In my first few years as an entrepreneur, I didn’t get it. I didn’t understand how client and customer loyalty would improve, and likewise your bottom line, when people aligned their values with your brand. The concept was foreign and seemed hokey. It was too imaginative. I thought building a successful business/brand was all about providing value from a transactional standpoint: I sell you something for a fair price, we both win. And hopefully you come back when you need my product again. Some real Ayn Rand/Adam Smith simplicity. But there is way more to it than just a reasonable price, especially in today’s economy – where anyone can get virtually anything they want as a customer.
Every type of shoe comes in a dozen different colors. Entry-level cars have state of the art technologies, and breakfast menus offer vegan, gluten-free, meat lover, and everything in between. Optionality is at the fingertip of every consumer, in every industry, for a fair price. Optionality is now expected…
Brand values are what consumers scrutinize. They are the true differentiator. Consumers believe that what they buy, and more importantly, whom they buy from, be it groceries, lotions, cars, etc., is a direct reflection of them – of their values.
People shop for goods where they believe their values are represented.
Steve Jobs understood it, perhaps better than anyone. He realized that companies needed human traits and qualities to thrive…to win. Jobs understood it before it was even a thing.
I wrote about this subject a few years ago in a blog titled, Your Company is a Person. Good supplementary reading to this video.
Jobs was/still is a powerful educator for entrepreneurs in need of differentiating themselves. And what he talks about in this speech is far more than a gimmick you can whimsically implement. It’s about creating a company culture that you transact, market, create and deal from as your foundation. It’s about making company culture innate in everything you do.
“We have to be really clear about what we want them to know about us…”
– Steve Jobs