Marketing is about more than selling a product or service. Today’s consumers crave more from the brands they trust. They want relationships and human qualities. With the average person dealing with thousands of advertisements each day, one of the best ways for your campaign and company to stand out is to reflect your values in everything you do. 

If you’re a marketing professional, you already understand the importance of connecting with your target audience. One of the best ways to do that is by being transparent about who you are and what you stand for. 

So, how can you design an effective marketing campaign that reflects your company’s values? 

First, let’s take a look at why value-based marketing matters, especially when you’re trying to connect with growing audiences like Generation Z. Then, we’ll take a closer look at how you can merge your company’s core values into your marketing campaigns with sincerity. 

The Benefit of Value-Based Marketing

While your company should always focus on having top-quality products, services, and experiences, advertising those things isn’t enough to entice today’s average consumer — especially when it comes to younger generations. 

Today, Gen Z makes up 40% of global consumerism. Their shopping habits are different from previous generations in a variety of ways. First, they’ve grown up surrounded by technology. They’ve never known a world without mobile phones and the Internet. So, they have certain expectations when it comes to UX, social media, and digital accessibility. 

They also have expectations regarding company values and beliefs. So much so that values tend to drive their buying behavior. They’re considered a critical consumer group and tend to focus on things like authenticity, sustainability, and transparency. Affordable, high-quality products are still important, but if that’s all your company offers, there’s a good chance this generation of shoppers will look elsewhere.  

Chances are, your company already stands on several strong values. Maybe you have a mission statement everyone lives by, or you support causes that mean a lot to your brand. But, are you marketing those values effectively? Does your target audience know what you stand for? If not, highlighting those values in your marketing campaigns can make a big difference in how people view your brand, and the type of loyal customer relationships you foster for years to come. 

How To Market Your Company’s Core Values

If you want to successfully include your company’s values in your marketing campaigns, you first have to define them. When considering how to decide on what your brand values are, take the following steps: 

  1. Assign a leader;
  2. Get team input;
  3. Get industry inspiration;
  4. Decide what your values mean for your business;
  5. Create a new company culture based on those values.

Consider what’s most important to you, and how that might resonate with today’s consumers. Some of the top issues people are interested in include sustainability, fast fashion, climate change, and waste production. If you’re also passionate about something like sustainability, make sure you establish a company culture that allows your consumers to see you’re taking the necessary steps to “go green”. 

Digital marketing, itself, is a more sustainable way of doing things. It allows greater access to information, can be used on devices backed by solar energy, and requires less paper use than traditional marketing forms. By making as many areas of your business as digital as possible, you can boost your sustainability and cut back on energy use. 

Don’t be afraid to capitalize on current trends when it comes to how you market your brand values. Things like hand-drawn illustrations, minimalism, 3D design, and vibrant nostalgia are all popular in the graphic design world. If you’re going through a shift in your company culture or you want your future campaigns to reflect your values in a new and exciting way, it might be time to change your design work – including your logo. Jumping on current design trends will help you stand out and get noticed, and will make it easier for your audience to see the effort you’re putting in to express your values. 

Most importantly, however, make sure you know your market and what they’d be most interested in. Following a trend only works if it makes sense for your audience. The more your interests and values align with your audience, the easier it will be to boost engagement — especially on social media. 

Avoid Purpose-Washing

If you’ve been in the marketing industry for any length of time, chances are you’ve heard of greenwashing. It’s an important thing to avoid, especially if you’re trying to promote values like sustainability. But, have you heard about purpose-washing? 

Purpose-washing occurs when a company claims to have a meaningful purpose and strong values, but they do nothing to back those values up. For example, if a business creates a marketing campaign suggesting that they’re dedicated to the health of the environment and waste reduction, but they don’t follow through, it is essentially lying to its audience. It’s misleading, and if your brand gets “caught” doing it, you could damage your reputation beyond repair. 

Because today’s consumers want transparency and relationships with the brands they frequent, a strong PR campaign and crafty marketing aren’t enough to entice people. Furthermore, if your business makes purpose promises and doesn’t live up to them, you’ll come across as deceitful. Not only will your audience be less likely to trust you, but your overall brand image will be tainted. 

Thankfully, it’s easy to avoid purpose-washing by choosing to practice what you preach. Keep the following tips in mind to remain transparent and genuine with your values: 

  • Be authentic with every change you make;
  • Make sure your marketing strategies align with your values;
  • Use evidence;
  • Participate in causes and social movements;
  • Engage with your audience.

While you shouldn’t completely change your marketing campaigns solely to appeal to the next generation, now is a good time to consider the importance of highlighting your company values. Not only can it help your future marketing endeavors, but it could end up creating a completely different, positive company culture within your business. Talk to your leaders about your company values and come up with honest, transparent ways to make them a part of your future campaigns without having to rely on splashy advertisements and unrealistic promises.

Photo by Dylan Gillis on Unsplash

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