeling upbeat, maybe about where the company is going, or the potential behind the company, or have been a cheerleader in the past, or they are the ones who like to generate the fun within the environment, or they’re the ones who are really empathetic to the way people are feeling or very in touch with the way people feel. These are the people that are probably planning your events and planning the happy hours and and really just naturally trying to create a culture, regardless of what you already have in the past. Now, it could also be people who are highly disgruntled, that’s always a very interesting person to have. Because, you know, you have to win sometimes these these dissenters in order for your culture to actually take, hold and actually grow. Now, be careful that these dissenters are not just dissenters, because they’re that kind of a person, you know, they’re just not going to like anything. But if you feel like there’s an opportunity to kind of bring them back, bring them back and change it around. And they’re going to give you that really good lens of like, no, no, no, you guys see this, but you act like this, you know, these are some like this, this connects, those people can be really, really good in order to make sure that you stay honest. I think another important part is that these aren’t necessarily the all the leaders in your organization either. So these are people that are representative of each one of the different functions that are important in order to come together and create the culture. They may be people lower on the totem pole, because they have the best insight into what is it they’re ever the dynamic is is going down on there. So that whether that’s people on the floor, people on the phones, people that are out with your customers in your consumers, you decide with the right people to form this team, but you should have some representation across the board that your culture is going to touch.

April Martini 9:36
Yeah, I mean, I think it is. Well first I want to touch on the dissenter piece. If it’s a dissenter, that is dissenting because they want it to be a different way and will participate. Yes point then that is completely fine to have them and yes can be an absolutely interesting lens. The other thing I want to touch on is the fact that leadership is not a criteria for this and that the P don’t have to be in a position of power. They also don’t have to agree with each other about what this needs to look like respectful debate. Yes. So I’ll contextualize with an example, the last agency I was at, we were in the process of growing pretty rapidly, which is good, we’re gonna move offices, but there was a subset of us that were super passionate about the culture that had existed and been cultivated for the years that the agency had been in business and making sure that that was going to live moving forward. And so in this instance, there was a lot of, I would say, organic development of the culture in the organization. So we knew we had some cleanup to do in addition to that, you know, taking what was great and pulling it forward. I would also say that the four of us that were on the team, were the group that was going to be the up and coming leadership, and we had other leaders in the organization. But this was going to be like the nucleus, right of what it was going to look like. And the four of us got along to varying degrees, quite frankly. So there were a lot of dynamics of these people coming together. But the purpose or the point of having this group was we knew that we were going to respectfully debate like ansaid, we knew we were not going to agree. But we were all committed because we all felt that this was so important, and that we had something special that was worth preserving. And we also had some behaviors that needed to go away, if we were going to elevate to the next level of quote, unquote, agency, the types of clients, we were going to get all of those types of things. And so just to contextualize this point, and and set it you know, you got to make sure you have the right people, you do not ask people to raise their hand for this exercise. So they have to be quote, unquote, nominated because they’re the right folks. But they also have to be asked not told that they were going to do it. And so we did in this instance, to it was, look, I think the four of us could work better together, we have some things to iron out to. But I think this is a place where we are the right for people to manage this process for the organization, get buy in, keep it real, and let people see that. And make sure that we get this right moving forward. Yep. All right, point number three, be choice full about the values you select. And the reasons why and because apparently, Anna’s salty about not being consulted, she’s going to take this point to

Anne Candido 12:34
this one. I do get though, and I’m actually pretty good at fishing this out. But like we said in the first point that things that come out today, or in that immediate session may not be the one you want for the future. But you need to start from somewhere so that you can actually choose. Now there’s generally a limit to the number of values, you want to have like four to six is a good number, any less, you may not have enough for people to grab on to or actually shape the culture any more than people are like they can’t remember them. They can’t internalize them. They’re not tangible to women, it starts to kind of feel a little disorienting, and a little disorganized. So we’re big fans of success criteria. So let’s give you guys some success criteria for how you would potentially evaluate or choose your values. So first, are they ownable to us? Yep. Now, as we went back, and we said before, like things like integrity, I struggled to find any company that says no, I don’t care about integrity. Anybody can act the way they want to act. I mean, you need integrity want to be a culture of jerks? Yeah. Well, it was I mean, okay, fine, you know, so I mean, it’s, it’s a flippant response. But I hope you guys kind of like got the context of like, why it’s important and to take what integrity means to you. Yeah, and translate into something that is tangible for people to internalize. Because also, integrity can mean different things for different people, right? But really, integrity is all about how you want people to show up. Yes, so be more descriptive about how you want people to show up in order to demonstrate what you mean by Integrity right. Now, also, are they different enough from each other? So a lot of people will tend to over index in certain areas, right? integrity and honesty, for example, they’re kind of the same thing. You do what you know you’re supposed to do, you’re you’re truthful about why you want to do with it all kind of part of the same bucket. So those aren’t really being choices, either. As with regards to making sure you have four to six or really are defining your culture.

