It’s always a challenge to not come across as preachy, but rather to provide a moral compass to what you do in business. In an age of change and challenges, how do we take the high yet profitable road as marketing professionals and business leaders? Through experience, I have learned that the choices we make, the example we set and the values we uphold are recognized and often times applauded by all internal and external stakeholders.
Marketing is a very powerful tool, but like any business practice, it needs to be guided by a system of values driven by what is right and what is wrong. Your judgment is more than a barometer; it embodies who you are and what you stand for. The end game is to transcend persuasive messaging and provide a message that adheres to your organization’s belief system. This system must be more than a moral compass but embody the essence of your brand.
Here are some guiding principles to remember:
- Stick to your core competencies. If you focus on what you do best, it will always translate into not only the greatest and most profitable path, but also one that is responsible and in the best interest of your clients. As we see many times in business, brands that trade down their product offering for a cheaper alternative or dilute their brand promise often fail or suffer a setback.
- Stay on message. It is critical to develop a messaging strategy that aligns with your unique values. This will keep your content in check and ethical yet still persuasive and engaging.
- Be careful of short-term gains. Remember your short-term decisions will have long-term consequences. Every message you curate or campaign you launch will create a legacy for your brand. Companies that try to create shockwaves in the market or spend resources just for attention oftentimes lose their long-term momentum or dilute their equity in the marketplace. Choose wisely.
- Protect your brand assets. Your brand is your essence; it embodies who you are and what you stand for. Be an exceptional steward for your brand and it will translate into an appropriate and compelling brand story.
- Give back. Remember to give back not only to the greater community but also to your team and clients; these are your real assets that need to be nurtured and protected. Your rapport with them needs to be open, honest and authentic. They are looking to you for guidance and support – it’s a responsibility that needs to be embraced.
- Remember it’s not always about you. As marketers, we spend a lot of time touting our offering and forget we would be valueless without our clients. It’s critical to first think about your clients and their needs before your own and how they will benefit from our offering. Our clients are not only critical assets but are valuable partners.
- When times get tough, it’s time to start listening. It may be time to embark on a listening tour to gauge how you’re being perceived and solicit candid feedback from your sphere of influence – both internally and externally.
- To earn respect, you must give respect. Remember that to gain the respect of others, you must first earn it. This can be accomplished by solid communications and managing expectations of all influencers. The result will be worth the effort and will resonate with all of your public audiences.
Taking the high road may not always be the most profitable one, but in the long run, you will win the race. As professionals, we are responsible for what we market and how we market it. Ultimately, we must own the choices we make and sustain a profit in the process.
This post was featured on Forbes.com