Company Values: Your Best Defense Against Changing Environments
Adjusting brand strategies to rapidly changing environments has become commonplace for most companies these days. Since the onset of COVID-19, brands have had to shift quickly to determine best ways to stay top of mind with their customers. As communicators, we know to keep a watchful eye on our brands and the audiences who love them. Now more than ever marketers need to make sure connections between brands and customers are authentic, empathetic and of service, all while staying true to the brand ethos.
This is where your company values come in. Company values define and defend the foundation on which your company was built, including the qualities that set you apart, while your brand ethos is what your products do for your customers. Essentially it is your unique story that brings your brand to life and often defines why your customers choose you over competitors. Do you know your company values? Have your written down your brand ethos? According to Gallup, Only 41% of U.S. employees strongly agree that they know what their company stands for, and only 27% strongly agree that they believe in their organization’s values. What’s more, only 26% of U.S. workers believe their organization always delivers on promises made to customers
There’s nothing like a global pandemic to remind us of the importance of foundational work that can keep brands on solid ground. Companies with strong values are less likely to stumble when faced with crises or cultural and social shifts. According to a recent Forbes article, it’s in times like these that a brand’s true self is exposed. “A brand’s core values come to light instantly; as a reflex. For the brands that have a solid foundation in how they treat their customers and employees, it is easier (not easy). For the brands that are posers, retrofitting their values stance is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to come across as believable,” says the author, Paul Jankowski.
Take this time to determine your values and define what your brand stands for. When you do, you can stand strong in times of crises, adjust strategies, and show up authentically with your customers. If your brands are not in sync with what your consumers need right now, it’s easy to understand why they’re confused at the least and even angry with your brand’s response to a crisis. However, with that solid footing you and your team will have the confidence to navigate crises quickly and be a brand your customers know they can turn to for honest guidance. In doing so, you’ll be able to position your company, brand and products against your values and ethos so your consumers want to stand with you in good times and bad.
Tips for Defining Your Company Values:
- It’s a team sport – pull in your colleagues and brainstorm
- Prioritize what matters by asking yourselves questions – what about your company and offerings set you apart?
- Identify and define company points of differentiation
- Get consensus with employees
- Test with key audiences from employees to investors to customers to be sure they bridge company to products and tell your story
Companies with strong values are less likely to stumble when faced with crises. Are you leaning on your company values?
Adjusting brand strategies to rapidly changing environments has become commonplace for most companies these days. Knowing your company values can help.
*The above tips were adapted from a webinar that Double Forte hosted with Women of the Vine & Spirits. Don’t miss our follw up presentation on September 1.