3 ways you can show customers you care about their values

Today’s customers are perhaps more value-oriented than ever before. Customers want to do business with socially conscious companies. that reflect their values. While the values ​​that matter most may vary from client to client, frequently discussed topics such as diversity and environmental consciousness can have a very real impact on whether someone decides to work with you.

While you may share many of your customers’ values, you may feel at a loss as to how to highlight their importance to you and your organization as a whole. But by doing so, you can make significant progress in gaining their trust and loyalty.

1. Walk the walk.

Brand actions matter. A company can tout its diversity initiatives, but if its leadership remains essentially white and male, customers will view the business as hypocritical at best. When companies mistreat their workers or are caught in other unethical practices, no amount of talking is going to undo the damage.

Microsoft’s recently announced $68.7 billion acquisition of gaming company Activision Blizzard sheds light on how damaging bad behavior can be. Activision CEO Bobby Kotick recently came under fire for allowing a culture of harassment to permeate his company, leading to protests and employee walkouts.

Many analysts believe the scandal surrounding Kotick was part of what led Microsoft to acquire the company in an all-cash deal. Predictably, some also accused Microsoft of hypocrisy after it said in November that it would review its relationship with Activision Blizzard after news of the company’s scandals spread.

Time will tell how things will turn out with the Microsoft acquisition. So far, however, his apparent desire to sweep the allegations against Kotick under the rug is not winning high marks among customers.

2. Share messages that focus on everyday concerns.

Customer values ​​don’t always touch on hot topics like sexism and racism in the workplace. Very often, the values ​​that matter most to customers are those that directly affect them on a daily basis.

This became particularly clear during a recent conversation with Danny Sit, CEO of NUU. With decades of experience in the electronics manufacturing industry, Sit has seen firsthand how quickly smartphones and other electronic devices have become a central part of society. While this has certainly brought many positives, the inherent cost of most of these devices can be a very real barrier for many.

To this end, Sit has chosen to focus on uncompromisingly quality-driven products with prices that meet customer demands. This has been a key part of the brand’s messaging ever since — customers don’t have to sacrifice quality in pursuit of aggressive pricing. Consistent messaging around this value of financial responsibility has helped Sit’s brand connect with customers about an issue they worry about every day.

3. Contribute to meaningful causes.

Of course, many customers want to see the brands they work with contribute to greater causes. That way, they feel that when they make a purchase from the company, they are contributing to something bigger than themselves. They want brands to help them make a difference in the world.

It should come as no surprise, then, that an ever-increasing number of companies are investing in philanthropic initiatives and continually informing customers about the work they are doing in these areas. They don’t have to be large-scale initiatives focused on politically charged issues. Small businesses can contribute to their local communities by donating time, money or other resources to food banks, homeless shelters or other local charities.

In addition to the brand’s own messaging about these contributions, such actions often garner attention in the local press, which can provide fantastic PR for the brand — not that this should be the primary motivation for charitable contributions.

Authentic actions with real impact can dramatically increase customer loyalty among those who support similar causes or who simply appreciate the good work a business does in their community.

Seventy-one percent of customers believe it’s important to buy from brands that share their values ​​and beliefs — and among Millennials, that’s even higher, at 83%. What a company says and does is scrutinized more closely than ever before. By highlighting the ways in which your brand aligns with its customers’ values, you can earn lasting loyalty in an increasingly competitive market.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com writers are their own and not those of Inc.com.

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