Now more than ever businesses need to align their company values with those of their customers.
It just makes sense.
Customers respond best to corporate cultures that mimic their own. So for the marketing with your shop, what can a potential customer tell about you?
Is there any substance there, or is the only thing you are promoting is the fact you can decorate a shirt? These days, there is a mountain of evidence that points to the success of value alignment with your customers.
For example, let’s look at Patagonia. Everything about that brand screams their mission which is to celebrate and protect the environment. As the company makes and sells clothing to be worn while in that same environment, there is a direct connection. It is so strong that even wearing a Patagonia shirt or jacket instantly helps identify you with the promise of taking care of the planet.
In 2017, Patagonia connected with about $750 million dollars in sales annually. Aligning with what your customers care about definitely works.
So for your shop, how can you build a culture that exemplifies that idea to customers can easily understand?
Let’s map that out with three ideas.
First – Relevancy
The first idea is one of relevancy. Is your idea even on the radar with your customers?
For example, let’s say that you love the idea of promoting the notion of feeding the homeless in another country. That’s a great and fantastic cause. Truly worthwhile. But, will your customer base align with that if you are mainly doing local businesses and area schools?
But what if you repositioned that idea where you start with supporting local food banks and homeless shelters in your own community, and a smaller portion of that goes to another countries relief efforts? It’s not that the first idea was any less noble or worthy…but to tie it into your business you need to hook what matters most to your customers.
Otherwise, the objective won’t grow the legs that you want it to have.
One of the greatest aspects of the InkSoft stores platform is the ability to use the tool as a fundraiser. This directly links your objective, helping out your customers, with an easier way to raise money for what matters most to them.
Now, that’s relevant!
Second – Lock In Values
Everyone in your shop needs to be behind what you are promoting as your company culture. When you roll something out, make sure that everyone can understand what’s going on.
From top to bottom, your efforts can be undermined if someone acts in a way that is incongruent with what you are marketing.
Cause marketing is all about the deep need for helping that connects everyone. If you aren’t connecting and taking action as a team, then your efforts can come across as fake or as a cheap sales ploy.
So, are you walking the walk in your shop?
For example, let’s use that feed the homeless idea as an example. Does everyone in your company participate in that with real activities during the year? Is that shown on your website or social media? People really want to know that you are behind things like this and not just giving lip service and stroking a check.
Be authentic in your actions.
Third – Be Consistent
As probably everyone knows, the hardest part about anything is simply showing up.
To demonstrate your alignment with your customer’s values, you have to continually feed this with action. You can’t point to something you did three years ago as proof of your accomplishments.
Life is about now.
It’s like that Janet Jackson song, “What have you done for me lately?”
Consistency is what drives that train.
For example, Tom’s Shoes is built on the One for One program that gives away a pair of shoes for every pair of shoes purchased. That’s consistency in action. With that, they have grown a company that sells around $350 million dollars a year in shoes. Their customers love the fact that their shoes help other people. Tom’s makes it effortless by taking care of the work and giving a pair of shoes each and every time one is purchased.
Consistency with your values in your actions is going to drive more business your way, as customers can see the growing benefits of aligning their purchases with what you do. For Patagonia or Tom’s Shoes customers, they see that consistency in everything those companies do on a daily basis.
Think about how you can drive more engagement and consistency in your messaging and actions. What does the bare minimum look like? How about the maximum effort end of that stick?
Talk about this with your team.
What do your customers value? Align with that.
“When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier.” – Roy E. Disney
“Our problem is not to find better values, but to be faithful to those we profess.” – John W. Gardner
“Great people have great values and great ethics.” – Jeffery Gitomer