With pressing world issues of diversity, representation, inclusion, and sustainability, it is no surprise that many brands are integrating them into their core values. But some have been doing so since the day they were founded. Here are four companies displaying some of the greatest examples of upholding moral and ethical values in their mission.
Ben & Jerry's
Ben & Jerry’s (aka Ben & Jerry's Homemade Holdings Inc) is an American company, known across the world for making ice cream, frozen yogurt and sorbet.. It was founded in 1978 and is one of the most well-known ice cream brands (if you haven’t bought a pint of their Cookie Dough ice cream after a miserable day, you haven’t lived).
Its product mission is to make, distribute and sell the “finest quality all-natural ice cream” by incorporating nutritious, natural ingredients. To ensure product quality, Ben & Jerry promotes practices that respect the environment and minimise the negative impact on it. This is done by using sustainable and safe methods of food production that reduce environmental degradation.
In terms of its economic mission, it strives for a sustainable financial basis of profitable growth but emphasises expanding opportunities for its employees. One of its values is to show “a deep respect for human beings inside and outside our company and for the communities in which they live.” The company wishes to create economic opportunities for those who have been denied them and to advance economic justice. Its philanthropic organisation supports the founding values of the company, by recognising the lack of parity in opportunity for everyone.
Overall, the company offers jobs that ultimately “improve the quality of life locally, nationally and internationally.” By integrating politics into its campaigns and ice cream flavours, it highlights its fight against injustices at “local, national and international” levels. It supports “nonviolence, peace and justice” and focuses on those it can help in its organisation and the environment by extension.
Nike is an American, multinational corporation that designs, develops and manufactures athletic apparel, from footwear, to accessories and services.
its mission is to expand human potential. Or more specifically (and as it stated in 2010), it wishes to “bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world and if you have a body you are an athlete.” The brand’s core values are performance, authenticity, innovation and sustainability (as most materials it uses are sustainable). Moreover, that anyone who has a body can become an athlete, and it provides the merchandise to facilitate potential.
In its employees, it wishes to reflect the value of authenticity and has built a diverse, inclusive and empowered global team.
One of its most popular campaigns was to partner up with former NFL player, Colin Kaepernick. The slogan “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” received a mixed response. It capitalised on Kaepernick’s bold move in bending the knee while the National Anthem was playing at his football game. In supporting Kaepernick, and the decision he made, Nike’s online sales actually spiked 31% in the weekend following the launch.
Emanating the values of hope and potential underlie many of its campaigns and strategy: that you can not only change yourself, but others for the better.
The third brand that has strong and positive values is Aerie - one of the two lifestyle brands owned by American Eagle Outfitters Inc which was founded in 1977. Today it has over 1,000 stores and 40,000 associates worldwide. its main values are: people, integrity, passion, innovation and teamwork. Aerie focuses on bras, undies, swim and “so much more”, and has adopted the tagline “HONEST. FUN. RELAXED. SEXY. NATURAL. STRONG. REAL.”
Focusing on the 15-25-year-old consumer, concerns over body image were at the centre of Aerie’s campaign. its bold move to kickstart the hashtag #AerieREAL has grown beyond the simple tactic of “no retouching” any of its models: it has come to be a celebration of women of all sizes and shapes. Indeed, the fact that its first value is people, signifies just that. Community in Aerie is celebrated, and the customers look just as the models, showcasing that happiness, creativity, and lingerie can go hand-in-hand.
With the main message of “the real you is sexy”, Aerie has perfectly encapsulated the very values it wishes to uphold. Its people are empowered: whether it be employees, or customers. They are passionate in their purpose and want enthusiasm rather than dread when it comes to their products. Finally, they succeed because the brand works as a team, not only leasing with one another, but having a constant feed into the community and receiving feedback on their messages and products.
Aerie is a personal favourite of mine. It’s personable in an industry which so often distorts the reality of bodies and standards of health – it celebrates the person as they come, which is what most people should endorse.
Finally, a brand where most of the above information has been accessed with: Google. Google is a multinational technology company which was founded in 1998, but quickly rose to be one of the “Big Four” technology companies (others being Amazon, Facebook and Apple). Google specialises in search engine services, online advertising technologies, software and cloud computing.
Funnily enough, its core value started off as “don’t be evil,” which was quite macabre. It has since evolved into “do the right thing”. Google’s Executive Chairman and ex-CEO Eric Shmidt actually wrote a book, called “How Google Works”. It was much less a series of 0’s and 1’s, and more about how the company’s values emanated from “do the right thing” and became an embedded ethos among all employees.
Indeed, the tone of what follows reflects largely the tone of the company and the attitude of their nature. The following include the values that stem from “do the right thing”:
- Focus on the user and all else will follow
- It’s best to do one thing really, really well.
- Fast is better than slow.
- Democracy on the web works.
- You don’t need to be at your desk to need an answer.
- You can make money without doing evil.
- There’s always more information out there.
- The need for information crosses all borders.
- You can be serious without a suit.
- Great just isn’t good enough.
The focus on the people, and the authenticity and drive of the people is far from what most expect from Google. Its reputation and search engine monopoly denote the image of its workers synonymous to being part of a finely oiled machine. All working to do their part but being a part of something huge.
Instead, the effort of doing “one thing really, really well”, being “serious without a suit” and the “focus on the user” suggests just the opposite. That to achieve great things, one must be surrounded by curiosity and determination. That a world exists beyond a desk: and not all is learned by a book. If good intentions are present in the workers in a company, and that they all share a thirst for knowledge, dreams come true.
One of the quotes from the book is “If you hire great people and have big goals, you will probably succeed.” A pleasant surprise from one of the Big Four.
All are examples of brilliant brand values that have been successfully embedded into the businesses so that every customer engagement and interaction is consistent and correct.
Make your company like theirs today.