So let’s break it down for you here – company core values are what a company believes in, fights for and is thus (hopefully) represented in their actions. And having your core values represented online is a 2020 necessity. For example, when Colin Kapernick took a knee in 2016 to combat police brutality and then Nike did a campaign with him many called it ‘Modern Corporate Social Activism” which it was – but it also emphasised that they don’t stand for police brutality, and they aren’t afraid to make people angry in doing so. It made consumers who also don’t stand for Police brutality feel an intimacy and alignment with the already megalithic brand. Thus, a union was cemented and perhaps new unions between consumer and company were formed through showing values online through advertisements.
Showing your company’s core values online can change a brand’s whole persona. Look at Kim K, her brand went from talentless sex scandal socialite to Philanthropic almost lawyer who fights for Prison Justice reform and is one of the most respected celebrities of our time! Now THAT’S how to leverage your core values online!
In a time of social media and “cancel-culture” having your core values present in your brand and its online values is probably the most important element to success. Gen Z and Millennials are the most conscious consumers the world has experienced thus far, they care what they invest their time, money and cultural capital on, so keep on scrolling to find out how you can appeal to this market by leveraging your company core values online.
What are “Brand Values”
Brand values are as important to a business as the air we breathe (or the cocktails we drink!). Values stand at the very core of your brand from which your brand’s look, message, and relationships. 30 years ago no one really cared about ‘brands’ let’s be honest – it was all about making money and looking the other way *cough cough* Abercrombie and Fitch *cough cough*. But, values online were nowhere to be seen because…well…”online” didn’t exist!
However, in the past few years the industry has seen a huge turn in consumer behaviour, the emphasis on being a ‘conscious’ consumer has reigned supreme with the onset of Millenials and Gen Z who try to align themselves with brands that reflect their own values. Be that, cruelty free, vegan, sustainable or charitable. In fact, a 2019 report by Forbes Magazine noted that 62% of both Gen Z and Millennials prefer to buy from sustainable brands.
Circling back to the Abercrombie Fitch Snafu, after their CEO Mike Jeffries made comments about not wanting fat, ugly people to wear AB&F, his brand took a reputation nose dive going from making a revenue of $4.5 Billion dollars in 2012 to 11 straight quarters of loss of sales. His core demographic did not pick up what he was putting down, they were a brand of exclusivity at a time where inclusivity was trending. You might be thinking, why are we talking about a brand that is now only worn by suburban 13 year olds at their first “boy-girl party”? This is a precautionary tale of not caring about what your consumers think of you. Not nurturing the right company core values online and pivoting with the time. Although we will say….we think everyone misses the hotties standing outside the flagship store on Oxford street!
But let’s talk about some companies that got it SO right! At Monumental we’re suckers for some LGBQT+ love, and Absolut Vodka really stands out! In the 80s they established that the (then) LGBT community were trendsetters and made up a large portion of their consumer base, because of this they started targeting advertising directly to them, something that was never done before. They also started hosting events in gay bars, donations to charities and causes, outdoor advertising and, more recently, sponsorship of a TV series on the Logo cable channel, RuPaul’s Drag Race.
Even though they took on a “controversial” alignment at the time, they are the number 2 top selling Vodka brand in the world. Over the years, their LGBTQ+ charity donations have amounted to over $40 Million Dollars. Thus, they showed their cards and consumers responded to it in a positive way.
Why are Brand Values important online?
“The future of our businesses in the digital age hangs on understanding the mechanics of how trust is built, managed, lost, and repaired online.” – Brandon West
A company’s online persona is EVERYTHING in the age of social media, an amazing brand presence online can make or break a company. For example, instagram is the GO-TO research centre when we hear of brands these days. For example, 200 million Instagram users visit at least one business profile daily and in a study conducted by Instagram they found that 62% of people are more likely to be interested in a brand after seeing it in stories. So if they stumble upon your instagram, see a post about killing kittens…chances are they’re going to swipe right and move on to a delightful cat video. However, if they see you have done a collaboration with their favourite influencer who’s main niche is vegan/cruelty free (or even if that influencer just follows you) there is an automatic sense of trust between the consumer and the brand through their online values. These micro-signs of trust build and build to create a brand.
