Promoting Corporate Values
Organizations oftentimes turn to their marketing agency for advice on how to make their corporate values come to life. As protectors of public perception, it’s our responsibility to offer best practices for showcasing values without counteracting what they stand for. While the size and type of the corporation present different challenges for communication strategy, there are several tactics you can use across the board.
- Make corporate values easily accessible for stakeholders. Investors, customers and employees alike will reference a company’s website before any other resource when looking for information about the corporate values, and what they look like in action. Companies should dedicate an area of the website to informing all stakeholders of their values. This section can come in the form of a mission statement, a list or video. Pay close attention to word choice and tone, as well as imagery to coincide with messaging. Some values, such as integrity or loyalty, are less tangible, while others, such as sustainability or involvement in the community, can more easily be represented. Keep this distinction in mind when disseminating information about how corporate values are enacted.
- Use social media to further solidify values. Today, companies should have a presence on social media in order to interact with their stakeholders and further demonstrate values like “customers first” or “creating joy.” Social accounts are not only a powerful tool for outbound communication, but inbound as well. To optimize the power of social media, monitor and encourage platform engagement by carefully choosing like-worthy posts and responding to individual DMs and comments. Followers may reach out to criticize or question a product, service or action of the company. Keep a close eye on all channels to quickly address issues, demonstrate transparency and find room for improvement in accordance with corporate values.
- Leverage current events. Public relations professionals are dedicated to staying on top of relevant news to make timely and strategic decisions for clients. By keeping an eye on how other companies are communicating their culture and values, organizations can finetune their own strategies. Current events also present opportunities for thought leadership, giving executives the chance to respond when appropriate. Some companies may want to avoid political issues, while others leverage their stance to emphasize their values. Lastly, being aware of global or national holidays will allow organizations to tie a new project to an established event or celebration.
- Promote CSR carefully. Although corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives are rooted in good intent, they lose value when misaligned with what the company stands for. Encourage meaningful CSR programs that reflect the core values of the company. Use your best judgement when promoting CSR efforts on social channels, advertisements or through the website. While donating money to charities is a great gesture, consumers don’t need to know about every contribution. Build a communication campaign around the CSR efforts that bring employees face-to-face with the issues your company is passionate about addressing. Gather feedback from employees and share their experiences via the corporate social media channels and internal e-newsletters or an intranet. This is especially important for companies with offices that span states or countries to foster a stronger feeling of togetherness among teams.
- Have reactive communication plans in place. Organizations are comprised of the people within them and these individuals are capable of making mistakes that reflect on the company as a whole. To protect brand reputation, create a risk management plan with the attitude of “anything can happen.” Account for all the potential problems and construct a step-by-step process on how to address them. Your methods should align with your corporate values, especially when a crisis puts certain values into question. For example, if you prioritize integrity and an employee has proven to be dishonest, come up with a plan that demonstrates that you stick to the truth.
Strong corporate values are a great indicator that businesses care for their employees, their customers and their investors. It’s important to find creative ways to enact, project and safeguard your corporate values. With an effective communications strategy to support these ideals, your organization can attract employees and customers with like-minded values and achieve success while remaining true to your core beliefs
Georgia Kotsinis is an Account Coordinator in Mulberry’s Chicago office. She enjoys the challenge of creating engaging content so that her clients can stand out among the rest.