Truly great businesses recognize the fact that stock prices go higher when a company's social purpose aligns with its corporate culture. The key lies in having a top-down approach, from the CEO to entry-level employees, for making company values come to fruition. The overall goal is to amplify a brand's position while reducing risk.
Four Areas of Focus
To achieve this goal, focus on the following four areas as you make your company's social purpose a reality. These aspects of corporate culture are ones that customers care about when looking to ally themselves with brands they trust, and can become a part of your company's marketing documents and sales presentations. They also add value to your products or services; customers want to buy from you because their purchase goes to support causes they hold dear.
1. Sustainability and minimizing your company's impact on the environment lets you say your company is environmentally friendly and good for the planet.
2. Philanthropy, volunteerism, charitable causes and impact investing show you care about people and society.
3. You advance social equity and sustainability through your purchasing practices and by hiring the right people and offering training.
4. You take the lead when it comes to your industry so your social purpose stands above the competition.
How to Implement Your Social Purpose
Before anything else, you must understand your company's purpose. Sure, the overall goal is to make money. However, you need a worthy cause to back up your enterprise. Whether your company wants to create sustainable shoes, convenient food, self-sealing stem bolts or extremely accurate cosplay outfits, your company mission and culture should be absolutely clear for your employees and customers. Your core principles resonate with customers and employees, and it makes you rise above other companies.
For instance, a company may pride itself on making safer cribs for babies. Therefore, its shared values of social purpose, culture and commerce include manufacturing and designing cribs. This mission is prevalent across the firm in its hires, marketing materials and sales pitches. Think about L.L. Bean and its loyal customer base who adore its lifetime return policy. When the company decided to change the policy, some customers took to social media to complain because the liberal return policy set L.L. Bean apart from similar brands.
Rather than see how much money you need to invest in the alignment of a purpose and culture, come from a perspective of what might happen if you don't merge these two principles. If that baby crib manufacturer has a safety recall, what happens to its purpose and value? People may abandon that brand and go with another one.
Tout Your Social Responsibility
No one knows about your social responsibility unless you say something about it. Post photos on social media of your volunteer events. Have a section on each web page that says you support hiring veterans, minorities and people with disabilities. Consider creating a one-sentence blurb at the bottom of each product description posted to your website. Customers need to know what you care about so they can make an emotional connection to your business.
Set a goal of merging your social purpose and company culture. You may find it could take months or years, but the rewards are well worth the investment because loyal customers stay with you.
Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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