You gotta know when to hold ’em: Values-Based Marketing

Black woman marching with megaphone

It’s interesting, the names approaches or actions are given. For example, we’ve been practicing integrated communications for over 14 years, and now most people in the profession refer to it as the PESO model. We’ve always been ahead of the curve and we don’t need acronyms to define how marketing should be delivered.

Now, the phrase value-based marketing is gaining traction. We’ve written about this before but referred to it as brand activism, or just not being a jerk

SpinSucks summed it up perfectly – as the world has shifted, particularly in the last year, it’s become increasingly important for organizations to promote their values while selling their products and services. 

Translation: “You gotta know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em” – Kenny Rogers. 

Pretty much all of us are familiar with Ben & Jerry’s and their delicious ice cream flavors delivered with a purpose. The company does not shy from addressing “controversial” issues (quotations used simply because racism and white supremacy should never be controversial – they’re just wrong). The brand stepped up with “The Who We Are Project,” a six-part podcast series that links specific periods in American history to modern-day systemic racism and white supremacy.

When a company decides to take a value-based approach, they first look at their customer base – will the positive outweigh the negative? 

SpinSucks goes on to say that a values-led communications approach has become a game-changer for many organizations. By showing their customers that they share the same values, they aim to deepen their relationships and develop a longer-term bond that a competitor’s “limited time offer” cannot break. 

Before you make the decision to do the right thing and be outspoken about it, ask yourself these questions:

  • Are we prepared for the inevitable backlash from online trolls or people with no moral compass?
  • Where will the trolls come from? Will it be QAnon or other bad groups of people? 
  • How will we respond as a company? Will we engage? Will we step back and allow our supporters to handle it?

A company’s purpose should be based on their identified values. For example, we believe in equality for all, equal pay, and everyone should rescue a pet. People are attracted to 8THIRTYFOUR because of our outspokenness, our impeccable sense of humor and the fact we say what others are afraid to say for fear of retaliation. There is freedom in this approach but there is also risk. 

Once upon a time, organizations used to remain quiet and avoid conflict so as not to offend anyone. The tide has turned in the last few years as customers demand for brands to step up and take a stance or they won’t support them financially.

Only you can determine if you will stand up and do the right thing or remain silent. 

If you are stuck at a crossroads, we can help. Reach out and we’ll walk you through a strategy and an approach that is best for your company.

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