You've got a great product or service, but do your customers know who you are and what you stand for? Consumers want to know more than the date of your next big sale. They want to know who you are, and that information should be built into your website as a core values statement. Your company was founded on something beyond the actual product, and that's what consumers want to know. What do you believe in? What social issues do you support? What values do you hold within the company? What are you committed to? If you don't share your values with the world, you'll generate sales, but you'll struggle to form deep connections that become the roots of loyalty. If you want more than sales, here are 2 reasons to be completely transparent with your values:
1. Customer loyalty is stronger when you share the same values
Your values are important to you, but they're also important to your customers. In fact, shared values are what build strong relationships. In a study performed by Harvard Business Review, 64% of consumers said they form relationships with a brand based on shared values. Only 13% cited frequent interactions with the brand as the reason for the relationship. If that's the case, it's time to reconsider the true value of social media engagement. Rather than engaging in chit-chat with your social media followers, start posting about social issues you're passionate about. For instance, you can discuss topics like ending world hunger, cancer research, or environmental cleanup.
The key is to do more than post links to articles, though. Your fans want to know that you're committed to solving the problems you post about. To do this, you've got to be in action, and unafraid to spend time and money to make it happen. Sometimes it takes an exceptional amount of effort to align your business with your own values. For example, car manufacturers have been producing energy efficient and electric cars, but their buildings haven't been in alignment.
To take their commitment to the environment further, Sun Toyota near Tampa, Florida, took more than 100 steps to become an officially recognized green dealership; achieving the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building certification. They upgraded the windows and lighting to be more efficient, added an environmentally-safe retention pond, and used recycled materials like linoleum made from sawdust. This overhaul cost the dealership plenty of money, but it was an investment in aligning with their values.
2. Businesses with transparent values flourish
Businesses willing to put their values on the table - and get in action - generate more loyalty than those who remain silent. Understandably, you might be worried about losing customers, especially if your core values are controversial. However, when you take a stand for something publicly, even when you lose some customers, you'll gain a massively loyal following from those who share your values.
For instance, Chick-fil-a is just another fast food place that sells chicken. What sets them apart is their commitment to living their values. Their corporate mission statement is, "To Glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us and to have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-a."
Their values are not only transparent; they're lived on a daily basis. In 2014, when a snowstorm hit Birmingham Alabama, a local Chick-fil-a restaurant handed out hundreds of free sandwiches to anyone they could get to. Since they opened their doors in 1946, they've remained closed on Sundays to allow their employees to spend time with friends and family or go to church. The stories published on the Chick-fil-a blog are a testament to the power of transparent values. They don't just post articles about chicken, they post heartwarming stories about real people and their relationships with others.
Another great example of a company holding to, and expressing their values is Dutch Bros. coffee - a $150 million drive-thru coffee chain with a mission to love the world. Their baristas embody those values every day, with each other, and their customers. "We work tirelessly to coach our people up or move them out," says Creative Director Dan Buck. "We try to truly love each other. We repeat that over and over again. Talk about it, practice it, coach it, train it, preach it, and teach it. We mean it when we say it."
If you don't already have a cause you're passionate about, find one you can really get behind. Share it with the world and find a way to get involved.