Brand Core Values: What Consumers See
Your Brand Core Values
Increasingly, consumers are consciously making purchasing decisions based on brand core values, or the ethics of the products and brands available to them. So it’s not just about the taste of your food or the style of your brand; it’s also about the practices your company follows, the messages it communicates, and the impact it makes on the world.
Suppose you want to better appeal to your customers, improve customer loyalty, and increase total sales. In that case, you need to think like your consumers – and focus on building and promoting brand core values that are attractive to them.
Consumer Awareness of Brand Core Values, Ethics, and More
There are many explanations for why customers make purchasing decisions with the values and ethics of brands in mind. For starters, customers have more access to information than ever before. With a simple Google search or a browse through social media, they can quickly tell how a company operates and compare it to similar companies. If your business negatively impacts the environment or violates social norms in some critical way, they’ll know about it.
Today’s population, especially younger people, also cares more about “big picture” issues like environmental sustainability, social justice, and ethical business practices. But, of course, it doesn’t hurt that there are many such products to choose from that consumers can easily select more sustainable brands without sacrificing quality or spending more.
Whatever the root causes are, the result is the same. If you want your brand to stand out, beat the competition, and attract more customers (and more loyal customers), you need to establish better brand core values.
Corporate Social Responsibility
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is the idea that companies have an imperative to minimize their negative impact and, in some cases, actively work to make a positive impact.
There are many interrelated ideas in this concept.
- Stakeholder theory. Stakeholder theory is the idea that a company has the power to influence more than just shareholders and customers; a company’s actions can positively or negatively affect the world. Accordingly, every member of the world’s population is, in a sense, a “stakeholder,” and they should be considered in your practices.
- Classic CSR. In its traditional sense, CSR requires a company to act ethically wherever possible. That means respecting all stakeholders, partners, and customers, engaging in practices that support a healthy society, and committing to philanthropic endeavors.
- Brand love. When people feel a strong emotional connection to a brand, they experience “brand love.” Following CSR and stakeholder theory can measurably increase brand love, encouraging more product purchases and greater loyalty.
- Brand attitude. Brand attitude refers to the collective sentiments that people have about your brand. Even if people don’t buy your products or don’t understand your business model, they may know your brand name because of the news headlines they read or posts they saw on social media. Accordingly, you should know that even a relatively small action can significantly impact how people see your business.
- Brand fidelity. Brand fidelity is a consumer’s devotion and loyalty to your brand. When customers grow to trust you and appreciate your societal contributions (in addition to your excellent products), their brand fidelity grows.
Ethical Core Values and Considerations for Brands
Obviously, the more “ethical” your brand is, the better. But ethics mean different things to different people, so how do you build brand core values that make a true impact?
- Start with your foundational core values. What is the purpose of your brand? Why does your brand exist? What causes are most important to you, and how can you best change the world? Are there practices or operations you can optimize to have less of a negative impact or more of a positive one?
- Focus on consumer perceptions. Though it may sound cynical, the truth is that ethics and morality are subjective; just because you think a decision is ethical doesn’t mean your customers will feel the same way. Accordingly, to maximize your impact, you should flesh out your brand’s core values with your target demographics in mind. Then, try to see your brand through your consumers’ eyes.
- Offer transparency. One of the worst ethical violations a modern company can make is participating in lies, deceitful messages, or coverups. So even if you make mistakes or conduct questionable practices, operating as transparently as possible is favorable. Instead of ignoring or trying to bury bad news, lean into it; apologize for your indiscretions and make up for them instead of shying away.
- Consider more than just marketing. Marketing and advertising are the best channels to promote and popularize your brand’s ethical practices, but you’ll need to consider far more than just marketing in your brand ethics strategy. For example, get involved with volunteering, think carefully about how you engage with your partners, and treat your staff ethically.
These are some of the most critical areas to focus on when constructing your brand core values:
- Environmental impact. How does your brand impact its environment and the world at large? Do you plant a new tree for each tree you harvest? Do you make a concentrated effort to use sustainable forms of energy? Do you publish an annual sustainability report?
- Social impact. How do you impact the people who work for, with, and around your company? Do you facilitate social justice and practice diverse and inclusive hiring? Do you pay your workers fair wages in amenable conditions?
- Political influence. Certain consumers see supporting controversial political candidates as unethical – and many brands have been attacked for their donations or public support. Be cautious of how your company operates politically.
- Authenticity, honesty, and transparency. Commit to presenting your brand as wholly authentic, honest, and transparent. Attempting to manipulate your audience into thinking your brand is ethical is a fool’s errand.
Do you need help constructing or reinforcing your brand core values? Are you interested in starting a marketing and advertising campaign that communicates those core values to your customers? NewPoint Marketing can help. Contact us for a free consultation today!