It seems like everyone in the corporate world is talking about the importance of branding.
Everybody wants to have a strong corporate brand, but some are torn on how to achieve it.
If you want to have a strong brand, you need to focus on the company and brand culture. Culture is everything when it comes to branding. And if you want to have a successful brand, you need a great culture.
This may sound surprising, but the people with the most power to shape your brand isn't your marketing department - it's your employees.
If want to learn more about company culture and branding, you've come to the right place. We're going to teach you everything you need to know to make sure your culture and brand are working together.
Why Company Culture Affects Brand Culture
To really stress the important role culture plays in branding, we're going to do a quick thought exercise.
Imagine that you've started a new job at a tech company that claims to be one of the most innovative and fun places to build your career in your area.
You were told that the company encourages learning and innovation, but nobody goes to conferences or local meet up groups. Most of the employees just aren't interested in going, and the company rarely pays for employees to attend events.
The company portrays itself as easy going and young, but you meet a lot of corporate red tape when you try to get tasks done and everyone in management is twice as old as the people doing coding and design work.
After you've put in some time there, your work starts to slip because you're stressed and don't see the point in putting in more effort. You start to get more complaints from clients, and some drop the company altogether.
If you experienced that after being told what an amazing place the company is, it's safe to assume that you'd feel a little cheated. You were told to expect one thing, but got something that was the complete opposite.
This is why company culture and branding go hand in hand. If you claim to own an innovative and fun company, you need to actually run an innovative and fun company.
Simply saying that you embody certain values isn't enough, you actually have to do it. If your company wants to give off a certain image, you need to own that image and work towards portraying it in everything your company does.
The Best Ways To Get The Brand Culture You Want
Keep in mind that branding is something that happens overtime. It's going to require teamwork and may make you confront some harsh truths about the way you've been running your company.
As long as you're patient and willing to put the effort in, you'll get the brand you've been waiting for. You may even find that some of the brand changes you initiate can help improve company efficiency.
If you're ready to build a brand off of a culture you can be proud of, make sure you follow these tips.
Identify What Culture You Want
You know that branding and company culture are important, but do you know what you want your important brand culture to be like?
Before you do any work on branding, take time to really think about the kind of company you want to be.
An easy way to think about the culture and brand you want to portray is to look at companies that are already doing a great job of showing off their brand. Don't just stick to companies in your industry, look into interesting companies everywhere.
You may not be a huge tech company, but you may like how Google values innovation. You may not be a branding company like Smash Brand, but you could like the company's youthful vibe.
Once you take time to really think about the kind of culture you want, the real branding work will begin.
Talk To Employees
Communication is important for proper branding. If you don't take time to talk to employees about how they're feeling, how can you know if you're making the right choices?
A weekly 15-minute check-in chat isn't enough to learn about how employees feel about the company or the brand. Schedule enough time to sit down and talk about how they feel.
Consider having department-wide check-ins and chats. Some people may feel more comfortable speaking in a group setting.
Speak Through Actions, Not Words
If you say that you're a brand that values equality in the workplace you need to have a diverse staff. If your brand portrays a laid-back and down to earth company, a rigid 9-5 schedule isn't right for you.
One of the easiest branding mistakes to make is to put out a huge marking campaign to advertise your brand, then neglect to live up to the campaign. Don't just tell people what your company is, show them who you are.
Are you a company that cares about the environment? Take time to make eco-friendly upgrades to your facility and donate to environmental charities.
Does your company value technology and innovation? Have a strong company presence at tech conferences and submit employees for speaking roles.
Don't Be Afraid To Address Problem Employees (Even If They're Great)
Far too many companies are willing to put up with troublesome employees because they're important or relatively good at their jobs.
An employee may not be able to take direction and cause frequent arguments, but they're kept on because they made their monthly sales quota.
Being good at your job is important, but being able to work well with others and demonstrate empathy is an even more important skill.
If you don't manage difficult employees, you'll start to lose equally good, if not better, talent because of it.
Now that you know about the importance of brand culture, you may be feeling ready to move on to other ways to build up your brand and company.
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Check out our post on our favorite small business websites. You'll see what design elements we love and how other people are building successful websites.
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