By Chuck Thomas / in Blog, Branding & Market Views, NPOutlook / January 27, 2013
Values are the ground-zero of decision making. We purchase based on what we value. We sacrifice time, money and resources to have what we value.
Values are the heart motivation that cause people to make choices and take action. They are based on beliefs or ideals about what is good or or bad and desirable or undesirable. Values can be lasting and intrinsic, such as the inherent value of life, friendship, community. They can also be secondary, or learned and adaptive values such as wealth, mobility, or fitness. Values inform us in the decisions we make influencing our purchases, attitudes, behaviors. Values can change over time and across a lifetime. For example, the values an adolescent holds may be very different from the values the same person holds as an eighty year old.
Intrinsic values, like the preservation of life for example, can also be twisted, impacted by another’s beliefs, behavior and actions. An abusive parent, can twist a child’s perspective of the value of their life, impacting their a natural respect for another. A terrorist may be willing to trade his life and murder others based on a desirable future in an unknown afterlife, all this influenced by another teacher or mentor.
Politicians have an ability to project certain values that resonate with others in society, attracting them to their cause. These shared values, generate a shared vision of what could be, driving people to choose and support them.
Ultimately, as business leaders we are in the business of serving our customers, helping them choose products and services that bring life and health. Anything other than this is hedonistic, existential and hopeless.
As marketers and communicators dedicated to serve our customers, we must focus on understanding both the timeless and changing values of our target audiences. We must focus on how our products and services actually reinforce these life-giving values inherent in everyone.
Classic selling of product or service features and benefits is shiny-object selling — trendy and short-lived. Great companies make a values-to-values connection creating deep engagement, trust, loyalty, and advocacy.