What’s Marketing Without Values?

Feb 7, 2019 | Marketing, Strategy

“Whole foods, whole people, whole planet” – who would have thought that such a simple message could make such an impact. Co-CEO of Whole Foods, John Mackey said this holistic mission resulted in “more money than you thought possible”. Strategically aligning their employees with company values, Whole Foods managed to drive brand loyalty, leading to an increase in employee performance and business results.

Consumers are driven by their values on both a conscious and subconscious level; from their attitudes down to their purchasing behaviour. Successful brands have shifted from a transaction-focused mindset to a customer-centric approach, prioritizing product development and marketing to be aligned with their consumers’ values. By clearly expressing an organization’s values in their core brand message, you are able to break down traditional purchasing barriers including the risks, unknowns, and concerns that prevent consumers from buying what you offer.

Consumers will pay more for a product when the company aligns with their personal values

Through the research conducted by MWWPR , a new and growing segment of the population emerged, coined “Corpsumers”, who are reshaping relationships amongst businesses and consumers. Attributed to a third of the population, this segment actively seeks brands and products that reflect their personal values. Not only are they 67% more likely to pay full price for a product with these organizations, but 51% have stayed loyal to an organization despite not being completely satisfied with the products or services.

Take Patagonia as an inspiration, an international outdoor apparel powerhouse that has centered its brand on environmental activism. Their iconic “Don’t Buy This Jacket” campaign showed all the environmental costs associated with purchasing their best-selling jacket, encouraging consumers to buy second-hand. Although seemingly contradictory to the bottom line, their honest tone emphasized Patagonia’s values – and – led to an increase in sales. Patagonia has built a community of consumers connected by their shared love for the environment and an active effort to protect it.

Three tips to create meaningful connections through value-led marketing

Assess what your brand and organization stand for.
Take a good hard look in the mirror and ask yourself the tough questions; What values does your brand stand for? What sets you apart? It may sound easy, but defining an organization’s core values can often mimic the complex and overwhelming self-discovery journey. It’s important to dig deep and uncover the truths of your organization, so you can authentically resonate with consumers. Take advantage of this reflective opportunity to revisit your purpose statement and core values to ensure alignment.

Understand your core consumers’ values.
Once you have established your core values, make the effort to listen to what your core target audience want. Don’t assume you know them – invest in primary or secondary research to conclusively understand their values and inspirational personal identities. By acquiring a deeper understanding of customer’s underlying motivators, and prioritizing company and consumer values above price or product features, you will be better equipped to make strategic decisions in your marketing plan to win consumer hearts and minds. 

Clearly articulate the connection.

The objective of value-based marketing is to reveal, define and memorialize information and insights to construct a bridge that connects your brand to your desired customers. In order to construct a structurally-sound bridge, it is imperative to be inclusive with all stakeholders within your company’s context, such as your leadership team, employees, strategic partners and of course the consumer. Companies must authentically demonstrate, both internally and externally, what they stand for and why. By doing so, you will not only retain and attract more customers, but accumulate a community of brand advocates.

Marketing strategies are transforming to incorporate company’s core values to create deep and meaningful impact in the intended target audience’s lives. With that being said, the measure of success is not profit, but rather the wealth of the experience itself, and the strengthening of the brand value with the story of each customer.

By: Jackie Muru

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