Presenting a universal set of brand values and a unified brand story to the customer is essential. As companies add headcount and new locations, it can become increasingly challenging to ensure the values remain present throughout the organization. In the absence of clear brand values, stores will begin to create their own—intentionally or unintentionally. Instead of viewing this as a negative, corporate and retail leaders can leverage store-specific values to create a stronger set of overarching brand values that resonate with all employees.

The Frontline Leader Mindset

You know that people create, perpetuate and uphold culture. Your brand has a set of stated values that you work to reinforce in your business every day, but you also manage a diverse group of individuals. Your geographic location and customer makeup are unique, which informs your store-specific culture. The more that you and your team can meet the customer’s needs, the better service your customers will receive. Though the company’s values are important, the people in front of you are just as important.

The Corporate Mindset

When it comes to brand values, you want to ensure consistency. It’s not that you want to discourage individuality, but you want to ensure that the same brand ethos is communicated to customers no matter the location. You also recognize that each store’s neighborhood and demographic makeup is different and you know that it’s essential for the store team to have the freedom to serve their customers in a bespoke way.

Better Together

There is a way for a specific set of store values and overall brand values to work in harmony with one another, creating a more engaged team and satisfied customers. To create this synergy, consider the below tactics:

  • Make it personal. Each customer group and geographic location will have its own set of values and norms that define what exceptional customer service looks like in that specific area. As a retail leader, you and your team naturally make adjustments to serve your customer population better. Why not ensconce those values? To reap the full benefit of a store-specific value set, bring your team into the conversation. Hold a workshop/brainstorm session at an upcoming meeting and ask them to contribute to the discussion—they may bring up something you wouldn’t have considered. Have your team come up with a plan of action to display these store-specific values in the back-of-house area. Devise a training plan to introduce new employees to the store value set alongside the higher brand values. When employees have a chance to weigh in on decisions, they are more likely to be bought into the result.
  • Show support. While ensuring the overarching brand values are communicated, encourage each store to think through how these brand values apply to their specific customer base. You may have a store in a fast-paced city that values speed above all else when it comes to customer service. If one of your values is to create a lasting relationship with your customers, work with the retail leader on how the team can uphold the relationship value while also expediting the purchase process. Though these things can seem to be at odds on the surface, you’ll likely find that retail teams can be incredibly resourceful when managing competing priorities.
  • Recognize what’s working. To ensure brand values and store-specific values are more than just words on a poster in the back room, reinforce values through recognition. Have a peer-to-peer award that represents each value and encourage team members to vote on each month or quarter. You can also discuss recent customer interactions where a value was used to create a connection and close a sale. For corporate employees, if a store as a whole has a solid set of values that are helping it to achieve its goals, be sure to recognize that team publicly in order for other stores to learn from what they are doing.

A unified set of brand values doesn’t mean each customer is treated the same. When corporate and retail leaders encourage strong store-specific values, both the customer and the company stand to benefit.

There’s always something you can do to increase your Double//Vision.