In an era when consumers increasingly expect more from business than just the products and services they sell, companies of all shapes and sizes are being evaluated on their action or inaction and brands must begin moving outward to engage the world on the issues at the crux of their purpose. Business sustainability is often defined as managing the triple bottom line – profits, people and planet.

In a 2017 FloorworX customer survey, when asked what the first things were that came to mind when they thought of FloorworX, customers replied: “vinyl; reliability; quality; after sales support; product selection and durability” to name a few.

At its core, a brand is a promise to consumers. FLOORS in Africa magazine interviewed Theresa Venter, Marketing Director at FloorworX, to find out more about how a leading flooring company goes about branding, marketing and engaging with their clients.

What will consumers get when they purchase a product or service under your brand umbrella?
The brand promise incorporates more than just those tangible products and services. It also includes the feelings that consumers get when they use your products and services. The FloorworX brand promise to specifiers is solutions-based.

How sustainable are branding efforts?
Brands are built by consumers, not companies. It doesn’t matter what FloorworX think their brand promises; ultimately, it’s the way consumers perceive their brand and its sustainability that defines it.

Rather than asking, “What is a brand?” a better question might be, “Who is a brand?” Every brand has a persona. From appearance to personality and everything in between, the FloorworX brand persona is one that consumers will evaluate and judge before they do business with them.

How is the topic of sustainability impacting how flooring companies market their products?
Sustainability is an issue confronting all businesses today, no matter their size in the marketplace. Increasingly, businesses are finding that embracing sustainable practices leads to better corporate culture, more reliable products and greater long-term profitability.

“It’s hard to imagine a time more hopeful and horrifying for sustainable business,” Joel Makower wrote in his summary of the 2017 State of Green Business report.

Despite the pessimism, there’s a lot to feel hopeful about. It must be said that sustainability can have a variety of meanings, depending on the business context. In terms of the environment, sustainability may mean ensuring that natural resources are replaced or conserved for the long term and that ecosystems are not harmed. In terms of employment practices, sustainability may mean ensuring that employees are able to find work-life balance.

How does your company prioritise the work-life balance of employees?
These days, work-life balance can seem like an impossible feat, because technology makes employees available 24/7. As a result, the compounding stress from the never-ending workday is damaging to individuals’ relationships, health and overall happiness.

FloorworX Marketing & HR work together to implement internal communication strategies that help employees live a sustainable life within their community. This in turn leads to an engaged workforce with more motivation.

Businesses must step outside of their traditional roles and work toward a new, more integrated operating model that puts people – and the addressing of their needs and concerns – at the centre of everything they do. And from a sustainability perspective, this also means putting the planet front and centre for business operations.

Do your sustainability efforts extend into the company’s supply chain?
In the context of business practices, sustainability may simply mean that the overall corporate policies are not self-defeating or dangerous to the organisation’s long-term well-being and reputation.

Sustainable business practices are an essential part of corporate risk management. Fundamental to this philosophy is that any process that holds real potential to damage the overall corporate reputation, no matter how profitable, must be viewed with extreme scepticism. For this reason, FloorworX ensures that when it comes to international relationships, all businesses connected through the supply chain engage in ethical practices and sourcing materials that can be certified as environmentally friendly. Concerning local manufacturing, sustainable business practice simply ensures that the FloorworX manufacturing plant in East London will continue to produce all of the business’ products into the future.

Why is sustainability important for FloorworX?
FloorworX embraces environmentally sustainable business practices by constantly reviewing processes to find new solutions. Through selection of international partners, the company constantly considers better and greener alternatives. As a result, the focus on ensuring sustainability also builds a culture of accountability throughout the company.

Consumer behaviour is led by reputation and over the past 65 years, FloorworX has built a reputation with consumers as being environmentally answerable. As awareness and activism around environmental issues increase, consumers are shopping for sustainable companies over products and as a result, businesses that are proactive in building sustainable practices are most likely to find themselves succeeding.

How can a marketing department help a business become more purpose driven?
Brands need to think long and hard about why they exist beyond making money – to identify their core purpose and integrate it into everything they do. While embracing the triple bottom line is a good start, purpose-driven brands dig deeper to identify and act consistently on the issues central to their being.

While businesses must make money to survive, in today’s competitive marketplace – for users, customers and talent – a well-defined and communicated purpose is what’s needed for a company to thrive. There is a tremendous upside to building trust in your brand, but it takes time and specific strategies to win back a little bit of the public’s faith in a fast-changing and competitive consumer market, where brands come and go all the time.

For more information, contact FloorworX on Tel: +27 (11) 406 4024 or via www.floorworx.co.za.

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