We’ve just been through a hefty rebrand (you may have heard us mention it once or twice) and, for us, that didn’t just mean a lick of fluorescent paint and a stop at Companies House for a name change. We didn’t want a quick refresh, we wanted to rally behind revitalised positive, inclusive, and creative cultural practices which will be reflected in everything we do, from how we collaborate to the details of our product and our customer-first service.
Instead of going on a passionate ramble about how values can impact a business and how easy it is to get values wrong or to get no value from your values, I’ll open with the values we landed on. Then we can get into the rambling.
The importance of brand values
Brand values, when done right, can become catalysts for progress, tools for empowerment and cultural enrichment, and provide a cohesive direction for all teams and development. Importantly, they also complement our vision and mission as a company by reflecting and embracing the sentiment behind them.
Mission: build game-changing embedded lending technology, maximising access to fair credit.
Vision: drive permanent positive change within the credit industry.
To be done right, however, they have to be authentic. There are a hundred values we could have chosen that sound cool, a hundred which mimic huge tech success stories and aspirational brands, and a hundred more that describe the perfect business but are kept in a cute little doc in a forgotten save file, only rolled out for presentation decks to investors and the occasional all-hands. In short, there are a thousand meaningless words you can attach to your business and never act on, values that contradict what you have actually built and the people you have built it with.
These are vanity labels and they have no impact. They’re the reason company values can have an icky stigma amongst employees - they’re saccharine and insincere. They give of the same vibes as companies that say their team is a family but ultimately treat them as data on a sheet, bums on seats.
Good brand values take what you have and distill it into the best version it can be. They don’t create barriers, contradictions, and resistance, they enhance processes and enable buy-in. For us, they give power and autonomy to teams and individuals. They positively unify a business and its output.
The above values weren’t the first we considered. There were values we wanted but when we really pushed ourselves to question if they were erring more on vanity than authenticity, we stopped ourselves from falling into the trap of empty platitudes.
We had already done a lot of corporate soul-searching leading up to developing our brand values. When working with Design Studio, the creative agency we partnered with on our rebrand, there was a lot of introspection and dissection from the entire team: Why are we who we are? What makes Fluro (then Lending Works), Fluro? What drives us? Identifying why our USP is our USP. Taking time to properly elucidate the ethics driving our mission and the nuances that have arisen in the decade since Nick and Matt started the business…
A lot of this stuff goes unspoken and should be revisited regularly.
One pleasantly surprising thing this process solidified for us was how closely aligned everyone’s perspective was, even in private feedback and anonymous comments across the business. We were a team on the same page. Without having crystallised them as such, Nick and Matt had built a team of people who shared their personal values and work ethic. All that was left was to find the words to succinctly describe what they had already been building towards.
Values represent the ideal, not the unattainable. Our values describe us at our best but they’re not prescriptive or exclusionary. We don’t want to build a team of carbon copies, we want everyone to know that they’re supported in their own individual approach or style and that their interpretation and application of our values is equally as valid as any other. Our values embrace the spirit of Fluro and our passionate team, and they provide a framework within which to develop business initiatives and career development.