Knowing your “why” provides you with a firm base from which you can take off, make decisions, and grow. Without such a sense of purpose or knowledge of what you stand for, you’ll be aimless; trying to catch every fad and whims that you come across.
An organization or a business is no different when it comes to requiring such a sense of purpose to guide their future decisions. That sense of purpose is built upon a set of core values.
These values represent what an organization holds absolutely dear and have an overarching impact across everything that an organization does; from its marketing efforts to hiring practices, from how organizations source their supplies to how they treat their customers, etc.
Core values are what shape up the organization’s culture, support the vision, and reflect the company’s identity and beliefs. Without a set of elaborately defined core values, your business is much like a rudderless ship moving every which way the wind blows.
In the contemporary business landscape, with its rapid environmental, technological, and market changes, core values are more important now than they have ever been.
It is common for a business to overemphasize the technical competencies and ignore the underlying core values or philosophy that drives the company and its workforce to achieve those technical competencies.
Identifying and establishing core values will do a number of things for your business; from educating potential customers about your identity and philosophy and helping the company through complex decision making to serving as a recruiting and retention tool and eventually contributing to its bottom line.
Identifying and communicating core values to the stakeholders works in several different ways to impact your sales performance at the end of the day.
Building your marketing strategy around your core values, and branding your product in line with your core values will always have profound business implications.
Let’s explore how establishing core values and then sticking to them will go on to translate into sales.
While a mission statement reveals the purpose of your business, the values will provide you with a moral compass that will guide your decision making to accomplish that mission.
It will have an impact across all areas of your decision-making; your marketing efforts, branding, and promotion will all be in line with your core values. This serves to give potential customers a consistent message.
Thus, potential customers are conveniently educated about the philosophy and identity of the company.
In the fiercely competitive business world of today, if you have a well-established set of core values that can speak to your target audience, it is nothing short of a competitive advantage for you.
This will clearly go on to drive sales in time.
Values and beliefs lie at the heart of most of your daily decisions in life; it’s no surprise, therefore, that those values greatly determine a customer’s purchase decisions as well. In the modern marketplace, openly communicating your values and what you stand for as a business is vital.
The customers who can relate to your core values will tend to develop a fierce loyalty to you or your product. These are the customers that will generate the most business for your company as they’ll stick with you in the long run.
The lifetime customer value and the sales that they will generate for your business are largely a result of your values aligning with this target market’s values.
They are far less likely to be deterred by the changes in the price as long as they see your business consistently sticking to its core values - the ones they’ve come to align themselves with.
Research indicates that 73% of customers will spend more money to buy your product if they have developed that affinity that we call “brand loyalty.”
Your values have a substantial role to play in developing such brand loyalty. For example, take the case of Apple, one of the most beloved brands in modern times. Customers love the brand not because it provides the lowest prices; in fact, it’s quite the contrary.
Apple’s products sell for a premium price, which is almost always greater than that of its nearest competitors. However, Apple has consistently stuck to its core values; providing the best quality products, striving continuously for innovation and focusing on a limited number of offerings.
The result, as we all know, has been Apple’s phenomenal success as a business, driven by a fiercely loyal clientele.
Wearing your core values on your sleeve builds transparency and trust amongst all your stakeholders. Gone are the days when things such as company core values were seen as proprietary information and were kept under wraps.
This allows the customer to see that the company has nothing to hide and that it’s honest and transparent about its motives. One of the primary factors that builds an ordinary brand into an extraordinary one is the element of trust.
Trust also happens to be the basic factor that determines whether a customer will purchase a product or service from you or not.
Businesses today increasingly choose to be transparent and open about their practices with not only their customers but also with their employees and most other stakeholders. In doing so, they also communicate their core values to their employees.
This works in two ways. First, it builds up a family feel within the ranks of the business, which helps to attract and retain the best of human resource.
Secondly, it communicates the values of being open, transparent, caring, and trustworthy to all the external stakeholders, especially your customers.
Another important role that the core values will play is that of defining the company culture.
The company culture plays a substantial role in driving the overall performance of the business since it has an overarching impact across all work areas and guides everyone across the organization towards the organization’s set goals.
Core values and the culture that they shape up serve as the quintessential ingredient in achieving that consistency and predictability that companies aim for.
They also serve as explicit guidelines for the business traits that management seeks to spread in the company.
For example, a core value could revolve around the value of fairness. This could translate into a guideline for everyone in the organization to do the right thing in every situation.
This will mean that no stakeholder will benefit at the expense of the other. Treating every stakeholder fairly will guide everybody’s decision-making across the organization.
A company with a strong culture that revolves around its core values always performs better than one with a weak culture.
Core values shape up the winning culture that drives performance across the organization. This is the mark of a powerful and successful business that people will want to work for and be associated with.
