Nine out of 10 consumers are conscious of their personal values and are prepared to align them to their spending habits. So, when your brand is seen to violate those values, directly or even ‘just’ indirectly through association, they don’t hesitate to drop your company in a heartbeat. The majority won’t stop to investigate the nuances, they’ll blame you. And once they consider dropping you, no apology will ever be enough.
Companies today are experiencing a real awakening when it comes to the importance of living corporate values OUT LOUD. True, you and probably any other company in the US can point to their corporate values on a nice glossy piece of paper or site that describes what they stand for and why. But very few companies truly embrace those values and know how to live them out loud.
But, when 76% of consumers buy products and services based on their values and 82% of them consider dropping a brand whose behavior violates their values, it becomes evident that values on paper are not enough. Consumers expect companies to live their values, to demonstrate them in words, through actions, and especially in moments of high-stakes events when it means taking a stand and maybe going against the grain.
Yet, only 48% business leaders feel that their current communication reflects their core values a majority of the time, and even less, only 31% of senior marketers and 22% of business leaders, feel that their company has core values that would fully guide them during a high-stakes event.
So, what does living your values out loud look like in the modern business world?
Here are my top 3 examples of brands/companies that demonstrate their character consistently and leave no doubt about their stand in high-stakes events.
Adobe has been recognized in Fortune Magazine’s ‘100 Best Companies to Work For’ almost 2 dozen times. And that is no coincidence. Its core values are to remain genuine, exceptional, innovative, and involved. Underlying these values is a commitment to 360 corporate responsibility that fosters community, is inclusive and open, connected and innovative. , Adobe truly lives their values out loud in their communications across channels and in multiple facets. From senior leadership taking a public stance on the multi-generational workplace, to addressing the issue of accessibility for all, to showcasing the diversity and inclusivity of communities everywhere.
Shopify is another shining example of a company who prioritizes their values in everything they do. Placing their emphasis on people, learning and growth, creativity, autonomy and diversity, Shopify actively fosters computing literacy and life-long learning in the community they touch. One my favorite things is to follow their ‘humans behind the brands’ stories that lovingly touch on all aspects of their values – I mean, how inspiring is a 6-year-old founder.
Mailchimp’s values are implicit in their focus on creativity and a healthy work-life balance, plus making the world better, weirder and more human. In tribute to the values, Mailchimp, for example, created an ongoing animated series ‘Outer Monologue’ exploring things like the imposter syndrome and personality through stories. Because we are all human and unique; but not alone in our struggles and efforts.
So, if your core values represent your brand character and company heartbeat, it’s time to live them out loud. In a world where issues such as #MeToo, data security, gender equality and diversity can make or break reputation, be proactive in living your values in a tangible, consistent way.
Don’t know where to start? Download our report on High-stakes Leadership in a Post-B2B World.
Values equal dollars. Marketers take note!