Living Your Company Values is Key to Brand Success
October 1, 2012
For ages, a brand was defined by the company itself. It told consumers what its core values were and strove to use its marketing campaigns to convey these traits.
In the age of social media, the role of brands has changed. While companies can still suggest their core values to consumers, their target audience now has a bigger say in defining brand values. Regardless, businesses need to try to live up to these expectations in order to maintain a successful brand.
Marketing is a tremendously complex task, but so many challenging questions can be answered by simply identifying your core brand values and taking control of them. For example, one common question that many marketers ask themselves is “How can I produce engaging content for my target audience?” By understanding why people value your brand, you are one step closer to creating content that lives your brand.
What Happens When You Don’t Live Up to Your Values
So, what happens when a brand says one thing and acts contradictory to that? You lose the respect of your target audience.
Take, for example, the recent case against online insurance provider Progressive. The company has established a fun-loving brand personified by the quirky Flo, a fictional sales representative. Despite these professed brand values, the company recently faced an online firestorm after it decided to defend a motorist who killed one of its customers, Katie Fisher. Fisher had a $100,000 policy, and according to the her brother, Progressive decided to defend the motorist.
Although Progressive did say the accused motorist was defended by his insurance company (Nationwide), the company did not discuss whether it participated in the defense of the motorist. Either way, consider the whole incident after you read about the company’s core values on its website: “We revere honesty. We adhere to high ethical standards, provide timely, accurate and complete financial reporting, encourage disclosing bad news and welcome disagreement.” Participating in the defense of the accused motorist and delaying policy payments would seem to go against this statement.
Two-facing actions such as this one are surefire ways to lose the trust of your consumers. Businesses looking to create an engaging and reputable brand need to stay true to their values at all costs. This is especially true in the age of social media, where it’s easier than ever before for companies to be exposed when they don’t follow through on their professed values.