Brand values are not new-age woo-woo corporate nonsense. Rather these values serve to guide you in your decision-making, client-service, and design choices.
As wedding professionals, you’re working in high-stress situations with clients who expect perfection. We all know that many small things go wrong, but because you’re a consummate pro, your client doesn’t feel like they went wrong.
But have you ever stopped to think why you power through when everything the sound system fizzles out? And is there a deeper reason why people turn to you as a rock of stability and order when the Bride’s dress is torn?
The answer is yes. Being a wedding professional demands a foundation of values. And you’ve already got those values – they’re inherent to you. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be doing this tough job.
Do Wedding Businesses Need To Define Brand Values?
If your values are inherent, why bother to define them at all? There are a number of good reasons to write out your brand values. Not least of which is that it’s motivating to be conscious of what drives you and your wedding business forward.
“Every morning, when I wake up, I know exactly what I’m doing and why I’m doing it. I absolutely love planning events. I love planning parties, but I also consider it an honor to be invited by a family to help plan a wedding and be part of someone’s most special moment in their life.”Kimberly Hicks, RSVP Event Group
Why Values Matter At Crunchtime
I’d like to share one of my favorite examples of how clear values help in tough times.
A while back, I spoke to Desiree May of Leave It To May Events about her values of “open communication with her clients” and a commitment to “make it work.”
I asked her how critical is it to have those values.
“No matter how many things you have lined up and in order as an event planner, in the events world, there is always something that can go wrong. Things change, and you have to just have that creative free spirit. I usually draw out a diagram of the space and note exactly where I want things to be, color-coordinated, and everything. But sometimes, you get to the venue or location, and you have to just go with the flow. Things may not be set up exactly as planned, or a space may be smaller or much larger in person than they seem in photos, so you have to just be flexible.”
“It’s so important to be positive, but it’s also important to be flexible. If you’re not flexible, you’re setting yourself up for failure. When you are flexible, you build relationships, and the outcome is so much better.”Desiree May of Leave It To May Events
To understand how impactful this attitude is, read the full story here: How A Canceled Event Brought Out The Best In One Event Planner.
Brand Values Attract The Right Team
Brand values also attract employees whose values align with yours. And when you’re working with people who care about the same things you do, well, it makes for a productive, rewarding business culture. Even further, it will help your work quality be consistently exceptional.
You can’t be present at every interaction with clients. You’ll need to trust your teammates to make the decisions you’d make yourself. And if everyone on your team understands the business’ values, they’ll have a roadmap of sorts on how to react under pressure. And you can trust that they’ll get things done in the right way.
Brand Values Attract The Right Clients
When you know what your business values are, you’re able to attract clients who value you and your work. Ultimately, this gives you creative freedom because the trust is so much greater.
I’ll let Brandis and Jimmy of Eight One Events explain how their values attract clients who trust them.
“We want to have a good time. That’s our mantra. We want to have these moments of fulfillment and enjoyment in events that we’ve always had, but also with people we enjoy having them with. We gravitate towards the more trusting clientele that aren’t afraid of the out-of-the-box idea every once in a while.”Brandis Protenic, Eight One Events
“If you lined up all our customers, you wouldn’t pinpoint physically what that person is. But they’re all people that I would say have a good time, trust us, and want to be a little edgier than the typical. We have to find a way that still stays true to Eight One when we work with clients, and I think that that’s just a personal touch, having fun and customizing it.”Jimmy Surace, Eight One Events
How To Uncover Your Brand Values
To define your brand values, try and answer some of these questions:
- Why did you choose to become an event professional?
- What drove you to launch your own business?
- When things are difficult, why do you power through?
- What clients do you most love working with?
- Who do you admire, and why?
- What companies turned you off, and why did it leave you with a negative feeling?
- What makes you proud at the end of each day?
- Why did you fall in love with event planning?
Then, when it comes to documenting your band values, keep it simple, actionable, and short. You’re creating your lodestar for your wedding business, so the more precise, the better.
How To Define Your Branding Values
Avoid values like “be creative,” which don’t have much clarity, and focus on how you want to act and how you want others to feel. Action words like “listen,” “respect,” “excite,” and “strive” are better at guiding you and your partners.
For example, being creative can mean anything, but if your brand values include:
- Appreciate the investment my clients make in me,
- Never give up until the lights go out,
- Work with people that make me proud, and make them proud in return.
- Make everyone smile when they walk through the door.
Then you’ll have values that support you through challenges of which there are many. But how many “values” should your wedding business have?
Start with one or two. I’d recommend keeping it fewer than three, simply because it should be memorable and almost automatic. The more values you define, the less authentic it will feel, and all the more challenging to explain to others.
Have Fun With It
Deciding on your brand values can be daunting, but my advice is not to overthink it. You can continually update them, change them and rework them over time. I know a few companies that do this every year. It encourages them to reaffirm those values that stand the test of time and to discover new values within themselves.