Whether your business is B2B or B2C, your customers should inform every decision you make, be it design, development or features. A customer-first approach ensures long-term success, for both customer relationships and revenue. Formally establishing core business values is key to ensuring your frontline staff live the brand at every step of the process, and sets the scene for prospective customers or employees.

Despite their importance, company values are traditionally handed to employees without context or the opportunity to contribute, particularly in fast-paced environments, when it’s this very culture that pushes businesses forward.

With Local Measure’s forthcoming annual sales conference, we decided in August to formalize our own company values. It was paramount these values were formally established and presented to signify their importance, and the sales conference presented the perfect time.

At this point, a Sydney-based task force assembled. COO Sara, Marketing Director Anne, Head of Design Christian, and Product Designer Luis (me) huddled over a few weeks to pull our values together, through a process traditionally reserved for design projects. This enforced company-wide inclusion, ensuring the values were true to the company they represent.

Good design projects start with user research to quantify the problem and establish tangible outcomes. Our goal was to construct a set of ±7 core values, representing Local Measure’s cultural, social and professional attitudes. A mean feat, but we love a challenge.

In this instance, our colleagues were our users. To reduce leading bias from interviews, Sara chose a Google form to audit opinions, yielding personal values, opinions on Local Measure culture, and most importantly, the company’s spirit animal.

Conservatively, we dedicated an afternoon to filtering through responses.. However, a 10 question survey sent to 40+ people can yield a lot of data; this is where a task force comes in handy.

The easiest analysis method for our qualitative data was categorization. We noticed themes from each colleague response and grouped the similar answers. Acting as editors, we removed generic responses – particularly important to ensure our values were not run of the mill.

With a working formula, we rinsed and repeated until a manageable list arrived. Within a few hours, we’d established 7 strong concepts:

1. Supportive
2. Laugh out loud
3. Punching above
4. Autonomy / ownership
5. No ego
6. Winning mentality
7. Customer first.

With themes agreed, it was time to polish. Anne stepped in to craft a first version of core values, with short punchy headlines and supporting summary sentences.

Anne did a great job, and passed the baton over to the design team for treatment. The three designers spent an afternoon crafting ideas ready for pitching back to the team coming up with very different ideas, from celebrity icons, abstract shapes, bespoke type treatments to an emoji-based design.

We settled on 3 options that complimented the values the best, presenting them to Sara and Anne, with the emoji design coming out on top. Overall, the friendly, light-hearted sentiment matched the tone of voice from the copy of our final values.

Our final list became:

1. Zero ego 🙌
2. Think like a customer 🤔
3. Own it 🕺
4. Punch above 🥊
5. Have grit 🏃‍♀️
6. Laugh out loud 😂
7. Build each other up 🎉

As with any project, the work needed to be presented back to the client – our beloved colleagues. Team captain Sara took this on, presenting at the conference in Vietnam.

The task force waited with bated breath for the reaction and were over the moon to hear the appreciation for the final result. The internal validation for our inclusive approach proved the importance of this iterative design approach to feature development.

This process, used externally, is paramount for fully understanding customer requirements and forming long-term bonds – essential in the fast-paced consumer facing environments that many of our clients are facing.