Have you thought about what your company’s values are? We’re here to make the case for why you should.
Not only are company values key guideposts for company culture and business decisions, but they’re a really important part of your marketing strategy, too.
Your values are the personality of your brand. They let customers know what to expect when working with you, and can even inspire them to become stewards of your brand—spreading your good work for you.
For inspiration, here are a few of our brand values:
- Listening: We listen deeply to our clients to alleviate the burdens of their jobs and discover opportunities that will help them reach their goals. We listen to each other to offer support.
- Relationships: We make choices that build relationships, over and above selling marketing strategies.
- Plain English: We use clear language, explain marketing terms, and encourage questions so clients fully understand how they are investing their marketing dollars.
Feeling inspired? 😉
Figuring out your values
Company values can be directly tied to the product or services you provide, or they can be tied to more personal, societal, or environmental values that your business stands for. But they should be specific and clear. If your values are bland or generic, you are missing a big opportunity to inspire your customers, engage your employees, and differentiate yourself.
You’re not alone if this sounds daunting. Literally—you’re not alone. Establishing company values should be a collaborative process with all your employees, who are the ones putting your values into action. Make something fun of it, like Burlington-based Digital Asset Management company Image Relay did in their core values company workshop retreat. Engaging your employees will yield a more robust set of values with much higher team buy-in.
Communicating company values
So now that you’ve unearthed and refined your company values, how do you communicate them and inspire our customers? Here are a few tips:
- Broadcast them for all to hear
Communicate, communicate, communicate. Your customers won’t know what you stand for and care about until you tell them, and keep telling them. Make them easy to find on your website. Write them on your store’s chalkboard. Paint them on your walls. Put them on your menu. Send them in your emails. And talk about them in your blog. You can even use values as a partnership opportunity, collaborating with like-minded organizations through a joint PR campaign around your common values. It’s OK to brag!
- Speak in a language all can understand
If your values are complex or nuanced, remember that not all your customers will be as familiar with your values as you are. Keep it simple, use generally understood terms, and be straightforward. Once you invite your customers into what you care about, you can invite them to learn more.
- Walk the walk
This is where you put your money where your mouth is and publicly act out your values. If customers can’t see you act on your values, they won’t be engaged or inspired by them. If you value environmental sustainability, showcase the eco-friendly practices you have. If you value sustainable food practices, include it in your store’s decor and product packaging (American Flatbread does this well). Make your values known and observed.
- Invite your customers to be a part of your values
Customers get inspired when they feel a part of something. When they have a vested interest and role to play, they are encouraged to talk about your brand or take part in an ambassador program. Make sure your customers know how their dollars are contributing to the values and causes you stand for. Invite them to join in your volunteer or give-back events, which are also a great experiential marketing tool. Make a strong connection through waterway cleanups, adopt-a-dog events, or any civic action that aligns with your values.
Another great way to make your customers feel a part of your values is to simply seek their feedback. If you want to WOW your customers, ask them if you WOWed them, and how you can WOW them better in the future.
- Make it stick
Make your values stick: make them memorable. When your customers hear your name, you want them to think of your values. And vice-versa—when your customers hear about a value or cause you stand for, you want them to think of you. You can make your values stick in many ways. Simple ways include giving your customers an experience they’ll remember, including your values on your packaging, and simply being consistent about your values. Which brings us to the last tip…
- Be consistent
Consistency. Builds. Trust. Consistency shows authenticity and reliability, and showcases your passion for what you believe in. It shows your customers these values are something you care deeply about, helps them trust what you do, and makes you more memorable by cementing your brand and values together in their mind.
As you establish your company’s values, and how to effectively engage your customers around your existing values, remember that it’s an important part of your brand strategy that shouldn’t be neglected. It’s your company’s personality, and what sets you apart.