why a solid company culture bolsters your brand
I recently had breakfast with a young professional who decided to hang up a shingle and go out on her own as a writer and content marketer. A millennial with big career goals, she left behind a great job with a director-level position at a well-known brand. The reason: the company was not living up to its brand or the inspirational values it promoted, particularly in how it treated employees. Business owners who want to build a stronger brand that is known and respected with their target audience need to take note. The health of your company culture shows up in how your brand is viewed in the marketplace. If your employees are not buying into the brand promise, chances are your customers won’t either.
A company’s brand strengthens when it is consistently represented across all touchpoints, inside and outside of an organization. Marketing (what you do) is really what builds the brand (what you are), and your employees are a critical target market that are often overlooked. Ever design a marketing campaign aimed at informing employees or designed for recruiting new ones?
This is not just about sharing the business strategy or sending out an internal newsletter highlighting a new marketing initiative. It’s about finding ways to activate the brand in the workplace and convince employees of the brand’s power and promise that your customers have come to expect.
“You can’t be special, distinctive, and compelling in the marketplace unless you create something special, distinctive, and compelling in the workplace. How does your brand shape your culture? How does your culture bring your brand to life?” William C. Taylor, cofounder of Fast Company
A brand often becomes fragmented when employees sense that the leadership team are not living the company values. For example, if the front line does not trust the brand, it’s unlikely your customers will have great experiences. If operational staff aren’t aligned with company culture, they may cut corners, which shows up in product or service quality.A brand often becomes fragmented when the leadership team are not living the company values. Click To Tweet
So how can you improve company culture to help build a compelling brand promise? Start with sharing a lofty purpose: What’s the difference you want to make in the world? Go back to why the company was built in the first place and revisit what motivated its founders to start the business.
six measures of a strong company culture
Once you’re clear on the big WHY?, consider these six components of a strong company culture noted by John Coleman in a Harvard Business Review article on organizational culture:
A foundation for the corporate culture. Imagine your company purpose (the why?) has been realized. What’s the vivid, aspirational view of the world when this happens?
These are guidelines on behaviours and mindsets. Choose up to five and consider writing them as verbs so they are active and alive in the organization.
Your policies need to support certain behaviours and values. Ensure your team is empowered to enforce the desired outcomes.
Hiring people who share and want to exemplify the core values. Do you recruit and attract new hires with a focus on higher purpose and values? Are they truly on board?
History, folklore and easy-to share anecdotes about the company. What’s your organization’s unique story and who can share it? Make sure your are passing along wisdom and insight from company founders.
Aesthetics, architecture, virtual and in-person gatherings. Does the place you do business reflect your values? Let’s say your company values include ‘open communication’ but employees are constantly closed up with office doors shut, perhaps the work environment could use an overhaul.
Take the time to audit company culture across these six areas and see where there may be gaps. Better yet, ask a millennial on staff where they think culture is broken. Like my friend noted above, these young employees really care about the company’s foundation, and they’re the new ‘culture police’ you can enroll to keep the purpose and company culture at the forefront. Review each component of company culture and pull these ideas together into a story that can be shared within your organization. When your internal ‘customers’ believe the company culture is alive, it will resonate with your target audience.
“By weaving the brand messages into employees’ everyday experiences, managers can ensure that on-brand behavior becomes instinctive.” Selling the Brand Inside, Harvard Business Review
Linking company culture to the brand’s essence is imperative to creating a brand your customers and employees will love and respect. Their loyalty and positive word of mouth referrals are priceless and can help a company reach its wildest goals to grow and thrive.
Need help auditing your brand and igniting it within your company? Contact Seeds Consulting and get started today! We love working with purpose-driven brands.