April Martini 14:23
You don’t waste one with a limited number on being repetitive. Exactly.

Anne Candido 14:28
Yeah, exactly. Are they things we’ll be proud to be a part of or work for. So for example, if like, authenticity is really, really important, then you need to be able to contextualize what that is in a way that generates that feeling or that emotion or that vibe that is going to really make people understand and have that connection, that relation to other humans, about what the feeling is. So it’s like really putting like where that pride resides in what everybody kind of feels that gels them together or makes them different or makes them feel like they belong here or feel like they belong someplace. Or maybe it’s the anti of that where you, you just figure it out, it’s like, well, people don’t feel like they belong here. What is the why did x and then figure out okay, well was gonna solve for that, right? So you have to, you have to look at it from two different directions. And then when you look at the people that work here, and you want to keep them here, do they exude these values. So this might not be everyone and it might not be everyone at that moment. And some people, you’re going to find that you can kind of bring along with you, like, we were talking about the dissenters and somebody you’re gonna find, hey, they just don’t belong here. Yep. And that’s gonna be a really, really tough decision and tough call that you guys are gonna have to make. But it’s one that’s so critical to the culture. Because if the culture isn’t gelling, or you have like the one bad app, or whatever metaphor that you want to use, it can destroy and undermine your culture. And the one big thing that it’s so important for culture is that that is what pulls in new talent. That is what retained your talent. So if you’re letting one person kind of undermine and define in a culture that you aren’t intending to, you could be undermining your whole entire company. Yes. And your whole tie talent pool right? Now also, do they have enough weight or meaning so that they have some again, I call it like, the tangible nests, but also some longevity? Yes. Right. So this is not something that’s like necessarily, in the moment that you want to fix, or in the moment that you want people to know about you. It’s something that you feel like is going to be a core part of the value your your your company is going to or your business or your brand or your team, however, you’re defining your values is going to exhibit both internally and externally for some time. Yeah,

April Martini 16:42
I mean, I think that that is also important. I think this is where the rubber starts to meet the road. And people have a hard time making decisions. Yes. And so when we think about this point of being twice full, and then really developing the reasons why I will say for the number of times that I have done this with organizations, the ones that, get it, right, spend the due diligence in this moment to dig and dig and dig and dig. So it’s everything from not just taking the key themes that come out of the survey at face value and saying, check, 75% of people said that one, that’s a good one, that’s a good one, we’ll just leave that one yet. It’s also like we said to point number two, having the right people to do it, I would say hours are spent quite honestly, debating these when you have the right team of people to do it. Because it is so important to making sure that the foundation of the culture is going to be right for the foreseeable future. And beyond that, you want to make sure you are hitting on those key things that really at your very foundation you stand for. And you know, I’ll tell you right now, it’s not things like integrity, it’s not approachability, it’s not authenticity, those things are not going to get you there. And so when I think back, like I said, on the projects that we did, where this really took hold, those people were committed to hashing it out. And it didn’t happen in one session. And it was important. And I know there’s people listening right now saying, Oh, sounds like hard work, you know, but that’s the reason why people get it wrong. Because they’re like, we have our day jobs. It doesn’t matter that much. We have a good culture, who cares if it’s really specifically defined. But man, when you get these, right, and you get to those really meaty things that everyone feels compelled to be a part of, and the organization really stands for. That’s where you find the gold. And to Anne’s point, that’s where you start attracting talent that wants to come work for you, instead of having to go and seek out the right people. And given the environment we’re in right now. That’s a really good situation in place to be in. Yeah, and

Anne Candido 18:58
I would say two, I think all that is right on it. If you’re struggling to try to figure out what these are. Maybe start with the end in mind. Yes. Right. So start with like, what kind of vibe do we want here? How do we want people to feel? What do we want people to say about working here? How would they talk about what it’s like to work here with a friend or you know, what their parents or you know, whoever, where you can start to kind of figure out what keeps people there in what would draw people to you? And then figure out okay, well, how do we have to show up? Or what Who do we have to be in order to create that vibe. So sometimes start with the end in mind helps you to kind of backtrack and try to get some alignment with regards to what it could look like or what it needs to be in order to create this environment. Everybody wants.

