Do you drink the same brand of coffee every morning? Fly with the same airline? Suggest the same restaurant when a visitor asks?
Yes, me too. It’s surprising that with more choices available than ever before, cheaper prices in a competitive global market and reviews at our clicking fingertips, we show such brand loyalty. But where does our customer loyalty come from?
Often, the reason we stay loyal to a brand is because of their set of values. The best brands strive to combine physical, emotional, and logical elements into one exceptional experience. Think about that restaurant you’ll recommend to visitors.
When a company creates a connection with customers and employees many of them will stay loyal for life. The companies that succeed are ones that stay true to their core values over the years to create a company that employees and customers are proud of.
Core values are an important part of a company’s communication strategy, alongside its vision and mission. So what’s the difference?
- a mission statement clarifies the 'what' and 'who' of a company
- a vision statement adds the 'why' and 'how'
- core values encourage behaviours that guide the decisions staff make to deliver the mission and vision
A company’s mission statement should be short and easy to remember. However, it shouldn’t be so generic that you can’t tell what business it’s in.
Pop quiz – can you guess these mission statements? (Answers at the end of this blog, no cheating!)
- To organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful
- To be the Earth’s most customer centric company where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online.
- Embrace the human spirit and let it fly.
- To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world. If you have a body you are an athlete.
The vision statement is future-oriented and embodies what a company wants to become. While mission statements may be similar, vision statements should be very different. They should be motivating and inspiring and should drive decision-making.
As a former Petrofac employee, I think its vision statement is rather special:
- To be the world’s most admired oilfield services company.
The clever use of the word “admired” translates across its diverse workforce and international customer base, and the short sentence is memorable and very different to that of competitors.
Values are the fundamental beliefs that create the culture of an organisation and influence the behaviours of employees. They influence the decisions staff make on behalf of the company.
While safety, integrity, honesty, etc. are good core values; they don’t need to appear on your list. Importantly, a company should not pay lip service to its values – ensuring colleagues know what they are and how they apply to their own job roles is important. The “so what?” question should be considered – how are staff expected to live these values in their everyday roles? Ensuring values are tangible and real to the company is a big part in this; paying lip service to behaviours is not a good enough reason for staff to get behind them and believe in them.
I recommend no more than five core values. Once you get past five, very few people remember them.
Commsbank’s values are Caring, Curiosity and Competent. We put our heart and soul into getting to know your business. We’re sincerely interested in your story and ask the right questions to find out what that story is, then have the skill to craft it for the right audience.
Can you guess what company includes these core values:
- Di-bear-sity, Colla-bear-ate, Cele-bear-ate
This company takes teddy bears very seriously, and “bear-isms” are front and centre throughout its corporate culture, including at the corporate “bearquarters” in St. Louis. The company’s core values are internally-facing—they’re not posted at retail stores, but within the company they are important tools for bringing employees together across every level of the business. “Di-bear-sity,” the most recent value to be added to the statement, was named through a 2012 company-wide contest. At quarterly corporate meetings, managers from individual stores can nominate employees for “Atta Bears” awards, citing excellent performance in one of the core values areas.
This is an extreme example, but one that works well for its chain of international stores – Can you guess what company would have these cuddly values? Answers at the end of the blog!
So what does this mean for you?
Take a walk around your organisation; what behaviours would you like to see more of? Do you have a corporate vision, mission and core values? If so, do colleagues know what they are? If not, why not?
I’d be really keen to get your feedback so please get in touch and let me know what you find.
Oh yeah; and the answers to the Pop Quiz: Google, Amazon, Virgin and Nike.
And the cuddly values belong to Build-A-Bear Workshop.
Did you get it right?