People want to work for a business that stands for something; where established principles govern the organization. Core values are what it all begins with.
The company is able to attract and retain the best of talent in human resource, which then works diligently to contribute to its bottom-line.
As you make decisions in congruency with your core values, you retain your sense of integrity. You move ahead with greater clarity and confidence, which improves your chances of succeeding.
Furthermore, you’ll know deep down that your decision is in the best interest of your business, your customers, and your staff.
However, there will be times where sticking to your core value is not so easy and simple. At times, it may seem, at least in the short run, that sticking to your core values will come at a heavy price in that certain situation.
The below example should serve to clear away your misconceptions.
Modern businesses largely revolve around the old adage, “the customer is always right.” This is true in a brick and mortar setting where the disgruntled customer complains to the shop attendant in person, and face to face.
The dynamics of customer service in the contemporary marketing landscape are quite different, however. As new mediums such as Facebook and Twitter provide a convenient space for customers to vent their frustrations with a company, it is becoming increasingly difficult to go by the old adage.
In the case of Liberty Bottleworks, a bottle company that manufactures customized water bottles, a disgruntled customer chose their Facebook page to complain about the staff not working during holidays to resolve a payment issue.
The COO chose to stick with the core values of the company that put its staff and their families before the product. The COO also clarified how they tried to get in touch with the angry customer, but their attempts were spurned by the customer as he hung up on them.
Although this initial response by the COO was taken down by the company, it was later uploaded by a staff member who’d taken a screenshot. The post went viral, and many came to see that it was the customer in this particular situation who was being unreasonable.
Not only did it vindicate the company here, but also went on to enhance brand awareness and boost sales in a huge way. It wouldn’t have been possible if the COO had not stuck to the core values of the company in the first place.
A few decades ago, you could get away with not having established an elaborate set of core values or sticking to them. However, the current business environment and the social and technological landscape do not afford you such liberties.
More than anything else, identifying, establishing, and communicating your core values have business implications that directly impact your sales.
Core values; your unwavering principles that determine how you conduct business, source supplies, sell products, and how you maintain relationships with your target audience, are important than ever before.
It is therefore important that you harness the power of core values to drive performance and sales for your business. Let’s see how you can do that.
Core values are no use if they are not adhered to by everyone working in the company. It is important that you regularly communicate core values across the board.
Core values work to your advantage by shaping up a winning culture, and the first step in doing so is to communicate them.
Once you’re done with the initial processes of establishing your core values, you must publish and post them across the premises. Put these values front and center.
Make them prominently visible; post them on the company website, handbook, or any other place where they might gather attention and views.
You can have the employees review them in state-of-the-business meetings. Furthermore, when presenting them, strive to spark an emotional connection between every value and the employees; don’t just read them out.
Make a story around each, ask questions, and get them involved. This will ensure that the core values are really accepted by the staff.
The internalization of these values will come over a period of time and not without the realization among the employees that they may face disciplinary action in case of violation of the core values.
If you want a workforce that is driven by a winning culture shaped by core values, start by hiring the workforce based on these very values.
It is quite a common practice for companies today to ascertain the compatibility of the potential employees with the company’s core values and culture.
So draft a list of behavioral assessment questions that will help to gauge the candidate’s fitness for the company’s culture and his or her alignment with the company’s values.
For instance, you may be a dynamic tech startup with an entrepreneurial culture. Formulate questions that will elicit responses to help you judge a candidate’s enterprising ability.
Thus, you will be more likely to find the right talent whose values and personality will be aligned with your values and culture.
This will go on to develop a workforce that can make a much higher contribution toward the sales and the bottom line.
Last, but not least, rewarding behavior that is in line with the core values of your company will go on to reinforce these values across the organization.
Do not hesitate to make it public either. Reward outstanding individuals in front of their colleagues – this will go on to spur the rest to act in accordance with your company values.
One of the ways you can do so is by featuring them monthly or quarterly on the company’s website. It could be the employee of the month or any other title that you deem fit.
You can also achieve this task by having their name and the ‘accomplishment’ published in the newsletter or your company blog, etc.
Whether it’s an official title you devised for this purpose or it’s just a pat on the back followed by verbal praise, make sure it does not go unnoticed.
By rewarding and promoting behavior that is in line with the core values of your company, employees are constantly reminded of what your business stands for and how they should follow the principles and values as they work towards achieving their individual goals.
All in all, the core values work to serve the company’s bottom line in a number of ways.
They provide a moral compass, shape a winning culture, help in hiring and retaining the best talents, build trust and credibility, and cultivate fierce customer loyalty.
All this goes to have an undeniable contribution towards the sales and the company’s bottom-line in the long run.
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