April Martini 19:42
Yeah, and I think you examine the people that are sitting at the table. Right, right. How would you describe each other? Yep. What are the things because you were chosen because you were the ones that best represent the culture on its best day, right? Or what people are drawn to or what they want to be a part of right? And this is a premium thing, you know, the next point a little bit here, but this is where you start speaking and a lot more human way. Right? Right, like, Okay, I’m an honest person. Cool. But that’s not what defines me. Right? So it’s like what, you know, what is it about us or you and one of the back to the the example of the last agency, I was the newest one at the table. Everyone else had been there for five plus years. So my role was really to be the voice in the room of what drew me here, what was different than other organizations I worked in? What were those points that sold me on coming to the company? You know, that was my role in that situation? And then subsequently, why did they choose to hire me? What was it about me that fit that culture? You know, those types of exercises are the things you want to spend the time on? So that you are thinking critically about what is the true connection point instead of just, that’s nice. And then if you were going to stay what is the place need to be like? Yeah, yeah, exactly. All right. So point number four. And this is definitely mine, because this is always mine, but craft the values in your company’s voice, I’m always the brand character tone of voice police. So this one sits very much in my court. This is a huge one. And this is one that a lot of companies miss. So if you get to the point of the last point, and you’ve really identified those really salient things that at your core, that’s why you want to be a part of this company. If you don’t do this point, you miss a major opportunity. So when you think about values, the way that I just wholeheartedly believe they have to live is they have to be at least several words or phrase to really get at the crux of what the value means. It cannot be a single words. So in the previous exercise, you probably did get to some pretty meaty words, right? What are those words that really define who we are, this is about defining them with intention so that when people hear them, they know what they mean, they remember them, and they know how to go and be whatever that value says. So I will give you some specific examples from previous work. Alright, so commitment was one of the words that’s a little bit of like, okay, but there was when we, you know, what we came to is there is a really like, for the people that thrive here and want to be here, they are so committed to the work and so passionate about it, that it just as in who they are, right, but also as part of that they have to be challenged. So that was kind of the crux of it, right? That was not a very eloquent way to develop the value. So what the value became was we impossible for breakfast. Yeah. And everyone got that, right. You know what that means it is whatever that challenge is, I am so committed and passionate that I’m gonna figure it out with my people around me, we’re gonna do exactly what is right, and we’re going to run out and we’re going to solve, right, there’s an energy about that one. The next one was all about support. So there was a really strong culture around not calling out individuals not blaming things on one person, if you know anything about agencies, it can easily go the other way, being in it, you know, wanting to have the most creative idea that I did. It really wasn’t that culture, it was a culture of luck. We need all the functions. Everyone has a role here, everyone’s voice, regardless of level needs to be heard. But also, if something goes wrong, we own it as an organization. And that was just a non negotiable. And that was actually one of the reasons I joined because of bad behaviors, that other ones, right. So the value there and this was actually the hardest one to get to. And I remember exactly where we were when the copywriter on the team, of course, was the one who came up with it. It was We’ve got your 6, which is a military term, right? And so it’s all about you have the backs of everything. I’ve never articulate this exactly as eloquently as he did. But it was one of those ones that just transcended and was really intuitive for people right all the time. We’ve got each other’s backs, we’re all going to work together. If someone falls, we pick them up, we move on other people step in that was it right? And then the, the final one, which I always loved because it took a really boring theme, and made it so much better was about just be hard work, you know, grinding through it. It’s a tough business. It’s, you know, it’s not for the faint of heart. You’ve really got to love what you do. But you also have to be compelled to always be a student of it, because it changes all the time. So this one was we do good good or, and

Anne Candido 24:26
I had to drive you nuts.

April Martini 24:28
So for me, it was hard. And I remember being like really and they were like okay, April Fun Police. Like you’re the most serious about this values exercise, which was true. We have to have a little bit of fun, right? There’s a levity to this company. There are people and they used to tease me all the time about how there was a lot of PTSD that came with me because the last agency had been really stern and like one of the most formal ones that I worked at. And so they love me in the interview and then I got in started doing the work and they’re like, is she ever gonna snap out of it? Like why does she just go into the zone? And so that was always the run jokes, move forward with we do good gutter, which is we are hard working, we were committed, but we also could laugh at ourselves have a good time, we’re not saving lives, all of those themes were baked in that. So hopefully with those examples, you can kind of see what I mean about the previous point of getting to like, what are the really meaty things that define us. It can be one word or words that go together and work together. But then what is the single phrase or sentence or whatever that is culturally relevant to the brand character of our business, that people are going to be able to immediately attach to, and then go and live?

