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The New Normal: It's About Value And Values

"A fool and his money are soon parted" is an old expression that has never been more true than it is today. Consumers and investors are not quick to let the moths out of their wallets. With unemployment figures high, every penny counts.

So how do marketers make their brands relevant and indispensable?

To learn how companies can communicate more effectively in this new world, Doremus teamed up with Prof. Paul Argenti from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.

Senior executives from "best in class" companies were asked what kind of messages got their attention in this new landscape being dubbed "the new normal."

What was learned came to be called "Communications in Crisis." One finding is that all business platforms need a complement to the Value offering, and that is a commitment to Values.

Also, while conspicuous consumption is out, consumers still enjoy the feeling of reward that comes from making a purchase that makes them feel good.



Wal-Mart has captured the concept very well with the tagline: Save Money. Live Better.

Unfortunately, most corporate communications are a wasteland of ineffective promises that fall on deaf ears. For many companies, their core message isn't resonating with their core audiences.

Companies today not only need to be committed internally and carry that commitment out in their everyday business practices, but they also need to communicate a commitment to Values to all their stakeholders.

While Value is an economic reality, Values are emotional. With so many brands offering similar products and services, corporate Values can be the new competitive edge.

Without this duality of Value and Values, companies will find it difficult to fully realize their business potential in the new marketing environment because Value combined with core corporate Values is the new societal expectation, and if they are not addressed in the corporation's communications, the brand will not be acknowledged. It's as simple as that.

Like Wal-Mart, other companies taking heed include Hyundai with its "Assurance" program. It's a plan in which new car purchases can be returned within a year if the buyers lose their jobs. The tagline: "Certainty in Uncertain Times."

In the B2B space, Knight Capital Group, a financial services firm serving the institutional investor and broker-dealer community, uses the tagline: "The Science of Trading. The Standard of Trust." Within the fastest, most dynamic segment of Wall Street, having the right balance -- delivering consistent value each and every time -- along with the highest levels of integrity, sets the firm apart. Knight blends its unparalleled technology and intellectual capital with the highest standards of integrity. It's this transparency in its relationships and delivery of consistent value that engenders trust both internally and externally.

As the dust settles and marketers begin to pick up the pieces, their brands need to reflect the new tune being played in the marketplace. Offer value based on ethical corporate Values, incorporate it into your communications, and you're on your way to navigating your brand out of the "crisis" and into the calm.

1 comment about "The New Normal: It's About Value And Values ".
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  1. Bill Roth from NCCT, February 4, 2010 at 10:52 a.m.

    Aligning Value with Values is a best practices pricing strategy used by the companies growing green revenues that I profile in my book, The Secret Green Sauce: Dr. Letitia Wright, LA Business Book Review Examiner wrote this about these case studies: Roth " details on the economics of green and repeatedly goes over the concept of “costs less and means more”. He shares how to properly price things."

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