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Drift Branding workshop with multiple team members and clients looking at post it notes.

Core Values Help Define and Refine

5 min read

Recently we reevaluated what was important to us over here at Drift and asked ourselves a few questions.

  • Why are we different?
  • What do we care about?
  • What do we consider success?

Through-out this process of reflection we found that some of those answers were things we were doing already and some were things we were not doing. So we redefined our Core Values to reflect our discoveries. Now we’re in the process of implementing the discoveries.

Here’s how we developed our Core Values.

Step 1. Define Your Ideal Culture

Your organization has a purpose. What is it? If you sell a widget, is your only purpose to get that widget into the hands of your customers? Is that really your only purpose? No – because there are many other things to consider. What’s that experience like for the customer? What’s your team’s experience like for producing, selling, working with, delivering, that widget? What’s the experience of the leadership through-out that process? What are the experiences of the communities your organization is a part of? The culture of your brand directly affects all of the internal and external experiences. Speaking of brands, you might want to learn more about brands first.

Step 2. Organize & Label

Now you have an idea of what your company culture should feel like. Organize these thoughts into a list of actionable directives and divide/group the directives into unique categories. Develop original titles for each directive. Consider keeping these titles short, 1-5 words is plenty. These should be memorable and easy to share. The titles should encourage action. Use verbs to help instill a sense of momentum and action. This will help your core values from becoming just words on paper. The number of core values is up to you and your organization. 2-3 core values might work great for one company and another may need 10. We went with 10 because one of our core values is basically to go hard or go home. 

Step 3. Describe

Not quite done yet. You want these to be effective. Start by defining what each of these core values mean. 2-4 sentences about each one is plenty. This just provides an opportunity to really explain what is expected. Something that probably can’t be done with a short title. This can be more aspirational, but it should give a good definition for someone unfamiliar with the brand.

Step 4. Implement

In order to make a difference in your organization, your Core Values must have a way to measure success. You need to provide examples and suggestions for how to implement each of the values. Otherwise, all of the work you put into creating them will quickly be forgotten.


Below are the Drift Core Values – our guidelines for the always evolving Drift culture.

1. Never Stop Exploring.

As team members, encourage personal & work growth at every opportunity. Help make the Drift space a place of discovery and innovation. Your passions are what help define the Drift culture.

Implementation: Ask each other more questions. Read. Learn new tools/skills outside of your speciality. Have hobbies and share them. Teach each other. Be experts. Third Friday of every month is a time to learn from a team member at lunch.


2. Find your happy place.

Strive for a healthy balance of work & play. Work should feel like a part of life, not something getting in the way of life. Always speak up if things aren’t awesome.

Implementation: Play games, go disc golfing, hang out, & laugh about stuff. Encourage spontaneous “breaks” while being considerate of all project deadlines. Celebrate the completion of big projects and little ones. 


3. Work Smarter Not Harder.

Be on the hunt for opportunities to work more efficiently and communicate more clearly. Keep up-to-date about the tools, best practices, standards, etc. in your field. Rely on the team and your own creative prowess. Trust the process.

Implementation: After every project, ask yourself, “How could this have been done differently so that I could have been more efficient or produced better results?” Then take action and help implement those changes. Push yourself to try different approaches to the same problem.


4. Drifters, Mount up.

Always seek opportunities to unite one another. Drift is a team, anyone’s idea is everyone’s idea. Everyone deserves everyone else’s best. Our creative strength comes from each of us as a whole. 

Implementation: Be considerate of each other’s situations outside of work. Avoid isolating anyone in conversation or activity. Avoid using “I” or “me” when referring to anything Drift related. Instead use “we”, “us”, or “drift team”. This applies to internal and external communication.


5. Think Biggest.

Never let the size of our geographical location limit the potential client or project we set our sights on. Always find ways to elevate the level of our work for our clients and for us. Never compare ourselves to “local” competition. Always compare ourselves to agencies in Dallas/Houston/LA/New York/Earth.

Implementation: Never think small. Try the impossible. Fail. Try again.


6. No Idea Too Weird.

The more freely ideas can flow, the more effective we are as a team. Drift hopes to foster an environment of openness, freedom and diversity. No one should feel worried about suggesting an idea, thought, belief, passion, etc., for fear of embarrassment or criticism.

Implementation: Be aware of unthoughtful feedback within a group – always be positive. Sarcasm, condescension or belittling (even in jest) should never be used within our team, but especially not during a collaborative session. Find ways to turn negatives or impossibilities into positives and opportunities. Be open minded about unusual approaches.


7. Our Powers Combined!

Every new partnership or collaborative opportunity helps Drift broaden its reach. These opportunities help shift perspectives, unlock new ideas, and ultimately help produce better results for our team, and our clients.  

Implementation: Diligently seek after other experts, teams, organizations, and find ways to join forces on projects. Make up projects if that helps create opportunity. Connect with other creative communities.


8. Raise the Volume.

So you’ve learned some stuff. Now share it. Find ways to give back to students, colleagues, professionals, clients, etc. Within your own communities, drift communities, local communities, regional communities, etc., share your thoughts, ideas, drift culture, knowledge, etc. Be the experts, but do it with humility. Be confident, but not cocky.

Implementation: If you share work, share the insights and strategy, not just pretty photos. Emphasize the value and the return versus “cool” graphic design. Always find ways to share the drift experience with others. Continue to share/speak with community and creative groups/organizations. Create videos, blog posts, social posts, etc. and share experiences, lessons, failures, tricks, tips, etc.


9. Pay it Forward.

Drift is a member of many communities. Find ways to give back. Look for opportunities to do simple, thoughtful gestures within the office, near the office, in the community, to our clients, etc. Help out when and where we’re able to.

Implement: Find a numerical value for how often, as a company, we want to do nice big things. And do nice small things as much as possible. Never use to promote Drift. Do it because we’re nice people and we care.


10. I Just Called to Say I Love You.

Our one job is to serve our clients by helping them be more successful. Find ways to promote our clients and share their successes. Always be grateful and show our appreciation for their partnership.

Implementation: Send personalized thank yous in the mail. Share their content on social media. Spread the word about them to other clients and friends. Use their products. Support them in any way that we can.


Questions? Shoot us an email: hello@driftingcreatives.com

Interested in learning more about our branding? Check out: Brand Strategy Lessons we Learned from the Financial Industry


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