Core Values  are your identity. They make you unique. Don’t you want to be different? Don’t you want to look, sound, feel and act differently then everyone else in your industry?

Branding experts would say that is what they are for. And they are right. But only partly right. To really create a brand, one that is lived inside, and lived outside….this starts with the culture that we build inside of our companies.  You can have great branding, but it will only be on the surface level if you don’t actually have a culture to match it. The outside appearance will only take you so far.  The moment of truth comes when your customers experience your product or service. Once they experience who you are, will it be a true picture? Does your marketing match who you are? Does it match the product or service your deliver?

In most companies, it doesn’t. Or if it does, it is because the branding is boring and nondescript, and the culture is boring and nondescript. And then you have just a plain, boring company.

This is one way to not only bring your company alive, but also your culture, your purpose and your core values alive. To develop your own language that is unique to you. I like to refer to it as the nice little “package” that we can wrap our culture in.

Southwest airlines is a perfect example. In fact, in my last post, taken from their  “40 Great Lessons Over 40 Years”,  I wrote about Lesson #16 “Create Your Own Language.” For example:

  • Their ticker symbol on Wall Street is “LUV”
  • Their home field is called “Luv Field”
  • They have served “love potions” on their planes for drinks
  • Their passengers are called customers

This may seem like blurring the boundaries between branding and core values. But that is the point. There is no boundary. They are one and the same. A “brand” is simply a promise to your customers and employees. So how do you ensure that your employees deliver on that promise, or at least have the passion to do so, day in, day out?  The answer is your culture. If you have a strong culture that is engaged in your company, your brand, you will deliver with passion. And the foundation of your culture? Your core values.  Another example is Starbucks:

  • The coffee server is a “barista”
  • They renamed small/medium and large to tall. Grande and venti
  • They created names for their drinks like a “frappuccino”

At Nurse Next Door, we began to do this when we realized we had a really strong and unique culture, but our brand didn’t match. I mean, we were successful in the marketplace, we had become a national home care brand across Canada, but we kind of looked the same as everyone else. So we asked “how do we start to match our brand with our culture?”  We have this amazing culture, how do we align, match and leverage it into our brand?”

  • Heart Quarters vs Corporate
  • Care Designer vs Care Manager
  • Its about caring, not just health care (our product)
  • Caring Consult vs assessment
  • Caring guide vs care plan
  • Franchise Partner vs Franchisee
  • Customer vs patient


Inside Nurse Next Door, people are guided by our core values. Now, by giving them the vocabulary, they talk differently. You know that you are in a unique company when the talk differently. You feel the passion, You feel the uniqueness, you feel the pride. And when someone doesn’t “fit” within your culture, they really stand out. They don’t like it. They don’t adapt. They don’t conform. Like at Nurse Next Door. I know when a nurse doesn’t “fit.”  How do I know? When she keeps the standard, industry name “Care Manager.” When a nurse in our company wont call themselves a “Care Designer”, I know we have a wrong fit.