In our experience, nothing grabs attention like a mission. When it comes to building an audience for your products and services, you need to give your company meaning. This can mean stating your position, or arguing your case.
We’ve had plenty of experience in this area. Through working with financial advisers, our founder Robin Powell has built our sister brand, Regis Media. It exists to provide content marketing for advisory firms, but it is built on a philosophy - That evidence-based investing is the only way to go for the vast majority of investors. Regis Media won’t work with anyone who ignores evidence at the expense of investors, and that has made us extremely well known and well liked, albeit amongst the crowd who agree with us.
A typical Regis Media video
But what we do here is very powerful. In an industry whose biggest problem is public distrust, we have found our ‘right’ way of doing things. In this case, that means basing investing strategy on peer-reviewed academic evidence, being transparent and keeping costs low. And we fight for that cause. You could argue that we’re only restricting ourselves by refusing to work with those who don’t fit our philosophy, but conversely, I’d argue that it’s our argument that draws customers to Regis Media in the first place.
You can see this at work in huge global brands. Beauty companies like L’Oréal and Dove have seen huge success from socially conscious campaigns. They recognised that by being inclusive and showing they want their products to cater for everyone, they would garner support from a public which was fed up of seeing the same old white, skinny models on their adverts - Something which only represents reality for the relatively small number of white, skinny people served by those products. Those companies, by picking up on a groundswell of public feeling, have redefined beauty and made it more inclusive.
L'Oréal 'campaign for True Match foundation
If your mission isn’t immediately obvious, make it transparency. Regis Media’s philosophy comes as a reaction to an opaque industry that historically has not revealed conflicts of interest, or the relatively poor performance of expensive active fund managers against index funds. People will not engage with a company they don’t trust - It’s the single biggest issue you face when you’re trying to do business.
So, you can start by giving your audience as much information about who you are and what you do as possible, in a format which is easy to consume. For many companies, particularly those offering services which cost thousands of pounds, it’s vital to confront those prices and explain your costs.
Me trying to explain what affects the cost of a video
In his book Disruptive Marketing: What Growth Hackers, Data Punks and Other Hybrid Thinkers Can Teach Us About Navigating the New Normal, Geoffrey Colon writes that transparency is a key trend in marketing. He says that people want to deal with ‘authentic companies, including those that admit their mistakes… as will those who make social responsibility a main part of their culture’. Now that the internet and social media have opened lines of communication irrevocably, you have to give potential customers something to charm them. Competition is such that they can almost always take their business elsewhere. You can’t be faceless anymore - It’s a good thing for a company to have a view on subjects related to their business.
With regard to social responsibility, I’d say that if there’s a way that you can do some real good as part of growing your business, you should definitely take the opportunity. But it shouldn’t be an afterthought. Businesses are more visible than ever before, and they have no choice but to answer to people. In such an environment, social responsibility can actually become the key driver for the growth of the business, rather than something you do once you’ve already achieved massive profits. I believe that the incentive is there, and we’ll see more and more companies grow by following their mission.