Anne Candido 25:37
Yeah, and I think this can be a really, really difficult exercise. And this is definitely one not to plug, forthright people too much. But it is definitely one that we help others do. Because sometimes you need that third party to kind of come in and take that assessment, synthesize everything down, kind of make it a little bit more salient, and give you an outsider in perspective, which can be very helpful for a lot of folks who suddenly kind of get stuck in the minutiae of a lot of things, because then we tend to hear to you and a lot of people started talking about their values, they started talking about all the things that they’re going to have to go do. Now as a result, you get stuck in this like little tangible thing. So then you kind of start, or that little tactical thing, that the tangible thing, where you start tending to feel like oh, we should change our value. So we don’t have to go do all this work. So you have someone who’s kind of keeping you honest, keeping you in the process, because ultimately, when you can get to this point, it can transform organizations like nothing else. And but it’s so so important, though, like I said, in the very beginning, it can’t just be words, it has to be actions related to the words. And so if you can’t make the words mean anything to people, if they’re not resonating with people, and like, it’s not gonna resonate with 100% of your organization, but you should strive to make it resonate, a good significant portion of it, your culture becomes something that starts to kind of live and breathe and have a personality. And it starts to kind of create an atmosphere that people want to be part of all those, all those things that we talked about. So reach out to us, if you’re struggling with this, it’s definitely worth it. We like to do, but April happens to be extremely good at it. So I’ll give her the props there.

April Martini 27:12
Well, thank you. And not to pile on too much not to support us too much. But bonus points, if you can get a visualization to go with the value. Yes, it’s very important. It is tremendously helpful. We’re not all you know, there’s plenty of us out there who are visual learners and creative space, of course, but I think it also to Anne’s point, really helps to start to bring it to life. And people start to associate the visual and the words and all of the pieces together. And that can be really strong. The other thing I will say is if you are like oh shoot, we don’t really have a brand character, we have plenty of episodes, worksheets, tools, things out there, you can be digging into the values at the same time that you’re building the character, obviously, I realized those are two internal things that you’re doing while you also have to be doing the work of the work for your business. But there we also have those tools out there too. And yes, please reach out. I think this is one and this is why I say in this point that so many companies missed this or they stop here or whatever, because it’s not an easy exercise to do. But hopefully you hear that the payoff can just be tremendous. The value of the quote unquote, pain of in the moment of getting this right and like you just heard us say there’s plenty of people you can ask to help you. The payoff on the other side is just huge. I mean, huge. So yeah, there you go. I agree. So just to recap, how to build company values that impact culture. Number one, identify the key value pillars that your company stands for today, or the perceptions of what they are, start with where you are to inform where you would like to go. Number two, engage a team of culturally tuned in folks to assist in the value development. These are the people that naturally engage in company culture and lead through it. Also note, they may not necessarily be titled leader. Number three be choice full about the values you select. And the reasons why three is too few more than six is too many give people enough but not too much to grab on to. And number four, craft the values in your company’s voice. Many companies stopped before this step and missed a critical opportunity for the values to really take hold in the organization. Amen to that point. And our next segment in the trenches where by now you know we give real world examples specific to industries and situations but with broad application to any of you listening can digest and put them into action. Number one, which I’m going to hand to n people are excited about the values exercise, but they all want to be decision makers. How do we handle this? And yeah, so it’s awesome that a lot of people have passion for it right. But as we’ve said multiple multiple times, you cannot decide these things by committee. No. Right.

Anne Candido 29:53
So when when we’re talking about being a choice, will you actually also have to be choice vote for who’s going to make the decision. decisions. And so it’s really important, like we said, to use a team and maybe it really craft that team to be one that is going to be those decision makers for you, and then have another like management leadership, that’s actually going to ratify it, if you will. Yep. Now, that doesn’t mean that people can’t play a role. So there’s lots of roles to play in this process. They could be ambassadors, where they can help to feed the information back in and deploy it back out. Yeah, they could be people who are PMS, who are going to help organize how it’s going to get rolled out. They could be one, two, or like fantastic designers who are going to create the new swag. So there could be lots and lots of roles, and there’s always a place for people to play, if they have the passion to do so we say find a role for them, they don’t necessarily need to be the decision makers in there, you have to be very, very clear about who is going to be making the decisions and that everybody else’s is input. And that input is being heard. Yep. But there’s only certain people, they’re gonna make the decisions. Yep, the role that everybody gets to play is in living the values, right. So that’s an expectation you set for everybody. So regardless of what role they’re playing, they are all responsible for actually living it in you, as managers and leaders are the ones responsible for actually modeling it. So if you’re not going to model it, then nobody else is going to follow it. And you can’t again, just use the words and then pretend like people know what those words mean, your behaviors, your examples, the way that you you are present yourself, the way you show up is what actually makes these things very clear. It’s like, oh, yeah, I saw APR, having somebody else’s six because she was there. And she, this person didn’t, wasn’t quite ready. And she just stepped in. And she was like, just there for them. And she didn’t make them feel bad or anything like that. So the next time that happens to me, now I know what kind of behavior I’m supposed to exhibit and what they expect from me, right. So make sure you are being the models. And then also over communicate, this is really, really important, you guys are going through this, this shouldn’t be like a top secret thing that only a few people know, this should be something that you’re continually reminding the organization, what is going on where you are in the process, what to expect. And it’s also something you continue to renew on a regular basis. So the whole deployment is a launch period. But then there’s also the periods of making sure that you’re refreshing it, making sure that you’re doing something else to kind of reinvigorate it, because it will start to kind of tail off, you’re gonna get really excited, then it’ll kind of tail off. And so you’re gonna have to kind of bring that energy back up, and remind people why you’re all here again. So

