LONDON – LIVING – Any discussion of selling makeup based on values vs. culture must begin by defining the two terms. Your values ought to be the foundation upon which your business is built and should remain constant. They must serve as the final arbiters when it comes to your decision-making regarding what’s important and—more significantly—what’s right. Said succinctly, the values upon which you settle are the rules by which you choose to play the game.
Values Inform Culture
Culture, on the other hand, can be more fluid. Absolutely shaped by values, culture is their manifestation as they pertain to particular circumstances. Over time, the needs of your business will change. To function, your businesses’ culture will morph to adapt to those changes, even while leaving your underlying principles unchanged. So while your culture should be informed by your values, your values should be the baseline upon which your culture rests.
Key values include transparency, collaboration, communication, respect, and integrity. If your company is very small and you sell cosmetics from home, applying your culture to those values can be more personal and immediate. After all, your interactions will be with a relatively small number of people. More often than not, these will also be the people you trust to help you make decisions about running the business. In this case, living by your values will be more of a function of a culture of interpersonal communication. Transparency, communication, collaboration and the like can be exercised in a more direct fashion.
However, in a large organization, you don’t want everyone to be privy to the decision-making process. So rather than being immediately informed, some people might get the information once an idea is firmly jelled. You don’t have time (nor would you really want) to seek the opinion of everyone in the company. Instead, you’d consult the heads of the affected departments before establishing a policy. In both cases, the underpinning values remain constant, but the application adapts to suit the situation.
Change Is Inevitable
In the cosmetics business, there are many hard and fast values by which you need to abide if you’re going to be successful. First and foremost, you should always strive to ensure your customers get products that perform as advertised, without doing them any harm. That’s a basic value. However, because you’re functioning in the fashion industry, you’ll also have to keep abreast of cultural trends to stay relevant.
In an interview with The New York Times, Lynne Greene, global president for the Clinique, Origins and Ojon brands at the Estée Lauder Companies in New York, said; “One of the things that’s been extremely important to us is to make sure our heritage brands like Clinique remain relevant. To do so, we have focused a great deal on innovation in service, in digital and in-store.” In other words, while the values that made Estée Lauder the respected corporation it is have remained unchanged, the company’s culture has evolved to embrace modern marketing, delivery and customer engagement paradigms.
If you want your cosmetics business to be successful, it’s important to understand the differences between selling makeup based on values vs. culture. Your values, your core beliefs, should always remain constant—even as you alter your business model over time to embrace cultural changes. As long as those shifts hold fast to the values upon which your company’s reputation was made, your customers will gladly come along with you. However, if you allow your values to become a moving target, you’ll alienate your customer base, sully your reputation and lose their business.