Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know just how much things have changed over the past few years in our business, political and economic worlds regarding people’s relationship with the truth. The current atmosphere of “fake news” and misleading advertisements have left most of our customers skeptical and wondering if they can really trust anyone or any claim a company makes.
Contemporary marketing is often times bold and sensational, unafraid to come across as vulgar for the sake of hype. Traditional bait & switch marketing ploys frustrate and alienate a customer’s effort to get quality at a fair price. It could even be argued that at its worst, the heart of marketing is deception, over promising and under delivering—twisting the perception of the audience in order to increase sales.
From One to Many
As well, we operate within the marketing reality that, when somebody has a problem with a product or service, it’s no longer a private, one-to-one irate conversation over the phone. It’s broadcasted and amplified for the world to read and reconsider a company’s quality and trustworthiness.
84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation and 91% of consumers regularly or occasionally read online reviews.
Source: Bright Local
This means that any work you may have done building individual relationships can be undone with the right tweet to the right followers. How you treat the least of them is as important as any global campaign these days. So for all business owners, being honest and direct is no longer a “nice-to-have,” it’s a necessity.
As Christian business owners, we’re called to a higher standard, and truth that builds trust is central to all our relationships. This is particularly evident between our customers and ourselves. A brand’s trustworthiness builds brand value and equity in the marketplace. The higher the trust factor, the more customers are willing to engage with and buy our goods and services. Without trust, you don’t have buyers (or at least not for long). Over time, truth and transparency in our quality control, delivery and marketing efforts, create trust.
“To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice”
As a Christian entrepreneur looking to conduct business that is infused with truth, transparency and love, how can you market and expand your business without exploiting vanity and materialism?
Rethinking Your Marketing Efforts
Creating successful marketing campaigns can be a special challenge for Christian businesses in a secular society like Canada, where overt public expression of religious beliefs is politely frowned upon.
But Simon Sinek has been telling us, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” This idea is great news for Christian business owners, because why we do what we do is so central to our work. Business is our calling, our mission, and our businesses are the place where we do our best work to build a little part of the Kingdom every day. So why should we leave that out of our marketing messages?
You don’t necessarily have to talk about Jesus in every advertisement or blog post, but you can use the language of faith to describe your calling, your products, and services, highlighting why you do what you do and how that might resonate with prospective customers. Our faith and our hope are big reasons why we created our businesses and what keep us passionate about serving our customer base. Let’s talk about that! Let’s say what we do and do what we say, without exception. If we can’t do it, don’t say it.
Here are two examples of how Christian owned businesses speak to their values:
In-n-Out Burger is known for expressing their Christian values by printing proverbs in their food packaging. This humble effort does not have to cost extra, and yet it makes a huge impact.
TOMS Shoes showcases their faith-based mission by building philanthropy directly into their business model. For every pair of shoes, they sell, they give one pair away to a person in need across the world.
Bringing Christian faith into your marketing messages
Blending your faith and marketing messages isn’t necessarily about preaching to others or making your tag line about your religious practices. The methods you use, the framework you implement, and the people you work with all contribute to the bigger story you’re telling about your business. The words you use, the types of messages you embrace, and the businesses and causes you partner with can speak loudly to your faith.