The great people we work with know their subject matter inside out. They know what they do, why they do it and what motivates them. They understand their point of difference and the value they create for others.
However, sometimes, somewhere along the line this information got over complicated, lost in translation, inconsistent in its delivery or in-coherent even.
The work we do at The Change Arc enables our partners to simplify and unlock their communication potential, enabling them to build stronger relationships with employees, customers, stakeholders and broader communities. We follow a structured process to uncover and order a powerful narrative that starts with values and ends with real value
The Power of a Values Based Narrative
Gone are the days of just broadcasting information if you’re looking to move someone to action. We need to connect on a different level, inspire and create a relationship. That’s where understanding and displaying our values adds impact.
Creating a powerful narrative, internally or externally, (they should be connected by the way!) always starts with values. They are more than mere words—they are the essence of identity and purpose. Defining our clear values serves as a compass, guiding our actions and decisions, how organisations and individuals are perceived and judged. All of this sits within the narrative.
Operating with an authentic values based narrative opens up an environment for agreement and common ground, and provides a safe and reliable space for communication to take place.
Values should not be isolated components that management teams circulate after an away day, they should live at the centre of our purpose and relationships with others. When our values resonate with our own purpose and mission, it’s powerful. It can help to fuel a team’s passion and dedication, build an authentic brand, and attract loyalty and connection with others. It will be an issue if not aligned.
I’ve seen this first hand in my previous leadership roles in media . The blessed position many local radio stations hold in the eyes of their listeners and dedicated staff, where there is a relationship of trust. Everyone understands what the station stands for, it matches their personal values and they feel at home. They rely on the music choices the stations select, the personality of the presenters, the vital news and traffic information and connect with the care shown and positive community impact the station champions. This is a privileged position, but also one that can be fragile if actions don’t meet expectations.
I recall a time where an “admin error” (let’s call it that) at an unnamed station aired and an advertisement that was at odds with the values that the station was known for and upheld. The ensuing barrage of complaints (from both staff and listeners) and the general chaos that followed was a big reminder and lesson to all, that values need to guide decision making, and not just be words in a strategy document. I’ve learned a lot crisis comms over the years, which I’m sure will feature in some content at some point 😉.
Values are the backbone of our identity and what we stand for, so are vitally important to our narrative. They create a safe shared space to have dialogue. Leaning in on them can unlock ways to amplify communication value on multiple fronts.
Values help to unearth answers to questions like “Why do we do this?”, “what’s important to us” and “How do we go about our business”. They influence purpose, mission and indeed vision.
Values form part of your brand, shaping brand identity, promise, perception, and differentiation. When values are authentic, aligned with and consistently demonstrated to our target audiences, they foster trust, loyalty, and a unique position.
When customers see a brand living out its values, there’s a deeper emotional connection. Stakeholders, including investors, partners, and the community recognise authenticity and integrity. They trust that your values are not just words, but principles that guide your actions. This trust translates into stronger partnerships, better business relationships, and support. So why wouldn’t we use values in your narrative?
Values also play an important role in connecting colleagues or volunteers into an organisation on an emotional level. When we share common values, belief in what we’re doing and why we are doing it, we grow a sense of common purpose and meaning. Our roles become more important because it’s what we believe in together and understand how the work contributes to our goals.
When these values are clear and aligned, our people become the best ambassadors and marketers for the organisation and we retain and attract the top talent.
In our world, we very often get to understand why teams and volunteers are bought in and energised, and it’s mainly because of shared values. We recently ran a workshop with an inspiring community organisation (doing great work in a pretty challenging environment btw). We asked the team about the values they shared with the organisation and what drew them in to give up their time. There were resounding themes of love, care, hope and positivity. The organisation and team demonstrate these values everyday through their actions in the community, and it’s a match made in heaven.
As part of the further session, we then focussed on linking powerful impact stories of the real world value they create and an extremely powerful narrative emerged.
The link between values and value is a crucial aspect of a narrative missed by many. Customers do appreciate and understand your motivations and what’s important to you as well just what you are offering them.
If you’d like to find out more, please get in touch via social media or drop us a line at www.thechangearc.com. We’ll help you to discover and articulate your values, power up your purpose and brand, and simplify your value proposition to build you a narrative that connects across multiple levels. Authentic, Powerful and Impactful
Iain Fowler is the Co Founder and Managing Partner of The Change Arc, a strategic communications agency and community dedicated to unleashing changemaker potential. After 20 yrs in the media and communications industry, Iain now focuses his time on developing individual changemakers and organisations communication capability and connecting this with strategy to effect positive change.