Everyone wants to find their people. In business, that translates to finding your clients. Even better, finding your ideal clients. That’s the point of personal branding.
You’re not just trying to reach anyone and everyone who might kind of sort of need your products or services. The tricky part is figuring out exactly how to find your people.
While there are several methods to find your ideal clients and help them find you, we will discuss connecting through shared core values.
What Are Common Core Values?
Core values are a way to connect with people on a deeper level. Your goal should be to bond over something that drives loyalty, even an evangelized network of customers and advocates.
It all comes down to strategic personal branding. It’s easy to talk about your likes and dislikes, how you go through your day, and your favorite products. Being authentic, however, means showing your honest self on a deeper level. And being strategic about personal branding means finding those who share those same core values.
Once established, a core value is unbreakable and will never be compromised, even for short-term gain or convenience. Core values are very personal and form an individual’s decisions and how they operate in this world.
Just a few examples are:
- and service.
Do you recognize any of these as unbreakable standards you would never compromise, even for short-term gain or convenience? If you’re connecting on this level, your people will recognize them too. And they’ll trust you.
That’s what strategic, authentic personal branding looks like.
How To Find Your Ideal Clients Using Your Core Values
Relaying your core values to the world can feel a bit vulnerable, but keep in mind that you aren’t doing this to be judged. The whole reason you’re infusing core value messaging into your personal brand is to attract those who share your value system and will respect your approach to business.
When crafting a brand messaging strategy that includes your core values, you need to plan on consistency. Some people turn their core values into their motto and proudly put it on their business cards and website. Others make sure their values are implicitly represented in every message that goes out. Consistency plays into your credibility, and nobody should mess with their credibility when designing a lasting personal brand.
Yes, I’m throwing a buzzword at you, but in personal branding, this word has been on everyone’s lips since 2016, and for a good reason. Choosing core values to communicate can be detrimental if you don’t live by them. Remember, Enron’s company core values were “communication, respect, integrity, and excellence,” and we all know how that ended.
Tell Your Story
Your About page, brand statement, website content, email sequences, offers, and even product or service descriptions will need to be re-evaluated through the lens of whether you are communicating your core values through your personal brand. Your story is the best way to achieve this. You don’t need to share the words that best represent your core values. Share stories and lessons learned that would resonate with those looking for someone with your core strengths.
Don’t Rely On Being Relatable
Being relatable is incredibly important, but it won’t ultimately build loyalty. Relatability is a great way to drive interest, get noticed, and build rapport. However, it’s your core values that will attract and help you filter for your ideal clients. Sure, everyone may love that you occasionally goof off, but this isn’t connecting on a deeper level to ensure a long-time evangelized community.
Remember to communicate as a community. Gather around sets of shared core values if you do all this work only to openly commodify your network. You’ll lose all that authenticity and credibility you built. Sure, measuring your network for value and deciding what you need to do to continue to build a network that will result in valuable referrals is part of doing business. However, keep your primary focus on client-facing conversations, which need to always remain on your people, not the dollars.
What Isn’t A Core Value?
Your journey to better, more meaningful connections through personal branding means getting a grip on what isn’t a core value. You can still attract and connect with people over shared interests, world views, behaviors, and desires. But you may not get the same results. And you will miss out on opportunities to grow a long-term, loyal network centered around something much more profound.
Common interests mean you like your latte prepared the same way – with soy, a counterclockwise foam swirl, and a little bit of cinnamon sprinkled on top.
Too light! Common interests certainly bring people together and are worth noting. However, we want to go deeper when we’re trying to attract and really connect with people.
World views reflect your assumptions about the world around you – such as what makes up the stuff of fundamental human nature, the origins of the world and biodiversity, and reflections on government, science, and religion.
Too deep! We can connect with people on this level, but world views are best left to our close circles. Everyone reveals their world views, often unintentionally, but world views will often lead to debates better held in closed rooms. These types of expressions are not for social media, email campaigns, and other personal brand messaging.
Behaviors and desires
Behaviors and desires are essential to understand, but they aren’t core values. They do give us insights into our ideal client’s core values. Core values are deeper and inform behaviors and desires.
Behaviors are the consistent decisions someone makes about whether to play or work on a Saturday morning. And desires relate to the life someone wants and works (or buys) to achieve.
A passion for Lamborghini’s may reveal a desire for luxury. It may also demonstrate a core value regarding self-expression, quality, and patriarchal heritage. So, hang onto that market research about consumer behaviors and desires, but don’t confuse them with core values.
Developing Your Core Values
Many marketers will tell you to define your target market. The truth is, when it comes to core values, you need to be able to speak honestly about yourself and how you approach your work and client relationships. That means defining your own core values first. You can let their core values help to inform whether they are a perfect fit, and they can do the same.
I also recommend that you don’t just pick words that sound powerful and meaningful. Choose values that you can identify as drivers in the ways you set goals and live your life, choose your friends, and operate your business. That’s where genuine connection begins with your ideal clients.