If you’ve been reading my blogs you’ll know that I constantly talk about creating loyal customers through consistently delivering on your brand promise. There are, however, other reasons that customers are loyal to a company and they have more to do with feelings that have long been deeply ingrained inside of them. These customers gravitate toward businesses who share like-minded values with them. Many successful companies have been built around the following core values:
- A higher purpose – Newman’s Own brand is a great example of this, giving 100% of their profits to charity. Who doesn’t want to sign up for that?
- Reliability and stability – Craftsman tools are synonymous with durability. Their slogan is ‘America’s most trusted tool brand’.
- My body is a temple – Chipotle and Whole Foods have built extremely lucrative businesses around healthy, organic food.
- Let’s leave the world a better place – Who hasn’t choked up at the Dawn commercials where they are washing the oil off the baby ducks?
- I’m hip and cool – is an ever changing landmine! Brooks Brothers moves over for Polo. Polo moves over for Ed Hardy. Ed Hardy becomes Sean Jean. And on it goes…
Another important core value is a sense of place. This is when we feel that we belong. I’ve got a daughter that’s a vegetarian and is committed to healthy eating. We frequent Whole Foods and Trader Joes and often chat with folks in each store to get recommendations and share ideas. This value can work in reverse as well. I’m not going to tell you how old I am but I know that I don’t belong in a nightclub in downtown Minneapolis on a Saturday night. I’ve retired all my Little Black Dresses, so I no longer fit the scene.
Appealing to and nurturing values
You’ve got a brand promise and core values. How do you get those to resonate with existing and potential customers? Here are some ideas:
- Communicate – here’s me on my soap box again. Keep your message consistent and tell the world who you are and what you’re about.
- Name them – think of Lady Gaga’s Little Monsters. They proudly call themselves this. If I owned a popular Mexican restaurant I’d call my customers Chipheads. And they would agree with me.
- Get them together – create an interactive website, Twitter following or blog where they can chat or share stories and ideas.
- Show up where they are – let’s say ‘giving back’ is one of your core values. Have your team volunteer (in their company logo shirts) at a Habitat for Humanity event. Take pictures and post them in your business and in social media. See if you can get some free air time on the local news.
The plain truth is that we don’t want to hang out very often with people that don’t have similar interests or share at least some of our core values. My friends are all individuals who are actively involved with their children, volunteer their time frequently and whose recycle bins are full every week on trash day. Those are my values and the values I look for in businesses I frequent. What do your customers value?