Right Values

I opt in to way more email notifications than I can keep up with. It’s a default attitude: “I might need to know something about this, so I’d better get this stuff sent to me.” It leans toward lazy, but I do find nuggets that make scrolling though the emails worth it.

This one is worth it: “What is the value of your brand?” by Uwe Hook, co-founder and CEO of BatesHook. He makes so much sense so often, I just kept nodding my head. The essence for me is this: A company’s values motivate, energize, engage, and reward the people that work there. A mismatch of an employee’s and the company’s values make work “work.” People who do something they love every day are not working; they are living. I particularly like these thoughts from Uwe:

“After the multitude of bubbles have burst, shareholder value and making money for the sake of money doesn’t feel that good anymore. And consumers are craving institutions that care and give back. This and the age of product parity lead to an avalanche of brands that suddenly care, that support businesses in making positive change, try to rebrand themselves as green or just transform communities around the world (right after they almost destroyed the whole financial system).

“Most of this comes across as advertising, not as a commitment. Because it’s not rooted in real values, we are starting to deal with caring parity: Suddenly everybody cares for the wrong reason. (emphasis mine) Consumers want us to care, let’s care. Brands purely jumping on the caring bandwagon are missing out on a huge opportunity: Stand for something. Have values. And express yourself as an organization based on these values.”

I can’t help but think of the swarming now to social media by companies not really committed to the value of the relationship with the customer. I read an interesting interview with Magic Johnson, head of Magic Johnson Enterprises, in Knowledge @ Emory. This quote from Johnson stuck with me: “You have to know your customer and you have to speak to that customer every day.” Social media are an excellent way to accomplish this, but, when customers get the sense they are being used or sold to more than listened to, social media are also an excellent way to turn conversations into sales pitches and turn customers and prospects into former customers and disinterested prospects. Johnson’s Magic Johnson Enterprises web site repeats a mantra for the company on the home page: “We Are The Communities We Serve.” The first part of the message is clear; the last word is the message. If social media serve the customer, the company wins.