Principles Over Profits? The Value Of Brand Values

Remaining true to your core values, even in tough financial times, is vital to maintaining a viable, healthy brand in today's economy.

Staying committed to founding principles is essential, especially when these principles are the cornerstone of your brand’s identity. Consider a company like Airbnb, known for its brand promise of creating a sense of belonging, and in times of political or environmental disaster, providing temporary housing to those who’ve been displaced.

 How can more brands maintain their essence while also adapting to financial pressures?

Bumble's founding principle was to create a dating app that centered on women. In a patriarchal society in which men typically make advances -- not all of them wanted --Bumble thought it would be interesting to flip the script and empower women to make the first move. This groundbreaking business model drastically disrupted the dating space, with Bumble quickly earning its place as a media darling and amassing 12.3 million active users. A decade ago, founder Whitney Wolfe Herd famously rang NASDAQ's opening bell with her baby on her hip.



Which is why it was surprising when Bumble dropped that differentiating functionality from the app. Even more surprising was its recent ad campaign, which revealed a further drift from its women-centered philosophy. The ad copy: “You Know Full Well A Vow of Celibacy is Not the Answer,” was summarily rejected by the female consumers who use the app to find meaningful relationships, and stand by the right to decline sexual activity if they so choose. One user suggested on social media that Bumble was in its misogyny era.

So why the shift? You guessed it: revenue. Bumble’s crucial concern was to stave off a downturn, which is understandable. But there are other ways to safeguard financial health without back-pedaling the founding principles that made you a standout.

Diversify Revenue Streams

Just as other industry leaders have successfully acquired smaller players to strengthen their market position, brands can consider strategic mergers and acquisitions as a way to own more market share. What potential partnerships align with a brand’s values and could provide financial stability?

Innovative product updates can also keep users engaged. New functionalities will enhance user experience and prevent drastic shifts away from a brand’s core principles.

Engage in Value-Driven Marketing

Brands need to continually align their marketing with core values. How can your campaigns better reflect and celebrate your brand’s unique value proposition? Sponsorships and partnerships are also a great tool for developing credibility and increasing visibility.

Leverage Cultural Moments

Yes, you can capitalize on relevant trends without back-pedaling your core values. Just as cultural moments like the rise of influential women in media can be leveraged for brand alignment, look for trends that resonate with your brand’s mission.

Focus on Customer-Centric Innovations

Always solicit and act on customer feedback. By continually engaging with your customer base, you can implement feedback-driven changes and help ensure that your brand evolves in ways that stay true to its values.

Ultimately, it’s paramount to brand health to connect deeper with audiences during moments of transition. Staying true to your audience, especially when rallying around the historically marginalized, will help them stay true to you.

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