Yesterday on the blog, I talked about motive. More specifically, the underlying reason you jumped into business in the first place… beyond the cha-ching. If you missed that piece, you can read it here.
In short, customers don’t bond with companies. Customers bond with ideals, beliefs, values, and world views.
If you want to form real connections (and believe me, if you want your business to be sustainable, you want to form real connections), it’s not enough to get clear on your motives and beliefs. You also have to articulate them clearly to the world. And you need to communicate consistently, over time, so folks will come to see what you stand for, and that you’re seriously committed to it.
One of the benefits of values-based connections that’s so often overlooked by business owners is the personal joy and fulfillment that comes as a result of working for a higher purpose. It’s one thing to have great sales numbers. It’s another to change lives or start a ripple in the world.
Wanna jump out of bed every morning? Put yourself in a situation where you’re consistently serving others or serving the planet. And then spread the word.
6 Ways to Communicate Your Beliefs to Your Customers and Prospects – to Facilitate True Connection
Write a manifesto.
A manifesto is a public declaration of your beliefs and values. It’s created to clearly and specifically state what you stand for. And if you do it well, you’ll also communicate what the world LOOKS LIKE when those values are in place. For instance, instead of “We believe in education,” you’d say, “We believe that every child in the world should have a seat in a classroom, text books for learning, and a teacher to guide the way.”
Consumers are looking for more than just products. They likely have countless choices for products just like yours. They want something MORE. And when you tell them, clearly, what MORE they get (or give) when they buy from you, you’re giving them a valid reason to keep coming back. (In tomorrow’s blog, I’ll focus specifically on manifestos.)
Curate or write content by belief category.
Your manifesto will be most successful if it’s broken in to four or five categories, based on your company’s core beliefs. You can communicate these beliefs consistently by publishing content related to them in every category. If you believe in saving our oceans, then share articles, links, videos, and opportunities for involvement related to saving the oceans. If you also believe in clean eating, then do the same for that category.
Over time, your customers will come to associate your business with these beliefs. And as that happens, you’ll become more deeply involved in your own higher purpose, and you’ll start a ripple effect of interest and commitment. You can share on your social media sites, in a newsletter, on your blog, or inside your place of business. Consistency matters. So write a plan for communications, and stick with it.
Tie your business to charity or community service.
You can show your commitment on a more serious level by donating a portion of your sales to charity. Or paying employee hours while they work charitable events. Or serving on the Board of Directors for a non-profit. Or creating a scholarship fund or discount program for people you hope to benefit. You don’t have to donate large sums of money to show a serious commitment to a cause. But you do need to make it official, and communicate about your outreach, the recipients, your end-goal, and how it makes you feel on a regular basis.
Involve your customers in an outreach product.
If your business is local, you might organize local charity projects, or participate in them as a group with your customers or prospects. Run a local 5K for charity and invite your customers to be on your team. Do a beach clean-up and invite your prospects and customers to meet you there. There are countless possibilities.
If your business is digital, you can organize fundraisers, begin social media awareness programs that your customers can share, or develop online contests to support a cause. And don’t forget to report on the progress and the results. This will show your customers that you’re truly committed. And it will give you a chance to celebrate your wins; and to relish in the changes you’re making in the world.
Commit to business standards that support your beliefs.
If you’re committed to civil liberties, build those beliefs into your hiring practices – for employees, subcontractors and vendors. If you’re committed to environmental causes, keep them in mind as you create office space, buy products, use resources, or source manufacturing. If you’re committed to causes for children, get to know the children of your employees and associates, or work to provide childcare. By creating business practices that support your goals, you’ll demonstrate that you’re more than just talk. And don’t forget to report on the practices in your social media posts, on your website, and in your ongoing customer communications. Do AND tell.
Create alliances with thought-leaders in the category.
Identify thought leaders who share your worldview or promote the beliefs and causes you espouse. Share their content. Comment thoughtfully on their social media sites and blogs. Over time, you can develop relationships with these individuals, and share those with your customers. Create a “Dream 100” list (this is an idea I learned from my mentor, Russell Brunson) of thought-leaders you’d like to get next to. And over time, methodically and genuinely reach out to connect. By aligning yourself and your business with those who lead the way, you change your own world, and show your customers and target markets that you’re about more than the bottom line.
The single most important element in effective branding is differentiation. If you want your business to stand out, and if you want consumers to connect with your brand over the long haul, give them something to believe in.
And give yourself a reason to wake up smiling.