Customers Invest in Your Core Values and Brand Storytelling
Lou Holtz, the legendary American football coach, once said, “In this world you’re either growing or you’re dying, so get in motion and grow.”
I often think about this because it’s easy to get comfortable and I need to remind myself that there’s always more growing that I can do, that my team can do, that my business can do.
That’s not to say that growth at all costs in an unforgiving, get-outta-my-way, relentless kind of way is good. It’s a reminder to keep moving and growing because there are people who have invested in that growth.
In his book Atomic Habits, James Clear shows how tiny, marginal gains can have an outsized impact on growth:
“[I]f you can get 1 percent better each day for one year, you’ll end up thirty-seven times better by the time you’re done.”
Why am I talking about this?
Because I got to speak with Trevor Hellman, a Senior Video Producer at Hudl.com. The team at Hudl asks customers to invest in the company’s future by inviting them to grow together.
Little by little (and often lots by lots), the Hudl team helps the people they serve get better by using state-of-the-art video sports analysis. And in return, the Hudl team invites those same people to invest back in the company.
Here's how to get your customers to invest in your future
1 - Know your core values
Hudl defined and now lives by their core values. You can check them out here. According to Trevor, everyone working at Hudl knows these inside out.
And it’s because the team on the inside knows the values that the customers on the outside see those values in action.
How can you identify your core values?
Here’s a 3-step process for defining your core values:
Discover what matters to you
Not the usual BS about integrity (whatever that actually means). Dig deep and learn what matters to you and your team.
Care more about winning than just being good at what you do? Then you can choose to dominate like Hudl does.
Value community over individualism? Then make that a pillar of what you do.
Stand for X
Ask yourself and your team, what do we believe in above all else?
Maybe you sell a Saas product and believe that all customers deserve the same level of care. Maybe you're recruiting and know in your heart that diversity matters. Maybe you sell dog food and stand for natural ingredients.
Be consistent and stay persistent
You’re going to be known for your core values whether or not your customers know exactly what you have written down. They’ll know because that’s how you’ll behave.
Consistency reinforces your values to your customers. Persistence means you stick to your values no matter what happens.
Record your values
Write your values down and publish them for everyone to see. Especially inside your company. By reinforcing your values internally, your external communication will be consistent and meaningful.
2 - Know your ideal customers
You’ve probably heard this before, but it’s super important to know who you serve best. A deep understanding of who you sell to makes it easier to tailor your content, your messaging, and even your product to their needs.
For a quick way to get started on your personas, Hubspot published the Make My Persona tool. I suggest you check it out.
3 - Make your customers the heroes
Of course you’re in business to build cool sh*t and make money, but if that’s the only thing that matters to you you’re probably not going to last long.
If your values and your customers are the reason you’re in business, then that’s what you should talk about. When Trevor and Hudl share stories about their customers, they talk about the wins the customers make. They show how teams get better and win more and become champions.
That’s what we all should do: make our customers the heroes.
And it’s actually quite simple to do this. For Trevor, he’s on the field and talking with Hudl’s customers. For you, it can be the same, regardless of what the field you play on looks like.
Talk to your customers and dig for their stories. Once you find the stories that touch your heart, share those. If your product or service comes up, great. If it doesn’t, still great.
I encourage you to start by asking your customers what they’ve accomplished and what that means to them. Talk to them. Learn about them. And then share those stories (with permission, of course ;). Good things will happen when you do.
Investing in your customers = your customers investing in you
What happens when you do this is that you build a legion of customers who are happy to invest in you and your values.
By helping your customers grow and making them the heroes of your story, you give them the opportunity to return the favor in a virtuous cycle. Pretty cool, eh?