Retail Observer

March 2021

The Retail Observer is an industry leading magazine for INDEPENDENT RETAILERS in Major Appliances, Consumer Electronics and Home Furnishings

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RETAILOBSERVER.COM MARCH 2021 42 T he leaders I work with are always thinking about attracting and keeping the right people – in two directions: the right employees for their team, and the right customers through their marketing and sales. Regardless of the size of your industry or your company, having the right people who are fully aligned with your organization separates good companies from the great ones. Our employees and customer prospects alike today have higher and higher expectations of our brands. Your company's values are the linchpin – they're the secret sauce and the through-line bond that ignites an organization into a powerful unified force. A recent LinkedIn survey found that employees would rather receive lower pay (65%) and forego a fancy title (26%) than deal with a bad workplace environment. The survey further showed that employees care about whether companies foster environments where the employees can be themselves (47%) and companies that have a positive impact on society (46%). To realize their business goals and outcomes, organizations need an operating system that ensures the team and its inward and outward efforts are aligned in: • How values influence what the company makes and how it innovates • How values serve the business purpose and all of its stakeholders and customers • How the values define customer service • How the values show up in the way the company markets • How the values create a clear value proposition and loyalty When values are fully baked into the organization, they show up everywhere – inside and beyond the company walls. After all, it's your values – the things you care so deeply about that you'll go above and beyond – that create your value for the customer. And because consumers and businesses do so much research and vetting on the brands they decide to do business with, they're looking for an alignment in values, too. Not to mention that consumers today are especially insisting on knowing and aligning with the values of the brands they buy from. Here's an example. Ben & Jerry's has long been recognized as a company that shows and lives its values. These values include but aren't limited to racial justice, climate change and rights for refugees. Founded by two white guys and owned now by Unilever, the board of directors (referred to as "Heroes for Ice Cream. Hungry for Justice") is a model of diversity. They're big on flavor and huge on advocacy, and loyal customers sing the praises of both. Need some stats on how consumers shop through values? • 64% of consumers around the world will buy or boycott a brand solely because of its position on a social or political issue. (Source: 2018 Edelman Earned Brand study) • 60% of respondents say brands should make it easier to see what their values and positions on important issues are when they are about to make a purchase. (Source: 2018 Edelman Earned Brand study) • 71% of consumers prefer buying from brands that align to their values. (Source: 5W Public Relations' 2020 Consumer Culture Report) Considering all the hard work that goes into identifying and implementing an actionable value system, some companies just won't bother. And they shouldn't, if it's done without full conviction. Halfhearted values can ruin a company's culture and its public reputation. If a company doesn't live up to a stated set of values, it loses market trust. Not only is it 10x harder to regain a customer after you've lost them, it's 20x harder to regain market trust once lost. Just ask some big banks and automotive companies that have been caught up in a scandal. Keep in mind, your brand is your character. Your character is made up of your values, lived consistently and chiseled into the hearts of your audience by your behaviors. Brands also live in the subconscious – we feel them as much as we see them. The best brands connect emotionally to their customers in intangible ways. Because there's a through-line between your organizational values and your customers' purchase decisions, your values create and increase your market value. The more there's an alignment in values between you and your customers, the more valuable you are to them. Also, the clearer an organization is on their values, the more they can clearly identify their ideal customers and how to serve them. Steven Morris is a brand, culture and leadership advisor, author, and speaker. Over his 25+ years in business he's worked with 3,000+ business leaders at 250+ global and regional companies. Discover: RO Steven Morris On Brand THE VALUE OF VALUES How values matter to your team and customers

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