If you had to imagine your business as a source of happiness and empowerment for your employees and customers, what would be the number one driving force? Beyond the obvious monetary perks, a long-term strategy of implementing a human value of compassion has shown immense success in some of the most recognized businesses worldwide.
Compassion starts with showing that you care
As the Marketing Director of a recognized economic powerhouse of Africa, I believe in putting people first over the business, nurturing relationships, and creating an emotional value in every decision I make. Does showing compassion in business create a visible impact? Should caring be a part of your business strategy, and most importantly, what benefits will it bring to your table? The answer lies in the impact you want to make in the community and how consumers, employees, and business associates perceive your brand.
It is not surprising to see Zoom, a video communications app, becoming the pandemic’s success story in 2020 by making a ground-breaking community impact, connecting people over video for business or weddings from the comforts of their home. From earning $122 million last year, Zoom reported a spike in its revenue, making $328.2 million from February – April 2020 alone. Today this popular video app is used worldwide for attending a yoga class, school sessions, corporate conferences, and so much more, making it possible for life to go on when everything nearly came to a standstill.
Beyond the B2B and B2C way of doing business, I am more focused on the H2H model; the human to human connection that sparks an everlasting relationship and a positive brand experience. I’ve stopped merely selling my products and choose to build trust with my customers and forge strong relationships with my colleagues. I know that if a business does not care about its customers or employees, it cannot succeed.
In 2014, when Facebook celebrated it’s ten years in business, Mark Zuckerberg, the Founder, and C.E.O. , announced its historical shift from ‘moving fast and breaking things to ‘build a culture of loving people they serve.’ Facebook did so by enhancing its privacy features and letting users decide if they wish to share their data with third parties and developers. By caring for its customers, Zuckerberg won the empathy of its users, who define his business’s success.
Compassion means working towards the goal of happiness
Former Harvard professor Shawn Achor shared in his Ted Talk, The Happy Secret to Better Work, that “Happy brains are 31% more productive than negative, stressed or neutral brains, and dopamine—released when we’re happy—turns on the brain’s learning centers.”
In this fast-paced, demanding world, your employees and customers may think the only thing you care about as a business is your profits. It’s time to turn the tables and make them feel celebrated and implement the strategy of ‘our success begins with your happiness.’
How do you start?
The good news is that you neither have to wait for Thanksgiving Day nor have massive budgets to buy expensive gifts. It is possible to implement a culture of compassion in business right away. It is as simple a sending a surprise lunch for your team, or taking a picture with your investor and sharing on your networks, expressing your confidence in the partnership.
Putting compassion into action
Google, a multinational technology company where some of the smartest and most innovative people work, rewards its employees by offering free meals, allowing pets at work, and having on-site medical services besides providing travel insurance, paid paternal leave death benefits to the deceased employees’ families. By making employees feel special and cared for,
Google creates an enjoyable and motivating work environment, where employees look forward to working.
In my book, The Storyteller, I shared my experience of linking our brand MO to the consumers’ happiness with an impromptu campaign and the everlasting impact it yielded. Our famous drink brand MO Soda is associated with the most prominent football team- SIMBA, and I wanted to bring this captivating partnership closer to the consumers. One fine day, I went to a famous beach with three SIMBA players and surprised the crowd with free jerseys and sodas give-aways. The public was thrilled, the event went viral, and thousands of people gathered in no time for this positive MO experience.
The rewarding benefits of caring
As a marketer, if I were to tell you the services we gained from this act of putting compassion in business by celebrating our customers, I may not remember the impressive statistics. However, the consumers’ ever-smiling faces are unforgettable. From the business perspective, we gained happy customers, built our image, and spread our brand message of ‘touching your life every day.’
In the words of Maya Angelou, “People will forget what you said. They will forget what you did. But they will never forget how you made them feel”. We need to implement this in our business strategy, not forgetting we are serving humans first and consumers later.
A positive brand experience
The foremost benefit of implementing the culture of caring in your business is the unforgettable positive experience you create for customers, employers, or partners. With the act of showing business compassion, you are making more human connections, allowing greater engagement and a space to express oneself. In this competitive world, where every brand wants to stand out and do something different, the small yet significant acts of gratitude will essentially define how you want people to remember you.
The ripple effects of success
With a positive reputation, your business will create the viral effect of a ‘feel-good’ brand. And in this digital age, where sharing reviews and experiences are done by exchanging messages or posting photos on social media, your expression of compassion in business will create a reputation as a valuable company, offering recognition and creating happiness in every possible way.
An outstanding example of building a culture of compassion, not only at work but also for the customers, is the NIKE Crazy Campaign for female sports players. The brand gives women voice and power for the moments when they are the most emotional while playing sports, and NIKE celebrates this crazy, strong persona and encourages women to dream bigger and ‘show them what crazy can do.’
Such campaigns based on empathy and cars are highly relatable and will naturally create a positive brand identity.
Creating an experience where your customers are always seeking your business is a golden opportunity. Whether you are offering exceptional customer service, a freebie, or simply saying ‘we appreciate your business that supports our workforce of 1,500 dedicated employees’ will take your business a long way than pleasing them with expensive advertisements.
Implementing a ‘we care’ strategy in your business routine
With the impressive benefits that compassion brings to your business, it is imperative to implement a caring culture with no hidden agenda. The least you want to do is make your employee, customer, or business partner think twice about your motive in the offering you make. It also makes more sense to run a year-round appreciation program as a part of your routine a business strategy, rather than a one-off gratitude act that would increase expectations and yield a low impact.
● Loyalty programs for consumers and performance perks for employees encourage one to take action without being told
● Enroll employees to new learning programs and training, and reward them with recognition and promotions
● Invest in employees’ passion and well-being to show that you care. Introduce de-stress yoga sessions, or exciting programs to make the workplace fun
● Be consistent in showing gratitude to your customers with thank you notes, emails, small giveaways, and warm smiles.
In the business world’s ever-changing dynamics, I believe authenticity is the key for people to see through you. And the values you uphold have a direct impact on your profits. Whether it is your customers, stakeholders, or employees, the simplest and the most effective way to show compassion in business, reinforces an undeniable positive business identity and a higher R.O.I. in the long run.