Your Culture or Your Brand:
Where Are You Focused?
Your company’s culture is the result of how your company thinks and acts. It’s a result of its habits. Your company’s brand is the outcome of how it is perceived by the outside world.
A few years ago I was invited to participate in a re-branding session for an international specialty food retailer. I was honored to be invited to the table. I was excited to hear the leaders of this company speak to branding and their strategy for rolling out this new brand strategy throughout the entire organization. I was curious how they would engage employees in the process.
I asked the question: “As you roll out your new brand strategy to your associates, how will you engage them and excite them about the new brand?” The leader representing the marketing group had a very telling response – that the associates would have to. Basically, he told me that their job is to sell, and to sell effectively they would have to adopt the new brand strategy. Hmmm…this is unfortunately a common response. I share with you (as I did in the meeting) that it’s not the most effective way to inspire employees to reflect the spirit of your brand.
I share this example not because their re-branding effort was right or wrong, needed or not needed. What is relevant is that the culture of the company, and specifically in this example, the culture of leadership, strongly suggested that this company would struggle to gain adoption of their new brand strategy in the field. Their culture was one of demanded compliance. Yet, what they wanted externally was altogether different.
To quote Peter Drucker, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” (At TiER1, we believe culture is a strategy, but that’s another topic for another day.)
Culture is internal. Brand is external.
Over time, your brand will always come to align with your culture. No matter how hard you try to create a specific brand image, in the end it will eventually align with your culture. It’s inevitable. This phenomenon is created by the fact that the market ultimately defines your brand. How do they define it? By the interactions they have with your:
- customer support
- and online presence.
Culture can be changed. Culture can be transformed. Culture can be properly aligned. It’s difficult and challenging, but it can be done. In the end, you want to move your employees from a “have to” environment to a “want to” mindset.
What is your company culture?
Are you focused on your brand when you should be focused on your culture?
We’d love to talk to you about creating the culture that best serves your goals and more importantly, your people.