April Martini 32:31
you also want to think about that in the process. Yeah, I mean, this is one where this is you can fall off before you even begin if you let it be decision by committee. But I think the point is really well taken that everyone can and should have a role if they’re excited about the opportunity. So that’s something to very quickly get into. I think, a lot of times when people say they want to be involved in this kind of stuff, it’s they want to be in the know, right. And so there’s lots of different ways to make that happen for them. And you also make the process of the rollout a whole lot easier. Like I was saying before people feel bought in as things are going along. I think the worst thing that can happen is when it feels like somebody goes away, and comes back and presents it to the organization. People automatically don’t want to like that, because they feel like, well, am I not important enough to give input? Or why wasn’t I selected for that committee, or I guess I don’t have value in this area. Like it just creates so much doubt. And so I am a huge fan of saying, Look, everyone can’t decide we’ll never finish. We can’t have all these people involved, right? So you have to trust us to believe that we’ve picked the right people for the job. However, we trust you, like you said in to help us make sure it rolls out in a way because that’s actually more than the decision making of what they are. It’s all the stuff that happens after and so everyone can have a role to play in that portion of it. And I’ve also said things like, you know, you might think this sounds fun. Well, we just spent four hours in a room hashing, like there’s all kinds of ways you can state that this is not something that while it might look shiny on the surface, the shiny happens after you go through all the mess to get to the right answers. Yeah, and I think you hit the nail on the head, like people just want to be heard. Yeah. So they feel like there’s certain places where they can be heard. So if you make it a forum or everybody is heard, then people tend to kind of like relax a little. It’s also a sense of wanting control, right? Oh, yeah.

Anne Candido 34:44
So we get to play that one a little bit more right to the ego. Yeah. And you acknowledge it and acknowledge it, but you can’t give into it, you know, right. So no, you gotta to be diplomatic when it comes to that one. But again, it’s almost everybody feels heard or feels represented Did Yes, it tends to go a whole lot smoother. Yes, absolutely.

April Martini 35:02
All right. Number two in the trenches, the voice part seems really hard. Why is it so important? So I said this before? Honestly, I don’t do it. Yeah. Honestly, it is hard. And, you know, and gave me the props to say that I’m good at this. I was spoiled and agency life to learn from some of the best to have writers on staff and people that are just really good with words. I also pride myself on being someone who loves creative writing, right? So I think I’m built for this. I’ve also been in organizations that built me for this, right. So I think when people get discouraged is where they see an output. And they’re like, I could never do that, which is why you ask for help and all those other things. But I just my personal opinion, is that the reason that people quit is because the investment to getting it right seems greater than the impact. And this is just completely wrong. So I want to just go through what happens when you found it in you do those single words or a phrase that really doesn’t mean anything to people? And then what can happen? So it leaves it open to interpretation for people. So they feel like they can take it and take it any which way they want to what it personally means for them, or justify their current behavior based on Yeah, with an exotic, exotic or some that way. Yeah, it’s just become so subjective. When you don’t want that you want the opposite. You want it to be as objective as possible. Like you can just gave that example. We’ve got your six right, and it wasn’t part of the organization with me that bill, but she just repeated that back and then gave the very transparent example of what that looks like. When you don’t do that. That’s where you have the justification or whatever, it looks 1000 different ways because you have 1000 different employees. The second thing is it lacks memorability. So people can’t recall. You know, they might say, oh, one of ours is honesty. Oh, it’s actually integrity. Oh, whoops. Yeah, they don’t. They’re like, Oh, it’s one of those words, one of those feeling words, I’ve heard that said before in organizations to number three, it’s not inspiring. So you’ve just spent time building these go the extra little bit to make it inspiring for people so that they say I want that and they go tell their friends and their friends want to come to the organization, that’s what you’re looking for here. And then the last one is really it just gives zero guardrails for what it means for the day to day or the impact that people can have. So you want people to hear those values and say, I know what that means for my role. And I want to go and do better because of the value that I’ve heard when you don’t do this extra tone or voice, exercise and get it exactly right. So it hits home with people, then it just all completely falls flat. And so now you’ve spent this time you got people excited about the fact that you’re doing a values exercise, you’re trying to reinvigorate the culture, it all will fall flat. And then it just is one of those things, it gets put in a drawer that didn’t work, go back to your day to day and none of the things have been addressed, the problems haven’t been solved. And you don’t have a playbook for everyone to be going from. So I just remember I’ll give an anecdote again, to the back to the I’ve got your six that, you know, you’ve really hit the holy grail when people start using the values in their day to day language, even if it’s tongue in cheek. So I will never ever forget. And I can remember the conference room clear as day where we were wrapping up a meeting and someone was like, oh, shoot, I’m not going to be there tomorrow, hey, can you handle this for me? And it was like no problem, because you know what, I got your six. And I was happy to have been in the room, right? Because I was part of the team that developed that. And I was just like, ah, like we did it. We did it. Now people are using these in the vernacular of their everyday work. And it was a little tongue in cheek, but that was perfect for the culture of the organization. That was our tone. Right. And it was said, in a flippant way, but with respect to what it was. Yeah. And so that’s where you just know that you’ve really hit it because it had taken hold in a way that you can’t manufacture. And that’s why this tone piece is just so important.

