Image featuring Kinckerbocker, by Death to the Stock Photo
In a recent article I wrote about the trend towards humanistic marketing – a business strategy concerned with being ‘human’ and treating your customers as human beings too. If this sounds a little simplistic, I encourage you to have a read of the article where I unpack this idea in more detail.
Identify and demonstrate what you stand for
One of the points I made about effective marketing today is that your target market is looking to work with businesses that stand for something. This is where companies need to go back to that old values statement and brainstorm new ways to energise this across their team, services, systems, processes and branding. Values should be felt in every interaction, not read on a piece of paper.
What your company stands for might be as big as environmental change, social justice and equality, or it may be that you focus on doing what you do better than anyone else. It may be that you are all about building a clientele of multi-generational families that stay with you for their lifetimes. It may be about being known for your out-of-the-box creative solutions. Whatever it is, what you stand for needs to be seen, communicated and felt by everyone within and around your business, and needs to be the ‘why’ that draws team members and clients to you.
If this is sounding a little Jerry Maguire… it need not be about fewer clients to achieve more ‘care’. However, it probably does mean allocating time and resources to assessing the experience of your team and your customers and to what extent your company is living its values and demonstrating that it ‘stands for something’ that draws people to it and sets it apart from the competition. Perhaps by setting time aside to brainstorm how things can be done more to your company values, your team will find little changes that make a big impact. This seems to me like a pretty good investment of time, money and brainpower.
Why don’t you get that ‘human experience’ with every service or product you invest in? The kind that makes you want to continue doing business with that company, rave about them and refer them to others? As mentioned in my previous article, it’s not so much about a low care factor as it is about awareness and good processes of assessment and improvement. Sometimes it’s because people are too busy running the business and putting out fires to schedule time to sit down and think through the hard questions. It’s easy for a lot of time to go by before you realise you haven’t stepped off the hamster wheel to build a sustainable business that can thrive in a changed market that demands more.
Why being real matters so much in business now
Working on brand strategy with clients across a range of service-based industries, a trend I am beginning to see emerge is the placement of the value of being ‘real’ at the core of business. In a world of infinite choices, fast-paced competition and limited budgets, it has never been more true that people want to do business with people. Real people. Who treat their customers like real people. If you can get that right in the writing and interpretation of your values statement, you’ve got a winning business in the 21st century.