Webster’s Dictionary defines faith as “Fidelity to one’s promises, or allegiance to duty, or to a person honored and beloved; loyalty”. So one could conclude that a faith based business is a business that keeps their promises, has an alliance to duty, and honors their customers.
Identifying a Faith Based Mission
A faith based company would assumedly create their mission from inherent belief systems in which they hold dear. They would value traditional virtues like honesty, stead-fastness, kindness, integrity, and justice. Brotherly love would be at the top of the pyramid of what makes a faith based company tick.
Considering the implications of what “faith based” means, what would the internal dynamics of a faith based business look like and why would a company choose to market to a faith based audience? The faith based consumer is a massive group.
Addressing the Corresponding Market
Faith-based marketing can help reach an expansive audience with an estimated purchasing power of $5.1 trillion a year with more than 70% of the American population identifying with some form of faith. By lighting a fuse in this market, word of mouth can spread rapidly because of the fellowship they have with one another.
A smart faith based marketing plan would strive to represent a business that optimizes faith by providing ethical and exemplary service for its customers. This eventually defines who the company is, so that their mission is not just a lip service.
This in turn makes the business a gatekeeper for others who want to be able to trust their provider and also helps build a credibility that others may spend millions to create. By creating a trusted name a business can create an opportunity for others to spread by word of mouth their belief in a name brand, including product endorsements.
Establishing and Sticking to Faith Based Business Principles
When you have principles in place, supported by a common thread and trust, then the principles transcend what many see as workplace drama or hardship.
Because we exist in a multi-faith market, most successful faith based marketing plans do not create a strong preconceived impression that would be offensive to potential consumers.
Learning From Faith Based Businesses
For example, Chick Fil A, Forever 21, and In N Out Burger are all faith based companies. These companies don’t outwardly promote themselves as evangelicals. Chick Fil A is known for excellent customer service, next to none friendliness, and fresh quick meals. Their largest marketing tool is their infamous cow whose mantra is “eat more chicken”.
However, they are also closed on Sundays which is a very subtle way of professing their faith. Forever 21 and In N out Burger both quietly put a bible verse on the bottom of their bags and cups. Many consumers of these mentioned companies may be unaware that they are even consuming a faith based product.
Steve Blakeman and Joe Murphy of Integrity Support know intimately what a faith based company looks like. Steve and Joe named the company they cofounded “Integrity Support” to remind themselves to always do the right thing.
How Integrity Support Operates Their Faith Based Business
Over the past 10 years they have spent little time marketing because they have organic growth by virtue of their customers acting as their primary marketing tool. They place value on quick response to issues, following up and through, best business practices, agency feedback, and on their personal relationship with their consumers.
By using the roots of their faith, they have been able to spend so little on marketing that they are a debt free company. Joe and Steve depend on their service oriented business model to keep their company at the forefront of the EHR field. This dedication to their faith and their clients has enabled them to gain over 2,000 customers without lifting a finger in the marketing realm.
Bottom Line: Focus on Serving Others
By examining Steve and Joe’s business model, one would find that most faith based principles surround this concept of serving. When a business places serving others above all else, an environment that facilitates growth and understanding immediately surfaces.
A faith based businesses, in theory, would focus on teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness, so that their employees would be competent and equipped for creating an exemplary work environment.
Coming from a standpoint of integrity, they would make decisions based on their belief system. This theme would permeate all activity within the company; finances, handbooks, mission statements, hiring processes, marketing plans, conflict resolution, and assessments.
They would make effort to supplement their business with knowledge and virtue so that the business does not become ineffective or unfruitful.
What does it mean to be a faith based company? It means incorporating the deepest parts of your chosen faith into a business plan. By doing so, Integrity Support has managed to plant roots that can withstand the storms that are almost guaranteed to surface daily in a competitive workplace.