From Ben and Jerry\’s ice cream:
He insists that focusing on “shared values” – rather, presumably, than share value – is “very profitable”. Whereas conventional companies “pay a whole bunch of money to advertising agencies to come up with a made-up story to try to make the public feel good about their brands, a value-led business puts its resources into adding to the quality of life in the community. That builds customer loyalty.”
Super, go for it. Have fun, make money.
But of course, this only works with those who share or desire those values that you are pushing. And there are some very different value systems out there. There is an, admittedly and thankfully very small, market out there for a company whose values include being beastly to Jews. I don\’t think it will shock anyone at all to hear that there really are racists in our society who would respond to having their idiocy pandered to. Or sexists, capitalists, neoliberals and all sorts of groups that have slightly different value systems from those put forward by Ben and Jerry\’s.
And yes, there are those who will respond to the idea that the Brazil nuts in their ice cream were harvested from wild forests. Although quite why they should, given that the nuts don\’t grow well in plantations and are thus not commercially farmed in that manner is a tad beyond me.
So, companies that appeal to the values of their potential customers: yup, great idea. Have fiun and make money. But I\’m afraid you cannot complain if some of them appeal to values you don\’t share: for many will not share the values that you push.
Which leads then to the joy of this market thing. Companies that do define themselves by these values get to compete for the attentions of those who care about such things. Those catering to the rarer prejudices will either fail or stay small, those who cater to the mass ones successfully will prosper and grow fat. Which is excellent, isn\’t it?
For it is how we get both Simon Cowell and the Royal Philharmonic, both Virgin Airlines and Ryanair and both Walls and Ben and Jerry\’s.