Stacey Bingle, Consumer Trends Consultant at Mintel recently wrote that the number one lesson for businesses to create brand trust is to state their values. Today it’s clear that if you’re not defining yourself on social values as a business, someone else will do it for you.
The financial and legal woes currently being experienced by Retail Food Group are a stark reminder of exactly what can go wrong. While likely not all attributable to a lack of social values, it’s clear that stagnating business formats, along with changing consumer expectations are making it tougher for long standing food businesses to survive.
Keeping up and steering effectively through the change is critical for business growth and longevity.
And building trust by stating your values is a key way forward.
There is no doubt global consciousness is rising around the role business plays in society, and for food businesses, the role they play in enhancing people’s health and in enhancing the environment around them.
The idea that businesses can survive based on a profit goal alone has faded. This has been no more strongly indicated than by the head of BlackRock Investments, the world’s largest investment company, who announced in January this year that business cannot survive without doing more than simply making a profit. Referring to the fact that the mood of society has changed, Larry Fink, CEO said there is increasing demand that businesses, both public and private, serve a social purpose.
What does this mean for food businesses? Developing your values is critical. But values that serve a social purpose must also have integrity.
If you’re in a food business, the greatest level of integrity lies in developing values that centre around your food. Food is what you have expertise in – it’s likely you understand your food, your products and the system that sits behind it better than anyone else. You have the ability to leverage this expertise and to develop food values that serve a social purpose. There are plenty of opportunities to do this and we’re starting to this being taken on by businesses throughout the food system – from small, to medium, to large, to very large.
Finding a social purpose that can be linked to your food values and which will demonstrate integrity, provides your brand with the opportunity to differentiate, engage your teams and stakeholders, build your brand voice and create greater meaning with consumers.
Now is the time to act.