Crafting a Socially Responsible Company Values Statement

2022-06-30T14:00:08-05:00September 22, 2020|Opinion, Resources|

Whether it’s your company’s mission statement or the message conveyed in its content marketing, everything about your brand tells a story to the public. While consumers get bits and pieces of the puzzle from various sources, it’s your company values statement that really tells them who you are. 

Your values statement shows the public both your priorities and values. In fact, it’s frequently called the “soul” of a company. The statement should be an honest representation, but it’s also important to recognize the growing trend towards social responsibility. If you can combine these two, you’ll have the perfect values statement.  

Be honest about shortcomings

Values statements can come in many formats. Regardless of the route you choose, you need to be transparent about where you’ve fallen short in the past. It will show consumers that you recognize you could’ve been doing better, and they’ll be welcoming of your attempts to do so.

Consider the following shortened version of a values statement. It shows full transparency along with concrete examples of how improvements will be made:

“We’ve long cared about social justice in our community, but we recognize we could have done so much more through our philanthropy. That’s why we’re focusing on our improved set of values: 

Connect: Our charity arm will focus on community engagement. 

Listen and Amplify: Women, LGBT and minorities representation among management will increase by 25%. 

Respect: Each employee will receive sensitivity training. 

Leadership: We’ll strive to shine as an example of social justice within our industry.”

Remember that this is a very shortened version of a socially responsible company values statement, but it conveys some of the most important aspects. Transparency and concrete examples of your plans to improve are essential. Otherwise, people may simply see this as a PR stunt meant to assuage the public. 

It may seem counterintuitive to actively point out where you’ve dropped the ball in the past, but doing so is essential in the current climate. Consumers are demanding that brands be transparent and purpose-driven. By showing your commitment to improvement, you’ll gain the respect that brands need to survive. 

Show how you’re “walking the walk”

A successful company values statement that focuses on social responsibility does more than just share the story of how you’ll improve. You’ll also need to be forthcoming about what you’re doing to “walk the walk.” Consumers don’t want words, they want action. 

Have you already taken steps to remedy an organizational culture issue? Has your brand partnered with a local non-profit to give back to the community? People need to hear about it! Consider the following introductory paragraph of a values statement to get an idea of how this should be done: 

“We refuse to give into the idea that corporations can only focus on profit. While we’ve no doubt dropped the ball in the past, we’ve striven to make amends through our community partnership with XYO Non-Profit. Our Diversity Hiring Initiative has also helped us amplify voices that are far too often silenced.” 

If you’re starting out on your path to doing better, it can be difficult to come up with ideas for “walking the walk.” After all, proving yourself can take time. One way to expedite your social proof is to offer discounted or free services to non-profits, marginalized groups and underrepresented communities.

Understandably, this sometimes isn’t possible. You should think hard on whether it’s actually impossible or if you simply think it’s not economically advisable. These are two different things, and the latter shouldn’t be a huge concern for reasons explained below. 

What to expect from your new values statement

There are countless benefits from focusing your company values statement on social responsibility. Two-thirds of consumers, for instance, will spend more to do business with sustainable brands. Over 80% of Millennials even expect their brands to be publicly open about their values. 

Research also found that people are willing to work for companies that pay less if they view them as socially responsible. Even better than that, though, is the fact that these individuals are found more productive. A values statement that showcases a socially responsible brand can also accomplish the following:

  • Improve public image. 
  • Increase employee satisfaction. 
  • Build brand loyalty.
  • Create brand differentiation. 
  • Reduce employee turnover. 

The benefits of being a values-driven company are so well-known, in fact, that over 90% of the 250 largest companies in America release annual reports on social responsibility. Even though the benefits are undeniable, you’re likely concerned about the possibility of losing customers. 

Unfortunately, this is something that does happen. Not everyone in this world views social responsibility as a virtue. Statistics show that over 20% of Americans don’t view racism and discrimination as a “big problem,” and over 20% don’t view the anger behind recent protests as justified.

When you’re fretting over this potential outcome, though, just keep the following in mind: 

  • After its Colin Kaepernick ad, Nike stock reached an all-time high. 
  • Google’s initiatives have made consumers view it as the world’s most socially responsible company. 
  • Loyalty from Millennials who prefer purpose-driven companies continues to take Starbucks stock to new heights. 

Of course, being purpose-driven can work the other way as well. When Goya decided its “purpose” was to support Donald Trump — even in the face of his immigration stance — the company received about $47 million in negative publicity. This goes to show that taking a stand isn’t always positive. 

When your company value statement showcases a business that cares about others, though, consumers will grow to trust and respect your brand. Even if you lose a few consumers who don’t support social justice, you’ll typically more than makeup for this loss with new customers and increased brand loyalty. 

Make your company value statement work for you

Your company’s value statement isn’t a form of content marketing, but it often serves that exact purpose in reality. People are now spending their money with values in mind more than ever. By crafting a socially responsible values statement and then living up to it, you’ll undoubtedly attract consumers who care about justice.

It’s important for brands to utilize every resource at their disposal to prosper in these dynamic times. That’s why we’ve made our Brand Activism Guide free for download. Click here to get your copy.

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