September 01, 2015

What Do You Stand For? Your Consumers Are Asking

Some familiar idioms epitomize the values marketers would like consumers to associate with their products and services, such as “treat others the way you want to be treated” and “sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same.” Incorporating the ideals these phrases represent into your business culture provides guiding principles for employees—especially those interacting with customers. And when we show consumers that we are governed by good principles, ethics and values, we inherently appear trustworthy and reliable to them.

As it turns out, executives want to work with companies that exude these kinds of characteristics. Sixty percent of executives recently surveyed by Fortune Knowledge Group and Gyro said they prefer to do business with companies that are intent on doing what’s right, even when it doesn’t necessarily maximize revenue. What’s more, the study revealed that 81 percent of respondents agreed that companies that are successful at building long-term relationships connect their beliefs to how they conduct business.

These findings should challenge marketers who want to extend their reach beyond traditional brand messaging to consider the values their organizations represent, and how they can effectively promote these values to partners and customers alike.

Here are a few ways marketers can more effectively incorporate corporate culture, beliefs and personality into their content to make their brands become more relatable and authentic to prospective customers and partners:

Don’t shy away from the truth: While you don’t want to appear offensive or insensitive to others, don’t shy away from being truthful about your organization’s values and the beliefs for which it stands. Confidently proclaim your truths via content—for example, submit a PR about a potentially controversial cause you support or a blog from your founder containing his or her thoughts on a historic moment or scandal. When you showcase your corporate personality as a unique differentiator, customers will be drawn to your brand.

Be proud of your roots: Eighty percent of surveyed executives believe that “a company’s biggest idea is often the one upon which it is built.” So, create and share custom content that speaks to this central founding idea of your organization, whatever it may be. After all, it only takes one seed to take root for an entire garden to flourish. Water that “seed” with custom, original, sharable content and watch your plantings rapidly grow.

Don’t be afraid to set (and share) high goals: According to the survey, 98 percent of customers say that a company mission statement is a good thing—even if that mission involves goals that are difficult to achieve. The fact that you’re setting your sights so high shows customers that you are not afraid to break barriers or even to fail sometimes, which will likely drive a positive emotional response toward your company. Furthermore, 85 percent of companies are sharing their purpose and values with their key stakeholders more than they were five years ago. To keep pace, reinforce and share your company’s mission and goals through the content you create—whether it’s redesigned Web copy, a weekly blog series penned by your CEO or a monthly e-newsletter that recaps ways in which your company is progressing in its goals.

What does your company stand for? Are you ready to answer this question with the content that you produce?

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