• Shelby Lancaster

Building a Brand: How Your Core Values Bring in Loyal Customers

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Recently, we've discussed leadership through the lens of team dynamics and overcoming obstacles. This week, we continue the focus on leadership by speaking to a company's core values and why it's important to build a brand around them.

The Importance of a Brand.

Every interaction you have with a person creates an impression - of you, of them, of your goals, expectations, values. By being intentional with those interactions, we can exercise a great deal of control over the perceptions with which a person walks away. Clearly, the implications here are weighty - how current customers, end product consumers, and prospects perceive your business directly impacts the bottom line. That is why identifying and building your brand is a key to greater success in the industry.

In an article recently released by Forbes on brand purpose in the food and beverage industry, Jon Edwards, managing director at Accenture Strategy, makes the following observation:

“Consumers are demanding more from brands today. In their selection of food and beverage items, consumers are seeking brands that embody an authentic purpose – this could be a commitment to health and wellbeing, nutrition, specific dietary requirements, or even doing good for society and the environment.”

How do you establish your company's brand and communicate the purpose behind it, though? Where do you start?

What if your company’s brand already exists in word, but not always in deed? Maybe over time, your company has drifted away from it without realizing.

The best place to start is by identifying the brands you want to be associated with, the brands that you (and your customers!) appreciate. What promises have they made - and how have they kept them? What are their core values?

Now think about your own operation's core values. What pillars is your company built upon? Some examples might be,

  • Integrity

  • Responsiveness

  • Reliability

  • 24/7 availability

  • Commitment to innovation

  • Solution-oriented

  • Empowering others to succeed

  • Continuous improvement

  • Customer empathy

Consider how you want to be perceived in the years to come. Is this brand, this persona, one that your team can rally around? That your customers will want to get behind?

Committing to the Brand.

A brand is only as solid and successful as the people who stand behind it. Without a team that is all in, all the time, the brand is left vulnerable and inconsistencies arise. If a customer or consumer has a poor experience where your brand doesn’t deliver on its promises, that raises tension in the customer relationship and affects their perception of what your company represents.

However, it is important to remember that no brand can accommodate everyone at the same time. Some people may choose not to associate with your brand, or they may already be committed, loyal consumers of another competing operator.

"I think the important part is staying true to your brand as a team and as an organization."

Evan Jarecki, Chief Customer Officer

The best thing you can do is find your brand’s niche and invest in it. You’ll attract people who also embody the core pillars that sustain your brand. Commitment to shared values produce greater loyalty and profitability in the long run than diluting the brand and attempting to capture every prospect, disregarding how deep or superficial their loyalty runs.

Take Nike, for example. Functionally, they produce athletic shoes, clothing, and equipment - and for many consumers, their relationship with Nike is a purely functional one. However, diehard supporters see Nike’s brand as a celebration of athletic achievement. Theirs is a more personal relationship, one where emotion and utility are intertwined. Their brand loyalty runs much deeper than the casual consumer’s because they've committed to this brand! Nike has invested in showcasing its core values and attracted a consumer base that shares them and invests back.

None of this would be possible without a team who drinks the Kool-Aid. They are your first advocates of the brand and thus lead the charge! As operators, your drivers are the ones in the field, the ones who have the most face-to-face interaction with end consumers. They truly are brand ambassadors, representing your core values. How will you empower them, as well as the rest of your team in the warehouse and in the office, to carry this brand well throughout their day?

We'd love to hear your thoughts! Leave a comment on our social media pages to get the discussion rolling.

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