Strong values make it easier to behave in a way that builds your business. And the Corona situation is certainly putting the strength of corporate values to the test. The range of business response is showing us whose got values worth more than the website they’re written on. Take these three examples who have chosen very different paths in their response to COVID-19…
THE GOOD: Gousto – Their values are Dream, Deliver, Care. Two weeks ago, they sent the following email to their customers explaining their plans to look after their customers and those who are alone or at most risk (and urging us all to do the same) In the interim period they, like others, have had stock and staff issues but their customers are not complaining; instead they’re expressing support for the work they are doing to maintain their service.
THE BAD: Spaces – part of the Regus group - have no values of their own but profess to have an ethos about ‘people and ideas’. Currently they are being ‘slammed’ by their community of entrepreneurs as they maintain radio silence on how they will help the small businesses in their ‘communities’ to ride out these troubled times. The only tangible communication that they have given to tenants recently is about cutting cleaning hours!
THE UGLY: Britannia Hotels – A company without a mission statement or values to guide them which decided to fire its staff and evict them, with no notice, at the start of the COVID-19 crisis (ironically just 1 day prior to the government deal to pay 80% of salaries). While they may have won a short term gain, it will be at the expense of their long-term commercial health…For those of us with long memories it feels like a Ratner’s moment – the sort a business never recovers from.
So, what can we learn from this? It is in times of adversity that a company can really demonstrate how its values make it stand apart, show why it’s different from competitors and use its purpose to build strong connections with customers... It’s a time to create phoenixes with the power to rise again because customers want to return when they can.