How to do it
On Social Media:
Social media has become the ultimate cornerstone of brand authenticity and transparency online , and it now serves as a vital channel to show your company culture.
- Share your values online
- What your mission is, what you care about, what breaks your heart.
- Messaging and Tone of Voice
Are you a tongue and cheek company that relates to young consumers in your pushing the envelope vernacular? Great! Show it in your instagram captions and direct messages. When replying to a brand’s instagram story and getting a reply it creates a personal friendship between the follower and the brand, lodging a positive feeling into the subconscious of the consumer, they think – hey, this is a brand who cares about me.
Marketing people should be asking themselves these kinds of questions:
- What is my company’s personality?
- If my company was a person, how would they talk?
- How does my company make my clients feel?
- What is my audience’s “language”
- What does my company care about?
- What causes do we want to support?
- What do our customers care about?
- How do we do all the above authentically?
Focus on your people!
Who you hire says a lot about your company, they are your best assets! As Kim Kardashian does… show them off! A great way to do this on Instagram is have an “About Us” Highlight, put your money where your mouth is in terms of diversity, if that’s something your company authentically believes in! Make sure the photographs are personal and show off your staff members “personality”, no one likes a generic stock photo of a bunch of smiling employees by the water cooler, “creative”! Want to go a step further? Get each staff member to come up with a unique quote that embodies their spirit, these are all little pieces of the brand puzzle that when slotted correctly make one hell of a picture to potential customers, partners and even future employees! Check out the Monumental Instagram to check out how we do it!
You don’t just have to donate money, you can donate time! For example, aside from donating monetary funds, Wells Fargo also offers a willing workforce of volunteers, as well as the pro bono provision of its own services. Or give your staff extra paid “Charity days” that they can take! Salesforce gives their staff 7 paid charity days as well as has an initiative that they match whatever the staff members raise for a charity!
In the Press
Having your CEO do interview with magazines, youtube series, news segments that align with your own values is amazing for 3 reasons.
- It doubles down on your own companies values
- Creates a stock of tangible evidence of your support specific causes.
- Gets your brand in the press! It’s a WIN WIN WIN! For example, check out this article written by our Monumental Marketing CEO Jamie Love where he did a piece in the Marketing Gazette about Diversity in a Marketing Team!
Last but not least, put your money where your mouth is!
There are many ways to show you care rather than just talk about – a great way starts with actually donating! For example, give money to charities that align with your values, or a percentage of your profits each month or year. Additionally, have a head of philanthropy (make up the role!) they decide where your proceeds go – they can also be a marketing manager but again it’s all about how to build your brand! Last but not least – take the ball into your own hands and start your own charity under your company name! You want to get your company noticed for their philanthropic endeavours! Like this article Career addict wrote on the 10 most giving companies in the world – now that’s a piece of press you want to be included in!
Patagonia is a top 5 company on the Axios Harris Poll (whilst the U.S Government currently ranks bottom at 100 – sorry not sorry Trump!).. Through the brands “living its purpose” mantra shown through their top notch customer service of lifetime warranties and 100% customer satisfaction, as well as the firm’s proven dedication to the environment by its yearly donation of 1% of total revenue every year to eco-focused organisations. Their “1% for the planet” initiative has resulted in over $89 million cash donation to grassroots foundations since 1985. Now that’s a reputation that’s hard to tarnish! The result is that it is the go-to adventure sports brand (as well as a trendy fashionable get up for all the #warehouseravesyah!
So, there you go, creating an online presence of company core values is of the utmost importance these days, they can make or break a company. The next time you are posting on instagram, creating a social strategy, responding to comments or signing a deal with an influencer, really question the alignment of your brands and values. And you can thank us later! Of course if you want to know more about what we can do for your brand, just get in touch!