Brands are built from the inside out. How employees feel about your brand translates to how customers feel about your brand. A culture that engenders belief in and a commitment to the brand is at the heart. But it is difficult to create and maintain that culture. It’s something you can’t dictate or demand. There are many ways in which culture can elevate a brand — or damage it.
1. Culture Can’t Be Mandated By Leadership
Management would like nothing more than to legislate what they want the corporate culture to be. They can promote company values. Behavior guidelines can be included with HR policies. And well-intended training can inform on what constitutes the ideal corporate culture. These and other actions will help. But they cannot guarantee the end result will be the culture that leadership wants to instill in the organization. The one thing that has proven to be effective is leadership behavior. Management needs to lead by example. Treating employees with respect will go a lot further than all of the internal campaigns on mission and values. Staff that feels compelled or forced into a culture can do more damage than good to the brand.
2. Operations Can’t Ignore the Impact of Culture
An effective operation is more than just the mechanics of producing a product or providing a service. It’s the attitudes of the employees doing the work that can make the difference. It’s how people work together and engage with management. Employees will thrive in a culture that motivates them. And it is that culture that creates an atmosphere of collaboration that directly translates to operational efficiencies. More efficient operations will ensure the brand can deliver on what it promises.
3. Employees Are One of the Most Important Touch-points
There are countless touchpoints with any brand that help shape the perceptions of that brand. A great name and logo will ensure distinction and recognition. The website can be an effective tool to engage with the brand. Advertising campaigns will promote the brand and build memorability. However, it’s actually people that matter more. Companies are built around people, not products. It’s the people that deliver on authenticity that no technology can. Culture-driven employees understand the brand, embrace it, and live it. It is one of the most effective ways to shape customer impressions.
4. It’s Culture That Attracts and Keeps the Best Talent
One thing that truly differentiates a company is the talent that delivers on the brand promise. And in an environment in which it’s challenging to attract talent, it’s essential to think about what’s most important to potential recruits. It turns out that an alignment with the corporate culture is one of the top considerations. Given a choice recruits want to work with a company that shares the same values. And that is just not for recruits. It’s what keeps the talent in-house. A key competitive advantage is the caliber of the talent which is a direct reflection of how the brand is perceived.
It’s Culture Upon Which Great Brands are Built
There are many things that contribute to what constitutes a great brand. Culture has to be at the top of the list. But it takes commitment and the will of management to follow through with their own behavior. Leading by example takes more than simple leadership. That’s how any great brand works.