Whether you are a brand or an individual, the ability to achieve success is built on a foundation of 3 decision-making filters:


Your core values are the things that you believe in. They define you or your brand in terms of what you think is important.  Think about your own core values. If you are thinking things like HONEST or TRUSTWORTHY, throw these out. These are table stakes.

Coke has done a great job in defining their core values. Regardless of what you may think of their products, these values are rock solid and provide a great filter how to act: from Coke’s point of view, does what we do or offer embody these values: uplifting refreshment, universal connections and stubborn optimism?

Your core values guide your behavior. Knowing what your core values are helps you know how to act with consistency and focus.



Too often, we see brands try to differentiate based on WHAT they do. “WHAT” you do is not something special. There are many others who do what you do.  It is WHY you do what you do that makes you special.

When you articulate why you do what you do, it allows you to stand out from the crowd in a way that cannot be copied.

Nike sells shoes – that’s what they do. But, so does Reebok, adidas and many other brands. Nike differentiates itself based on why – and that is a philosophy to bring innovation and inspiration to every athlete in the world. This WHY guides their marketing and product development to focus on who you are and who you want to be – which in turn leads to success because they are able to create a powerful connection between the brand and consumers that has nothing to do with the shoes or the WHAT they do.



Your Mission is about your aspiration for your future and how to act to bring this to life today. Having a strong mission provides you with a clear path to follow. It brings together the future and the present. Too often, we see brands stuggle to be succesful because they are only focusing on the future or the present in isolation.

Starbucks mission is to inspire and nurture the human spirit, one person, one cup, one neighborhood at a time. This filter aligns employee actions with the hopes of the brand. Future goals married with present actions.

Think about what your mission is and ask yourself if you daily actions are advancing you to realizing your goals and if the answer is no, then you are limiting your own chances for greater success.

In summary, remember the key decision making filters for success are three things: articulating and acting on your core values, defining your point of difference based on why you do what you do and acting in a way that marries your future goals with your daily actions.

Big Squirrel is a brand consultancy that fuels curiosity and wonder about people, culture and brands.

We are happy to answer any questions or help you or your brand find greater success!