We’ve been talking a lot about values in the past few years. A lot of famous entrepreneurs have been advocating the concept of values, as an idea, a business should be based on. Every business starts from defining its core values and builds a business and marketing strategy according to them.
And, that’s quite important. Every business should know its values. However, does every business understand values correctly?
What are business values anyway? According to Business Dictionary, corporate values are “The operating philosophies or principles that guide an organization’s internal conduct as well as its relationship with its customers, partners, and shareholders”.
Basically, values are statements that serve as guidelines when there’s a decision to make. Company values can help businesses determine the importance of certain tasks and decisions before others.
But, how do company values apply to marketing?
Starting with Steve Jobs, who said that marketing is about values, companies got the concept of values pretty seriously, using it to shape their marketing strategies. Yes, he was right with saying that companies need to be clear on what customers want to know about them.
But, companies kind of took this too strictly, without looking at it from different perspectives. They took it as a one-way street, coming up with their values and using them to attract customers. Not the other way around.
And what’s the other way around? It’s discovering customer values and using them to appeal to customers. It’s basically giving customers what they want. This is a much more effective approach because you’re starting from the object your business revolves around – your customer.
Yes, we understand you have values as a company. You have a reason why you exist. But, that’s just your perspective. Your values mean nothing if they aren’t aligned with what your customers want. You won’t get anywhere by giving them only what you want.
We need to start understanding what are the values of our customers.
In recent years, most companies have been spending a lot on customer experience. This should be a very important part of every company’s marketing strategy. However, is it enough? And do companies get it right? Probably not, if they don’t know their customer values.
Values come from emotions. And, knowing the right values can enable us to create the best customer experience.
Customer experience creates a bond between the company and the users. The bond is the strongest when it’s emotional. According to Harvard Business Review, customers who have a strong emotional bond with some brand or product have a value of 25% to 100% higher than customers who are just satisfied.
This means that emotions matter in marketing. Emotions can take us to the real values we need to create the best experience for customers and get the most out of it.
Years ago, relating a brand to a certain emotion meant liking or disliking their TV commercial. Now, things are way more complicated than this. The countless number of channels you can reach out through has brought different sources of emotion. You’re not supposed to look for the emotion in your ad anymore. You need to find it coming from your user.
Why is this?
According to a Psychology Today article most people believe they are being rational when purchasing. But, they’re wrong – they are mostly led by emotion. The article claims that the impact of emotion on consumer behavior is well-documented:
For example, functional magnetic resonance imaging has shown that consumers use feelings and experiences before information when evaluating brands. The Advertising Research Foundation even claims that the “likeability” of an ad can predict the increase or fall of a brand’s sales.
So, yes. Emotions really matter in marketing. Emotions are what drive people to do every decision, every single day in their lives. What you need to do is learn how emotions convince customers to interact with your brand. More importantly, which emotions can achieve this?
For companies, this is quite complicated. They want short-term results and they are mostly focused on sales. On the other hand, building emotional connections with your customers means building long-term relationships. If you got a person to associate your brand with a certain emotion (a positive one, of course), you’re doing a great job!
It’s not a secret that the decisions we make are based on how we feel at the time. Smart companies have figured this out and used it in their own advantage. Many marketing people agree that Zappos is a perfect example of making people happy.
Zappos is an online shoe seller who can deliver your order to your door before you know it. Even though they don’t have the lowest prices, 75% of their work comes from repetitive customers. Which means this company really knows how to build long-term relationships.
It’s all in the company’s ten core values:
- Deliver wow through service.
- Embrace and drive change.
- Create fun and a little weirdness.
- Be adventurous, creative, and open-minded.
- Pursue growth and learning.
- Build open and honest relationships with communication.
- Build a positive team and family spirit.
- Do more with less.
- Be passionate and determined.
- Be humble.
This company has mastered the art of creating its own company values according to customer emotions and values. The employees, who are being guided by these values, make customers feel happy when they’re interacting with them, and therefore increasing the company’s sales and the number of returning customers.
Taking emotions into consideration when interacting with your customers means getting personal and human. If the customers of Zappos associate the company with being happy, they are definitely going to come back again.
Modern marketing is all about emotions. Understanding your target group today means understanding how they feel. When you know how they feel, it’s easy to discover their values and create your own values that align with them. And your values will lead you to make your customers happy.