Panera Proud: Putting Core Values on Display

Oftentimes, you'd have to visit a company's website or browse a print brochure to be introduced to its core values. It's not everyday those values stare you in the face while you're choosing a Pick 2. Here's the refreshing transparency I spotted on a recent visit to Panera Bread:

As the photo of the in-store signage displays, the company's core values — referred to online as its Food Policy — are as follows:

+ We're advocates for clean food.

+ We're committed to menu transparency.

+ We're dedicated to having a positive impact on the food system.

It doesn't get more transparent than proudly displaying your core values in huge font for all to see as they pick out their menu items.

Bravi, Panera execs!

Establishing Business Policy: What's Your Honor Code?

If you wear glasses as I often do while working, then you know how great it is to walk into any eyewear shop and get a free adjustment when you need it. Until about a year ago, I'd offer money for the service, and the answer was always, "No charge."

One day, after passing by such a shop reminded me that my glasses were a bit off-center, I went inside. Curious about the no-charge response, I asked the clerk and he replied, "It's an unwritten code in our industry that we make adjustments for free. We do that as a courtesy, and hope that you'll think of us the next time you need new frames."

Such a simple policy, and while many people who take advantage of it may never return to that particular optician, it's far more valuable to get the occasional taker for a new pair of frames or an eye exam than it is to charge $5 for every adjustment. This big-picture thinking can help build your customer base, slowly but surely, and a loyal one at that. But don't be discouraged if you currently lack a professional code or company policy; it's never too late to establish one and build trust with your customers or clients.

ESTABLISHING AN HONOR CODE FOR YOUR BUSINESS This got me thinking, What's my honor code for my clients? My immediate answer has to do with quality control: When I come across a glaring typo online (usually in a headline or subhead), I will always speak up (and tactfully so), regardless of whether that website belongs to a client of mine. That's because I not only have a deep respect for the written word, but also for anyone trying to put his or her best foot forward, and I want that person's marketing materials to be presented as professionally as possible.

Yes, there is always the risk that my pointing out a typo could result in a defensive or adverse reaction, but this hasn't been the case so far; most people are grateful that the typo was caught. And if I'm lucky, that caught typo will make a person think of me the next time he or she needs copywriting or copyediting services.

Do you have an honor code for your business? Please share it by adding a comment below. I'd love to hear it!



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