Anne Candido 39:12
Yeah, I totally agree. And I think it again, it sets the vibe of the culture. Yes, right. It gives the culture life. It gives a culture a personality. And I noticed that it’s like a gazillion times when it can get to you to say it, because I don’t think it resonates with people as strongly as it should. But it also gives a filter for you the way that you want people to act the way that you want people to show up the things that you go do. Like a lot of people get stuck in the fact of like, oh, yeah, we have to have a philanthropy and we have to have a fun social event. And we have to have a Christmas party. And we have to like have all these things. Well, why like what’s the intent? What’s the purpose? What do you think what these things to look like? What’s important to you as an organization, your values help you define that right? And so it does give you a little bit of a way to filter and make good decisions and what would have to continue to reinforce your your culture so that it has that tangible illness that people can like, feel and be a part of. So that’s again, like the human nature of it. That’s what makes it relatable. It’s what makes it that ability to be able to connect people all together. Otherwise, like you said, it’s just so arbitrary. It’s like it’s just gonna fall flat.

April Martini 40:23
Yep, no, totally. So hopefully, we’ve just sold you on this right now.

Anne Candido 40:29
Like, okay, we got it already. Yeah, yeah, still 20 minutes left to this podcast.

April Martini 40:36
But no, I mean, I just, oh, it’s just it’s that PTSD. For me. It’s like I’ve seen so many organizations get so close, and then not do it not

Anne Candido 40:45
go across the finish line, right? Yeah, exactly. So that much is probably not one of their values, right. across the finish line, it’d be a really good way of articulating completion.

April Martini 40:59
See if you can do the work. Look at that

Anne Candido 41:01
one just came to me. Brilliant.

