Sharing our core values
Note that this post assumes some familiarity with the concept of a brand framework (core values, mission, vision, purpose). If you are not familiar, a quick Google search will provide dozens of articles briefing you on the concept. For a more thorough exploration, I enjoyed reading Built to Last by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras.
I am embarrassed to admit that when we first started Kirsch Supply Co we did not have our brand framework figured out.
We were not completely lost; we had a sense of who we were and what our goals were. Our concept was born from a frustration with a consumer culture that lacked a consistent set of values; Kirsch Supply Co would exist as the antithesis to that culture. We had several conversations discussing this in the abstract but we never took the time to put it down on paper. We convinced ourselves this loose definition was enough and that we could move on to higher priority tasks in order to prepare for launch.
As we progressed, we found the lack of a clearly articulated brand framework was inhibiting our ability to make decisions and perform even the simplest tasks. How would we write copy for our website? What would we say on social? How would we style our photography? Progress on all fronts was slowing to a halt and we realized we had put off the inevitable for too long. The time had come to sit down and put pen to paper.
Personally, I was surprised at how quickly this became a pressing issue. Keep in mind that we had not launched yet, we were simply building the company foundation and developing plans for the future. Even in this nascent state, we felt the lack of a clear heading to guide us as we navigated decision making and building.
To start, my father and I each wrote a rough version of our brand framework. This part of the process would allow each of us, without influence from the other, to formalize what we had envisioned for Kirsch Supply Co. Thankfully they were not wildly different; a testament to the many conversations we had earlier. The next step was to take those drafts and work to formalize them into a single document that would provide clarity to what the company would become.
Putting our core values, mission, and purpose into a formal document required much more effort than we expected. As founders, we felt we had started a company with a clear vision, yet translating that into a cohesive framework to communicate and share with others was no small feat. We spent hours discussing, drafting, and revising before we arrived at something that felt complete and powerful.
When starting this brand, it was not always obvious that we would have a well-defined purpose, vision, and set of core values to share with our community. Once we began drafting those values it quickly became clear this would be something we would be proud to stand beside and communicate out to others. One way we are communicating it is through this blog post. Another is by creating a dedicated space on our website, the “why we exist” page, where customers can find our origin story, vision, purpose, and values.
We are a young company and we are learning. The brand framework as it exists today is meant to be a starting point to guide us through this initial phase. It may not be perfect but it has helped us tremendously. It is also not set in stone. One of our current core values is to improve every day. If we are to follow that tenet, then it is guaranteed that as we mature and learn we will update this document to match the spirit of the company.
Thanks for reading! If you are considering starting a business, I highly recommend taking the time out to go through this process. It will save you headaches in the future.
Also if you have any feedback, let us know. We would love to hear from the community.
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