Can donuts be godly? Core values are for everyone.
Core values matter.
In working with mission-driven institutions for more than a decade, we have learned the power of a small set of core values firsthand. While we have seen this brought to life with institutions like the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the reality is that core values are for everyone.
We were able to test this principle recently because we were asked to do some of our work for a totally different kind of client than is typical, namely a food startup. We ran one of our workshops for a docuseries depicting the struggles of small business entrepreneurs in New York City. The series “Hustle,” hosted by entrepreneur John Henry and produced by Alicia Keys and Marcus Samuelsson, started airing in February. We were featured in Season 1, Episode 3 on February 24th.
They brought Cuzin’s Duzin to our Industry City Brooklyn office and we conducted our standard discovery workshop for them. A condensed version of the core values component of that workshop made it onto the TV show.
[Note: If you cannot view the YouTube video above from your region, please try this Facebook video link. The full 44-minute episode can be seen on Viceland TV which gives you a free half hour of streaming online.]
Core values are one of the keys to the effectiveness of Tronvig Group’s version of the Brand Pyramid. We insist on codifying three core values for any organization that we work with. These core values subsequently serve as a crucial tool in cultivating a 360 brand. They are how we assure that the brand is more than an espousal and we use them as an ongoing enforcement mechanism to align organizational behavior with the brand. This alignment work is essential for a brand to be equipped to deliver on its brand promise and to prevent the brand from being superficial or worse, a lie.
In the “Hustle” series trailer I’m quoted, “You’ve got to reexamine absolutely everything that you are doing.” I am saying that they need to align everything to their core values, which—as I pointed out to them repeatedly in the workshop—they were failing to do. The failure to bring core values to life within the daily behavior and decisions of an organization severely weakens the brand’s capacity to perform. And in our experience this kind of failure is the norm rather than the exception.
The failure to bring core values to life within the daily behavior and decisions of an organization severely weakens the brand’s capacity to perform.
Please take a moment and look at your own organization. Are you actively using your core values in decisions large and small? Are you using them as guides for daily behavior, operational practice and policy?
We helped “the dynamic donut duo” draft a document for their big meeting with Barclays Center and were glad to find out that they won a five-event run at the arena with the possibility of extension. Having seen the impact of our Brand Pyramid on dozens of institutional brands in the nonprofit and cultural sector over the years, it was gratifying to see it also work on a burgeoning brand in the food and beverage category, showing that whether a small business or a national museum, core values can propel an organization toward its destiny.
Truly, core values are for everyone.