April Martini 41:04
All right, third, and final in the trenches. You mentioned rolling them out, how do we do that? Well, you’re in luck, because we’ve already written an episode on how to do that, which will be coming shortly, probably a couple of weeks after this one. So there will be a part two on brand rollout, but a few things here to get you started. Number one, a rollout plan. So you heard us say that there’s a role for everyone, the rollout plan is more important, really, in a lot of ways than getting the values, right. Because if you don’t get people excited, you don’t educate them on how they’re supposed to be, you don’t give them an opportunity to take hold in the organization. And you don’t build the momentum and excitement around them through the rollout plan, then they’re not going to have as much impact as they possibly could have. So you’ve got to really build a plan with intention. Events are always a fan favorite for this. And a lot of times more than one, like Ann said, You’re gonna have to tell people, and you’re gonna have to keep it exciting and retell them. You want to make sure all different parts of organization in different parts of the country. Yeah, whatever. Yeah, yep, yep. So you really want to squeeze as much juice out of this as you can, you’ve just spent the time and the investment of getting it right. So now share it with the organization in a way that’s going to make it right for them and build that cultural momentum. The second thing is a brand ambassador team. So this team complements the decision making team and make sure that the rollout plan is put into execution. So you help them build the plan, they have some input in that that’s where you kind of work back and forth, but then it transitions to them to make sure that it happens. And these folks also should be invited, asked to be part of it incentivized as well. But they can also then bring others on to get the work done. Right. So as I said before, there, there are people with different skills, right? So the brand ambassadors weren’t always the designers who were going to design you know, the all the swag that was going to go along. So they would go and tap the designers and say, Can you do coffee mugs? Can you do and then you need your production team to source those coffee mugs, right? So you can see how all different people get involved in the process. The third is the things this is the swag like I just mentioned, you need to identify the things that people see on a daily basis and update them with the values notebooks, coffee mugs, wall murals, posters, TV screens, what are the things that need to be updated in the office number one, and what are the things that are just the currency of your organization that people just love and creative agencies, notebooks are the thing but people are super snobs about their notebooks. So you’ve got to make sure that we’re high quality. You know, we did these beautiful with illustrations on the front and the value illustrated by each of the designers for the six values. And on the back there was what that value meant. But you better believe they were expensive. They were really nice cardstock they didn’t fall apart. The values were embossed, I mean, to the point where I’m, you know, spoiler alerting myself for that next episode, because it’s fresh also, because it’s written and ready to go. But we’re clients were asking for him. Yeah, they just thought they were so cool. So what are those things? And then what are the things that need updating? So we had a mishmash of, of coffee mugs in this beautiful new space? Well, we threw all of those out. I think we don’t need them actually. And then brought in only coffee mugs that had the six values on them. So next thing you know, everyone has those literally in their face all day long. And then ongoing integration and talked about this piece, but how are they going to take hold truly in the organization after the rollout. So your review criteria people should be evaluated against the values, your hiring criteria, your firing criteria, we talked about getting rid of some of the bad eggs and are going to come along with the culture monthly rewards do peers nominate someone who that month upheld whatever value you’re celebrating that month yearly value right recognition where someone embodies all six of them spot bonuses where a manager notices someone lived one of the values and handed them a reward. You have to with intention, make sure that they take hold in the organization, it’s great when you have people using them and saying them whatever. But that only happens if there’s a post rollout plan that is all about making sure that they are front and center in the organization just forever at that point. So and then again, don’t get too overwhelmed here, because like I said, we’re going to have an episode that will spell all of this out in detail and help you with a step by step plan. But that should hopefully be enough to get you started thinking as you’re developing the values about what that plan should look like. Yeah, and

Anne Candido 45:39
one thing I will add to that is that managers and leaders, this is all about you, yeah, it’s your job, you have to make time for it, you need to tell everybody, it’s important. You need to hold everybody accountable, you need to hold yourself accountable. Because if you don’t hold this up as being something that’s extremely important, nobody else is going to either, like I said, You are the model. So if you’re modeling that this is just something we have to do, we’re going to put in place, you know, and then we’re done with it. That’s where everybody’s going to feel about exactly what you just deployed. So and I also want to say I think it’s really important about the surrounding them with all the signals. Yeah, what is supposed to be the reminders, and it’s not just pretty wall art, but it is reminders like when you’re walking by it’s like, Oh, yeah. And it’s not even like you cognitively like seeing it and going oh, yeah, yeah, that’s it just kind of like is those like, things that kind of just filter through like the ether? And this is like a subliminal cue? Yes, it’s a little cue, but that it does provide some aspect of reminding people as you’re going through their day to day, so it’s very important. The swipe piece tends to be like the part that everybody’s like, Oh, yeah, we’ll just kind of like put our put it on some things, but really be intentional about what is going to be useful, like you said, with the notebooks for your employees, and so that they can feel like this is something that is part of their day to day.

April Martini 46:56
Yeah, yeah. And you’ve heard them, like that notebook thing. I’m telling you what it is. Yeah.

Anne Candido 47:02
The first thing we did for ourselves is made notebooks. Yeah.

April Martini 47:05
Although they’re not as high quality is I wonder one, but

Anne Candido 47:08
now we can upgrade.

