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Brand Strategy Basics: Establish Your Values

Brand Building

What are your values and how do you define them?

For individuals, as well as for organizations, this is a critical question that should be answered with confidence.

For those of you working on identifying and defining your values, or for those of you who haven’t thought about it yet, here is a powerful quote from Gandhi which may help to inspire and guide you:

Your beliefs become your thoughts,

Your thoughts become your words,

Your words become your actions,

Your actions become your habits,

Your habits become your values,

Your values become your destiny.

Over the course of the last three years, my “team of one” at BREAKTHRU Brands has grown into a small, but mighty organization. In my journey from “solopreneur” into business leader, I have had to evolve my thinking, and ways of doing, to grow. 

A significant milestone in this evolution into business leadership has been to identify, align, and document our core values as a team and as a growing organization. 

For the next few paragraphs, I am going to break down both the practical, and more philosophical aspects, of how we went about doing this work in hopes that this may inspire you to do the same for your team or organization. The success and impact of your business depend on it!

The first step in defining our core values was to dedicate the time and create the space for our leadership team to have a focused conversation about our values as an organization. 

How to craft your brand values

Last month, our leadership team devoted a half-day, in-person work session to focus on our values. The session started with brainstorming to gather input and ideas from each team member about what is important to them, what guides them, what we hope to inspire in our clients, what we seek to bring to our work on a daily basis, and what we believe in and stand for as a team 

The next step in defining our core values was to gather inputs and insights from the team. We encouraged everyone to have an open mind and step into the growth mindset by writing down ideas related to our core values. There was only one ground rule–that there were no wrong answers! We then read what we wrote aloud to each other and grouped everyone’s ideas into categories and identified emerging themes.

After we organized and distilled our inputs, it came time to make decisions about what resonated with, and was most important to, us. We underlined the keywords or statements that we felt the most strongly about and then we started to craft a set of focused, definitive statements around our common key beliefs, principles, and philosophies. We took time to ensure that the words we were using made sense to us and reflected what is important to BREAKTHRU Brands. After a bit of wordsmithing, a values statement and list of core values emerged.

Lastly, we circulated the final draft of our values statement and list of core values back out to the team for edits and one last check of alignment. Once everyone gave their thumbs up, we felt ready to showcase and share these values with the world. We developed clarity about our purpose, mission, and vision. We felt a sense of connection to one another and the work we do together and with our clients. 

So, here’s a sneak peek into what we created. 

Our values guide our actions, decision-making, and how we treat our team and our clients.

We are a women-owned, women-led brand-building agency empowering women leaders to make the world a more equitable place. 

We guide our clients to the internal clarity necessary for them to achieve external clarity as well as personal and professional growth. 

We operate with openness, curiosity, a growth mindset, and a sense of urgency. 

We are strategic and creative collaborators who take an innovative approach to problem-solving and creating opportunities for our clients. 

We are future-focused and action-oriented. 

We find joy in the journey and our work. 

We seek to live into these BREAKTHRU Values and inspire our clients to do the same.


  • Boldness

  • Representation

  • Empowerment

  • Action

  • Knowledge-seeking

  • Transparency

  • Humility

  • Realness

  • Uplifting Others

So, are you ready to begin your own values identification journey as a leader? Do you have a plan to determine what you really care about? 

It is critical for you as a leader to take stock of your organizational values and ensure that you and your team use these values in service of your goals.

Ready to define your own brand values?

Laura Barnard, author

Laura Barnard, BREAKTHRU Brand’s Founder, has a degree in Psychology from Harvard University, an MBA in Marketing & Strategic Management from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and nearly two decades of experience in marketing and brand management. Learn more >

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