If you’ve been online lately, you’ve probably heard about the Ivy League fiasco that happed on Monday, December 5th. 

You can watch a quick video summary here:
https://x.com/BillAckman/status/1732179418787783089

The cliff-note version:

In short, a congressional hearing put university heads of Harvard, MIT and UPen on the spot regarding how they handle discrimination and hate speech on campus.

Things got heated at a point when the presidents were directly asked whether calls for genocide of Jews violate school policies — and avoided giving a direct answer.
Their evasiveness stuck a major nerve.

The backlash was intense, and swift.

Within days, UPenn’s president was already forced to resign. Harvard faces growing demands to demand its president to do the same, despite her attempts to apologize after the fact.

Amazing how it took these schools hundreds of years to build a sterling reputation, and only 2 months to completely demolish it.

But let’s talk business: What does this mean for your brand?

The lesson you need to learn from here is that marketing (which is just another way of saying “communicating as a business) has changed.

Lots of thought leaders and personal brands try staying quiet on big complicated social issues so they don’t ruffle feathers and lose followers:

They water down their perspectives trying to appeal to everyone.
But that vanilla approach doesn’t work anymore:

Because today’s consumers spend their money based on alignment with values.

They care about who you are and what you belief and stand for, just as much as they care about your product or service.

So if you want to build a loyal fan-base or customer base in 2024 — you’ve got to take stands for what you genuinely believe in — even if it turns some people off.

Not sure how to do this? Here’s how:

How to adopt an agenda and attract loyal followers and customers:

Step 1: Define your core values

Make a list of 5 key principles that represent your worldview and drive your work.

This gives your brand a personality and authenticity, and will help you attract customers who share those same values.

It will also help you stand out and become more memorable.

For example: Check out Pantagonia

It’s a very successful brand that sells outdoor clothing and gear.
One of their core values is around environmental sustainability, and a lot of their content on the social media is about saving the planet.


Step 2: Document the backstory behind each value

Usually, your values do not spring out of no-where. There was some kind of story, experience, or even trauma that got you to believe in what you believe.
Be it your own, or someone else’s.

So for every core value you listed out, document a defining story of why it became important to you personally.

For example: Check out Mindvalley.
One of Mindvalley’s core values is community.
This goes back from the founder’s personal story of struggling with loneliness, and failing to find people who he could connect to.
As a result, you’ll notice their events, marketing and even products — all feature a strong community aspect that helps them stand out.


Step 3: Share “agenda” content on your socials

Whenever something happens: Whether it’s in the news or in your own life — share it and tie it back to your core values.
Be bold and un-apologetic about your views.

For every customer you “lose” dues to being bold — you’ll gain 20 more.

Ben & Jerry’s is a company that does this really well, sharing a lot of content aligned with their values related to social justice issues.


Conclusion

Don’t be afraid to share who you are.
That’s the exact reason why people will buy from you.

REMINDER:
The newsletter is officially coming back in early 2024.
See you soon.

- Nataliya.

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