CEO at Bazaar voicethe leading provider of product reviews and user-generated content (UGC) solutions.
As brand confidence and loyalty plummets, shoppers are interested in so much more than catchy jingles, attractive branding, competitive prices or even well-made and reliable products. What they’re really looking for is a brand that acts in line with their values - on things like diversity, fairness and inclusion, sustainability, non-profit involvement and corporate giving. They’re trying to do that more and more spend consciously and support brands that support makes them near and dear. Getting them to spend with you means not just talking, but walking and taking action that supports the corporate values your company claims.
The call for diversity, equality and inclusion (DE&I) may be louder than ever. Unfortunately, it is years of injustice that have led a majority of organizations to intentionally and purposefully make DE&I part of their business conversations.
Diversity can create an inclusive work culture and successful teams that businesses need to thrive. Plus, it’s something your current and potential clients and customers are looking for. If you’re in the B2B space, your customers can even give their suppliers a DE&I rating, which determines whether they choose to renew with you or do business with you at all.
To build a successful DE&I strategy in your business, there are a few suggestions I’ve written about before. First of all, encourage your employees to take an active role in devising and executing the strategy. Second, communicate the “how” and “why” of everything you do in the space and provide as much transparency as possible. And finally, make everyone more aware of the aspects DE&I covers by providing as much information and training as possible, from your new hiring orientation, to recurring speaker series or information sessions, to management training on the topic.
Another growing business need is durability. This may mean becoming more environmentally conscious with your products, packaging or how you handle waste in your corporate offices. People are becoming increasingly aware and concerned about their impact on the environment through their consumption. They are looking for more environmentally friendly options in their purchases and are willing to pay a premium for them. According to research, consumers of all ages are now willing to spend more on sustainable products.
Even if you’re in the B2B industry like me and don’t sell physical products, there are ways to make your business more sustainable. For example, my office has swapped cans of seltzer water in our kitchens for machines that produce the same to reduce the use of aluminum bottles. We’ve also started donating newly planted trees to our new employees instead of wasteful swag.
Governments and regulators around the world are also becoming more concerned and are starting to create laws and regulations that make sustainability the only option. So did earlier this year Canada banned single use plastics. By making sustainability part of your business strategy, you not only help to stay within these regulations, but you also win over your customers. And it’s the right thing to do.
Corporate Social Responsibility
One thing that shoppers take note about companies is where companies donate and how they help their communities. If corporate social responsibility (CSR) is not yet part of your business plan, fix it as soon as possible. Consumers and customers want to support businesses that in turn support the communities and demographics that keep them going.
In addition to just donations, you also need to take action. Try to get your employees involved in volunteering. It helps give them as much satisfaction as the communities or organizations they serve. For example, my company hosts an annual event where employees from our offices around the world dedicate their time to helping local nonprofits.
No matter how good your products or services are, they can be hard to sell if your company doesn’t have strong corporate values with them. Today, what you stand for is just as important as what you sell. By investing time, money and infrastructure in initiatives such as DE&I, sustainability and CSR, you show your current and future consumers that you are not only trying to make a quick buck, but that you are also investing in your community, employees and customers. That kind of dedication is what they want to spend their money on.