What does your company stand for?

If it's largely to make more money than God and pay executives outrageous salaries and perks, don't count on customers, prospects and employees to believe in you.

Who wants to support a company whose values are out of whack with the rest of society? Companies driven solely by quarterly sales figures and stock price increases demonstrate they're in business largely for themselves and little else.

But companies with a cause--how they're making the world a better place--often create emotional connections with customers. Those customers in turn tend to become its advocates and biggest supporters--its evangelists.

A cause is not always the same as a mission/vision statement. A cause is simple yet meaningful. It is something to believe in and rally around, because a well-defined cause usually:

  1. Defines a company's vision
  2. Makes people better
  3. Generates big effects
  4. Catalyzes selfless actions
  5. Polarizes people

A cause is a grand plan to change the world. It's a piece of someone's soul. It gets people talking at a deeper level, using emotional constructs.

Richard Cross and Janet Smith outline how “identity bonds” are formed between customer and company.

In Customer Bonding: 5 Steps to Lasting Customer Loyalty they write, “Identity bonds are formed when customers admire and identify with values, attitudes, or lifestyle preferences that they associate with your brand or product. Customers form an emotional attachment based on their perception of those shared values.”

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Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba are the authors of Creating Customer Evangelists: How Loyal Customers Become a Volunteer Sales Force.