How Corporate Values Can Help You Win Big With Customers
CEO at Bazaarvoice, the leading provider of product reviews and user-generated content (UGC) solutions.
As brand trust and loyalty plummets, shoppers are interested in so much more than just catchy jingles, attractive branding, competitive pricing or even well-made and reliable products. What they’re really on the hunt for is a brand that acts in tandem with their values–on matters such as diversity, equity and inclusion, sustainability, nonprofit involvement and corporate giving. They are increasingly trying to spend consciously and support brands that support causes near and dear to them. In order to get them to spend with you, you need not just talk the talk but walk the walk and take action that supports the corporate values your company claims.
The call for diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) may be louder than ever. Sadly, it is years of injustices that have led a majority of organizations to make DE&I an intentional and focused part of their business conversations.
Diversity can create an inclusive workplace culture and successful teams that businesses need to thrive. Moreover, it’s something that your current and prospective clients and customers are looking for. If you’re in the B2B space, your clients may even score their vendors with a DE&I rating, which will determine if they choose to renew with you or do business with you in the first place.
In order to build a successful DE&I strategy in your business, there are a few suggestions I’ve written on previously. First, encourage your employees to play an active role in the creation and execution of the strategy. Second, communicate the “hows” and the “whys” of everything you do in the space and ensure as much transparency as possible. And lastly, make everyone more aware of the aspects DE&I covers by providing as much information and training as you can, starting from your new hire orientation, to recurring speaker series or informational sessions, to managerial training on the subject.
Another growing business need is sustainability. This can mean being more environmentally conscious with your products, packaging or how you handle waste in your corporate offices. People are becoming more and more aware of and concerned about their impact on the environment through their consumption. They’re looking for more environmentally-friendly options in their purchasing, and they’re willing to pay a premium for it. According to research, consumers of all ages are now willing to spend more on sustainable products.
Even if you’re in the B2B sector like me and not selling physical products, there are ways for your company to be more sustainable. For example, my office swapped cans of seltzer water in our kitchens for machines that produce the same thing to cut down on aluminum bottle usage. We also started gifting newly-planted trees to our new hires in lieu of wasteful “swag.”
Governments and regulatory bodies around the world are also becoming more concerned and are starting to create laws and regulations that will make sustainability the only option. For instance, earlier this year, Canada banned single-use plastics. Making sustainability part of your business strategy will not only help you stay within these regulations, but it will win your customers. And it’s the right thing to do.
Corporate Social Responsibility
One thing that shoppers are paying attention to about businesses is where companies donate and how they assist their communities. If corporate social responsibility (CSR) isn’t already part of your business plan, fix that ASAP. Consumers and customers want to support businesses that, in turn, support the communities and demographics that keep them running.
Beyond just donations, you should take action as well. Try getting your employees involved in volunteer efforts. It helps to provide them with fulfillment just as much as it helps the communities or organizations they’re serving. For example, my company hosts an annual event where employees from our offices around the world commit their time to help out local nonprofits.
No matter how good your products or services are, they may be tough to sell if your company doesn’t have strong corporate values to go along with them. Today, what you stand for is just as important as what you’re selling. By investing time, funds and infrastructure on initiatives such as DE&I, sustainability and CSR, you’ll show your current and prospective consumers that you’re not just trying to make a quick buck—you’re invested in your community, employees and customers. That type of commitment is what they want to spend their money on.