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 In Blog, Company Culture, Opinions

Yesterday, like many Black people, on and off #LinkedIn. I was cross. And I was angry. So I went on a #socialmedia strike. In solidarity with #BlackOutTuesday for #BlackLivesMatter. But today, still with both of those hashtags and the reason for them in my heart. I want to talk about it.

And it’s connections to brand values. To the future. The future of work. And the future of our values. And yours too…

ITS DEEPER THAN YOU MIGHT THINK. AND IT’S NOT ABOUT BEING BLACK.

Many “other” people got behind #BlackOutTuesday and so did many well-known companies. A lot of feedback was given on both sides. It became a very hot topic and I hope in some way it made people think. If it didn’t – then perhaps the civil disturbances did.

This blog is not about that.

It’s about brands. And how massive companies like Microsoft, Google, and even LinkedIn came “off the fence”. And made a point of saying that racism is NOT OK.

Which makes sense as it’s not just white people who are their customers or consumers. It’s the same with TV and media.

And so a lot of famous people also came out about it. Some passionately. With a variety of values being shown. Fair play Seth Rogen (#NSFW). And also fair play James Corden(#VSFW). At different ranges of the spectrum.

But others did not. They fell silent.

Both company brands and personal brands. Large and small. Usually through fear of saying something or saying the wrong thing. Or damaging their brand by saying anything.

Which made me think about brand values.

WHAT DID WHERE YOU WORK DO?

For many small brands – run by people not affected by the racial situation in America. The hashtags surrounding this trending topic became too tempting to NOT take advantage off. And so things appeared online that will become case studies for BAD marketing in the future.

This one for example. Thanks David for it.

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Others seem to react against it and get in more trouble with their own employees. And so it’s interesting to see what’s happening in Facebook at this time.

I don’t know if the posted anything official on it’s platform.

Many other individuals and organisations came to the day late.

And so put up posts in solidarity late on. But they showed they cared.

I was very proud that both The Landing and MediaCityUK did so. In doing so they showed their VALUES.

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For example, I know, with many hours of work with The Landing – that one of our new values is around inclusion. And integrity.

And so it makes sense to post out an image and a statement around being inclusive. And having integrity. In fact, not doing might show a lack of adhering to the company values…

WHAT ARE YOUR COMPANY’S VALUES?

It’s worth thinking in this time of furlough for many and working from home for most, what our company values are. Not just the brand values. But the deeper values – the real values. Not just stuff written on company walls. As with remoteworking our company’s don’t have those walls anymore.

What does the place we work in stand for? What’s its purpose? What do you all share together. What are your shared values? Did only one person post out about injustice yesterday. Or will tomorrow. Or in the future? And if so WHY only one? What’s stopping your brand from joining in?

If the decision is purely financial. Then I have a feeling that might damage your employee brand. But it might not. I know if I hadn’t been given the space to be angry and the time to centre myself. Then I would have thought a LOT less of my employers. And those brands that aren’t saying anything for fear of being political. Or even worse are siding with the institutions that have caused this racial divide – have LOST my custom.

Those that have come out and said something have gained my respect and trust. As in my eyes they have done the right thing. But that’s just my values.

WHAT ARE YOUR VALUES?

Yesterday, in my space, to centre myself, I looked back at my own values work. Work I had done and not changed for over 20 years. Work done to establish my own values that I have lived by – they are:

  • Respect
  • Integrity
  • Creativity

And it was interesting, as I had time to re-examine these. Not just values. But core desired feelings. How do I want to feel? Rather than words I want to live by. The distinction is important. And it’s the same for companies and brands.

How do your employees want to feel? Or how do your team mates want to feel? How do you know – if you don’t know THEIR values. Not just the brand values of the company.

But brand values for a company are important. Especially in external marketing. So the brand values for www.yourFLOCK.co.uk (an #HR #tech startup I invested) for example are:

  • Uniqueness
  • Collaboration
  • Passion

And then we have our name FLOCK – as birds of a feather FLOCK together. As our piece of technology helps managers keep remote teams together by investigating their values. The important underlying beliefs that keep people together.

So we like to show our brand values in our marketing. We create new pieces of content around key themes that are unique. We work with people and organisations showing our collaboration. And our passion we hope comes through in each piece of work we do.

WE LOVE FLOCK. BECAUSE OF WHO WE ARE. NOT WHAT WE SAY WE ARE.

We all LOVE working on FLOCK and working on the future of work.

If you don’t. You don’t get to work with FLOCK. Or even invest in it. It’s that simple. We live our values.

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We are about remote work. We are a remote team.

We are multi cultural.

Multi generational.

Our board is 50% women and men.

More than 35% of our team and including our board and investors are Black.

We show our values in HOW we hire. Who we hire. In what we do. And why we do it. And who we let invest in us.

Not just by posting about #BlackLivesMatter.

That’s a behaviour not a value. A value is something you live by. And it makes economic sense for brand to truly be like this as …

Did you know?

“value driven companies make 12 times more on the stock market.”

It’s how the giants became giants by showing and living their values. At the start.

It’s going to be interesting for all brands. As we move to the new future. This new start where employee brands and the retention of talent might play a key part.

That external marketing will only be ONE part of showing your values.

Oh and if you are still wondering or conflused about #BlackLivesMatter vs #AllLivesMatter here’s a great cartton that might clear things up a bit..

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IT’S A HOT TOPIC I KNOW. BUT I WOULD LOVE YOUR COMMENT BELOW. FROM A BRAND AND MARKETING POV RATHER THAN A POLITICAL ONE.

by Dan Sodergren

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