You know the drill: change is constant. The updates are endless. And in the first month of the year, blogs and articles abound about top trends to pay attention to in 2019.
At Javelina, we work with clients who are changing the world. We love helping them develop their stories and connecting them with who they most want to engage with. And while staying on top of trends is a part of what we do, sometimes it pays to remember the basics. Here are three tried-and-true foundational principles we’re bringing to our work this year:
- Get off the fence on issues;
- Pay attention to the people that like your service, and;
- Be transparent to establish trust
Get off the fence
People are watching, listening, and paying attention to the decisions your organization makes and the role it plays in our community. In 2017, as reported by Forbes, Cone Communications released a study that showed that 63% of Americans were looking to businesses to lead social change and 87% of Americans would be willing to buy a product or service based on a company’s social advocacy.
Largely driven by the millennial generation, employees and consumers today expect organizations to say: “This is who we are. These are our values. And this is what you can expect from us.” These are the organizations they want to work for and spend their money with.
And we see businesses large and small responding to this call.
Outdoor clothing company Patagonia is taking a revolutionary step and suing Trump to protect Bears Ears National Monument in Utah. When a business sticks its neck out there, it’s risky, but that risk can come with high rewards.
Patagonia is unapologetically environmentalist, and while that may not play out well with some customers, they understand they have to stay true to their values and take a stand against what they believe is fundamentally wrong. They trust that taking a stance will strengthen their relationships with the right target audience. Customers who are values-aligned with Patagonia will choose to spend their hard-earned money with them because they’re also invested in what the company stands for.
Taking a stand on the issues doesn’t have to mean getting political. It simply means knowing what matters to your organization and staying true to it in every thought, decision and action.
It starts with knowing your purpose, mission and values. Read this helpful guide to get started.
Pay attention to the people that like your service
Do you know what people trust?
- People they know
- Branded websites
- Editorial content
- Consumer reviews
Ads have long been plummeting to the bottom of the trust list. People know an advertisement is just trying to sell them something, obviously. People are busy. They scroll past ads. They get annoyed and overwhelmed by them, but the key is that they do not trust them.
People talk to each other. The whole spiel about someone being more apt to retell a story about a bad experience isn’t all true. We love talking about organizations and businesses we support. We talk about them in line at the grocery store, having lunch with friends, re-capping the day on social media.
You can block ads online, which almost 26% of internet users do, but you can’t block our big mouths and happy hearts when we encounter businesses we want to support.
Of course, paid ads play an important role in our 21st century, constantly-on-the-go, digital world. But the best investment you will make this year is in your happy customers/clients/supporters.
Encourage them to shout from the rooftop about the value they get from working with you. Pay attention to when people say nice things about you online, and be sure to thank them. When you get compliments from a patron, ask them to share their rave review with a friend. There’s no replacement for a recommendation from a trusted source – be sure to make the most of it.
Be transparent to establish trust
Too often in the world of work, we let frustrations build up and trust break down instead of having a conversation that might be a bit awkward. We prefer to let relationships decay than risk feeling uncomfortable and saying difficult things.
Follow these three guidelines for transparent communication to have better partnerships in 2019:
- When it comes to your customers, admit your faults when you need to. You’ll develop more trust with your consumers if you admit when you’re wrong and when you can improve.
- Get brave and be transparent with your coworkers, colleagues and strategic partners about how you feel. There isn’t a problem we’ve encountered that isn’t improved with direct, honest and kind communication.
- Don’t be afraid to directly request and respond to negative feedback. Embracing criticism says a lot about your capacity to improve.
There sure isn’t a shortage of challenges in our world today. The good news is that there are people like you and organizations like yours working harder everyday to tackle these challenges. In a world of constant change, following these foundational principles will help maximize your results in 2019…and beyond.