April Martini 47:12
All right. And our third and final segment is where we highlight companies or brands that may or may not be using their marketing smarts. We call this marketing smarts moments. And in this case, well, and always it may or may not have anything to do with the episode. And today, it doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with values. However, I believe this company really does have very high values based on the experience, but in any case, so it’s a good one. So my example for today is Deets, they are a local, actual neighborhood for me car detailing service that is right around the block in one of the other off of one of the other streets in my subdivision. And so this one gets points right off the bat for simplicity and super streamlined usage of a QR code to schedule an appointment. So here’s how I found out about Deets. I was walking our puppy, Vinny, and I saw a sign in this yard with a QR code on it. At that point in time, I did not realize it was the owner’s home. But they were detailing a car in the driveway. And I have been it has been a stress on my mind that we have taken umpteen vacations the puppy has now pooped in my car and I have not had my car detailed in an exceptionally long time. And I’d had this original brilliant idea that the kids were going to earn money they wanted to clean the inside of the car and take all the mats out they’re in a race they’re almost seven and almost four so you can imagine how that was going to go or that someday I was going to actually get out the Windex and all the things and take it apart and do it which is something that sounds like just pure hell to me and all your free time and all my free time. Yeah, exactly. So I’m passing so it cued my interest. I actually thought at the time that they had put the sign in the yard because they were working at those people’s house which was is a brilliant idea deets if you’re if you’re listening here you should be passing out those signs. But in any case, it turned out that to be their house. So I’m walking the dog I walk over and take a picture of the QR code. I’m walking a puppy you guys in the next four minutes I was able to go in schedule a service click on the appointment time do the upgrade to have them also spend an extra I think it was 30 or 35 bucks to clean my daughter’s car seat take it apart and completely clean it. It was I believe $99 for the detail for two hours a two hour block of time that I signed up for and then the addition for the car seat they were going to come to my driveway and do it so in four minutes time walking a puppy I was confirmed appointment for next week for a two hour block of time for what I did not feel like was a substantial amount of money especially given the picture I painted about the state of my car, right Wow. freaking amazing. Okay, I may would not have been talking about them if that was the only experience. But Cesar who’s one of the owners, or maybe the owner, I don’t know, knocked on my door for my appointment on time, the next week, and just couldn’t have been nicer, friendlier, more appreciative that we had signed up with him, just his demeanor was great. But he has asked was, I live right around the corner, which is how I found out of this house, would it be okay if I took the car to my house, because you’ll get better service because everything is set up to do the cleaning there. And since you’re in the neighborhood, we just figured it would be better if we just took it there. And I was like, okay, whatever. So I’m walking puppy again, same route my cars in their driveway. We’re now past the two hour mark, I see that two guys had been working on my car wasn’t charged anything extra for going beyond. Everything was like neatly out all the mats and everything. So you could tell that they had done their due diligence. So I got a glimpse into the process and the thoroughness. Right. So then I had texted him and said, you know, just put the key in the mailbox, I’m not going to be home or whatever. And so he brought the car back, the service itself, it’s a waterless service, which I did not Oh, interpret, or I didn’t internalize that when I first went to sign up. But when I went to leave the review, I did see that. I mean, that makes it even more impressive. But I mean, like I said to young kids, this car has not been detailed probably in three years. Several vacations, dog hair, dog puke, the car looks freakin brand new. Wow. And then with that, just the overall experience of it. And so I asked for the Venmo code to tip them. He was super appreciative of that we went through the you know, give a review, super appreciative of that. And the other day I’m walking the dog again, different part of the neighborhood. And Cesar was like, hey, April binding. So just the entire thing and I’ve now recommended like, you know, we talked about word of mouth and how that’s golden and if you could get your experience right, this is guys this is what I’m talking about here. My sister’s gonna sign up when she gets back from vacation. My dad’s thinking about leaving his car one day when he has

the key I

was gonna come in I’ll leave my car there and work at your house. Yeah, exactly. Or while we’re doing the podcast they’ll just come over take it take care of it so exceptional wow, I mean from start to finish I have literally nothing bad to say which we all know that’s surprising. Yes, tough critic that I am just just amazing. Wow. So I love those guys. That’s a good one. And also points for April for offloading something on her plate

Anne Candido 52:39
Yeah, no kidding. Especially if you’re taught that you’re gonna have your kids clean it okay

April Martini 52:45
just like such a stupid I probably would have had to have a detailed anyway again

Anne Candido 52:49
after that. Yeah, I could only imagine I have a popsicle. I’m cleaning your car.

April Martini 52:55
Oh, and the funny thing is, is my son Sam asked if he could go knock on Cesar’s door and ask him how he managed to get the melted Korean out of a couple more we’re not gonna knock on his door but next time he’s out cleaning you can go ask Cesar how he managed to that

Anne Candido 53:12
wow, there you go. So amazing

April Martini 53:16
state of the car. So just to recap how to build company values that impact culture. Number one, identify the key value pillars that your company stands for today or the misperception of what they are start there. So you’re informed and then decide where you want to go. Number two, engage a team of culturally tuned in folks to assist in the value development. These are the people that naturally engage in company culture and lead through it. They may not necessarily have the title of leader nor do they need to. Number three be joyful about the values you select. And the reasons why three is too few. More than six is too many give people enough to latch on to but not too many that they can’t remember. And number four, craft the values in your company’s voice. Many companies stopped before this step and missed a critical opportunity for the values to take hold and live in the organization. And without we will say go and exercise your Marketing Smarts! Still need help in growing your Marketing Smarts? Contact us through our website: We can help you become a savvy marketer through coaching or training you and your team or doing the work on your behalf. Please also help us grow the podcast by rating and reviewing on your player of choice and sharing with at least one person. Now go show off your Marketing Smarts!