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    The Difference Is Values

    The number of skeptics and cynics in the U.S. and around the world seems to be increasing. This is especially true when it comes to consumer attitudes toward financial institutions. It’s hard for folks to believe that their [fill in the blank with your choice of bank, insurance company, or investment bank] really gives a hoot about their well-being when their television ads promise to treat you like family and then they get slapped with a $7 per month fee for the privilege of depositing their money at 0.005% interest. If this is family, then put me up for adoption.

    But this distrust is our ally. Because the biggest differentiator we have is values. And that’s a characteristic that’s making a strong comeback with consumers in North America and around the globe. Moreover, I think this return to values (what once was old is new again) is more than a trend. And based on the effort of corporations to prove that they are values-based, so do many business leaders.

    The following are a grab bag of articles about this issue that I found interesting and I hope you do, too. Browse through them and let me know what you think. Even better, let me know what you’re doing to market your society’s “value differentiator” in the marketplace. I look forward to your comments…

    • Just substitute the word “fraternal” for “cooperative” and “mutual” in this brief paper and the message is 100% relevant. Learn how your competitors are communicating their values online and identify the questions you should be asking your management team as you develop an online marketing strategy.
    • Here’s a great chance for your society to be recognized by the Harvard Business Review and accelerate the shift toward a more principled, patient, and socially accountable brand of capitalism. (Haven’t we been doing that for over a century?) Enter your real-world case study in this unique “long-term capitalism challenge.”
    • Check out this article from the Milwaukee Business Times about fraternal values penned by Bill O’Toole, President & CEO of Catholic Financial Life. We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.
    • And take at look at this article about the important role of service clubs that was published in the Globe and Mail, one of the largest daily newspapers in Canada. Fraternal values are global – and the potential for expanding the model is very real, indeed.
    • And just in case you think our commercial competitors aren’t engaged in values-based marketing, look no further than the following “digital community report” prepared by Travelers.

    Watch for more on values-based marketing – including a report on the results of the Alliance’s Phase II consumer research – in upcoming posts.

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