The Value of Values

08 Apr 2014|Added Value

We’re living in a world where transparency and openness are considered a given. We expect authenticity from each other, as well as the things we buy or experience every day. Brand trust has always been important. But creating lifelong advocacy demands more. “The need to show some connection to a more noble purpose in everything you do has never been greater” says Added Value’s Global CEO Bart Michels, arguing that perhaps a clear purpose and values matter as much as a clear proposition and strong positioning.

Sainsbury’s, one of the UK’s top 5 supermarket retailers, is putting their brand purpose at the heart of their communications. In their ‘Live Well for Less’ advertising campaign, Sainsbury’s talk openly about the #ValueofValues and challenges arch rival, Tesco, on the real ‘value’ of their comparative range. With a clever play on the word ‘value’, Sainsbury’s campaign questions the cost of the product (in monetary terms) versus the integrity and ethical considerations involved in producing it. Sarah Warby, Sainsbury’s Marketing Director, stated*, “We know that…budgets are tight and our customers are looking for ways to save money, but nobody wants to compromise on the quality of their food. Our basics range offers great value with none of the compromise.” Additionally, Matt Woodhams, Brand Director of Added Value, says: “This campaign might make Sainsbury’s shoppers more loyal, which in turn can add value to the brand. It’s also cleverly dressed up as a price comparison which is a powerful narrative.”

In a world full of buzz and surface interactions, people are increasingly seeking more depth, more meaning and are more aware of the ethical impact of their everyday lives. They are encouraged to think about, and take responsibility for, the ethical status of the things they do, buy and support. Brands need to follow suit and act as citizens. And it seems to be working. Sainsbury’s posted the best performance of the four big supermarkets over Christmas, and according to the latest figures from Kantar Worldpanel, sales so far this year are up 3.1% (12 weeks to 5 January).

“In a world full of buzz and surface interactions, people are increasingly seeking more depth, more meaning and are more aware of the ethical impact of their everyday lives.”

During our recent Roundtable Debate, the discussion looked at the need for brands to put responsibility and values at the heart of their products. Patrick Jubb, formerly Global Marketing Communications Director at Jaguar Land Rover said: “You can actually create commercial success by being responsible through building a sound commercial case by which you want to move towards being more responsible”.

And it’s not just the retail sector that’s taking note. Alcohol brand Heineken is promoting a ‘Dance More Drink Slow’ campaign. Banking business’s are clambering over each other to regain consumer trust: Santander being the latest to introduce its new promise to produce products and services that are “simple, personal and fair” and Barclays recently stating that they want to transform into the go-to bank for all stakeholders by publicising their new ‘5Cs’ values scorecard; Customer & Client, Colleague, Citizenship, Conduct & Company.

Of course commercial acumen has to be at the core of everything a brand does; the product has to be appealing and the price attractive. But hand-in-hand with that we believe brands should behave as corporate citizens – delivering authentic social responsibility with impact. 2014 is the Year of More: consumers will demand more than ever from the brands that they trust or even from brands seeking to gain trust.

Image: Sainsbury’s

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