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Why you need to know your clients’ core values before starting a new project

Articulating the core values of your client’s brand can help them attract, retain and thrive with not just any clients, but the ones who...

Profile picture of Ido Lechner

7.20.2022

3 min read

Articulating the core values of your client’s brand can help them attract, retain and thrive with not just any clients, but the ones who truly resonate and align with their brand’s innermost beliefs. While clients often view the work to define their core values as secondary to their needs, articulating these values often sets the foundation for any brand or design related services thereafter.


Most clients already operate within their core values, they just need help fine-tuning and expressing them. Once put to paper, your clients can then showcase their best work as a testament to their faith in these values, something that’s sure to instill trust and appreciation among their own clients.


Read on to learn how you can distill your clients’ beliefs into a set of core values they can put to practice to captivate customers. There are some specific ways that agencies can help clients identify and incorporate these values into a given project.


An image displaying a brand’s four core values: innovation, sustainability, accessibility, and reliability.

01. Start by asking, “what does your brand stand for?”

The first step when engaging with any project is to help the client understand what their guiding principles are. This can be done through a series of workshops, interviews or focus groups. Before you can begin to define your messaging, strategy and creative, you’ll need to consider the company’s raison d’etre (a.k.a their ‘reason for being’).

  1. Ask them to identify peak moments that led to the company’s inception – times that created a sense of urgency. What made these moments so impactful?

  2. Help them break down what values are present in these moments and choose the most important ones. For instance, if their peak moments involve moving to a new country to build their brand, they may identify as daring, visionary and adventurous.

  3. Help them break down what values are present in these moments and choose the most important ones. Prioritize the top values into a hierarchy of most important to least important. Write out the top 5-7 values as a statement, such as, “To me, success looks like changing the lives of my customers for the better”.” Once articulated, help your client uphold these values by integrating them into their creative processes. Have them refer back to these values often, and be sure to include them on their website.

  4. Once articulated, help your client uphold these values by integrating them into their creative processes. Have them refer back to these values often, and be sure to include them on their website.


02. Make sure your client understands their audience

The second step is to understand the customer – and this ties back to step one since it will inform how the brand fills a need (or want). Who is the target for this product? What do they care about? What motivates them? What are their needs and wants? Once your client has a clear understanding of their target customer, they can begin to develop messaging that resonates.


This is where classic storytelling techniques come in handy, things like “show don’t tell,” have an enemy and a hero, use conflict and the element of surprise. In this case, ‘changing the lives of customers for the better’ can be given a short form narrative arc to bring these values to life. Having a brand style guide can also help your client align their design efforts internally and externally.


An image showing metrics for a brand’s photo of a new product.

03. Amplify their values to deepen their connections with customers

The final step is to help companies keep their brand values front and center in all of their marketing initiatives. This could mean developing an overarching campaign that showcases the brand values in action or creating individual pieces of content (blog posts, social media assets, etc.) that reinforce what the brand stands for.


You can also incorporate trusted influencers into a client's marketing and promotional campaigns or help them create brand experiences that are memorable and unique. But it all starts with understanding what the customer wants and needs (transparency, purpose, reliability, advocacy, etc.) and aligning the brand messaging, strategy and creative to deliver on those expectations.


Achieve better client outcomes

When it comes to creating strong emotional connections with consumers, agencies have a big role to play. By helping clients focus on the core values of their brand and what makes them unique, you help set your clients up for a project's success.


A strong focus on core values improves project performance by honing in on your brand’s unique perspective, as well as outcomes that offer measurable benefits to your client (increased brand trust, more sales, customer loyalty and improved brand equity.) It also increases your own value—and differentiation—as an agency, and can lead to more successful, long-term relationships with your clients.


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