Brand culture defines your company’s future

Google, Facebook, Apple and Starbucks are a few of the world’s greatest companies that have seen the value in creating a unique corporate culture. Their culture allows these organisations to produce phenomenal results every year.

Now it is true that the results your business delivers depends on many factors, including the product or service you offer, the way you take care of your customers, and, of course, whether your offering is something the market decides it wants or needs. But when it comes down to it, all of these are in some way dependent on the culture within your organisation - the culture that defines your brand in the real world.

One of the reasons for the success of the companies mentioned above is the fact that the culture within each embodies truth, transparency and authenticity as core values. Moreover, the culture values each employee as an individual and they all feel valued and important in the greater scope of things. Even low-level employees are assured of their role in their company’s success as part of the bigger process.

The reality is that some organisations built and established their entire culture around values like these, and it is precisely this that separates ordinary brands from great brands.

Why does organisational culture make such a difference? Simply because if everyone in the organisation believes in the values of the organisation and strives to make them a reality in everything they do at work. This significantly increases the organisations ability to deliver exceptional customer service as well as products and services that exceed customer expectation. So culture helps everyone in an organisation understand that, it doesn’t matter where in the hierarchy you are, you matter and what you do matters.

This attitude is then taken from the back rooms of the organisation and driven out into the market, to customers, potential customers, the public at large, possible future employees and so on. The culture tends to be adopted in the employees’ work and, in many instances, personal lives as well. For example, ask a software developer what they do and they may say they are a developer; ask someone who does it for Google and they are more likely to say they are a Google developer. There is an innate identification of the self with the brand and all it represents.

This does not mean a company has to have a multi-million dollar budget. It simply means adopting a set of values and norms at the executive level and driving these down to all employees. And by driving I mean leading by example, not having a set of fine sounding values you put in the annual report, but which vanish when it comes to dealing with people day to day.

A brand and culture that are aligned and integrated, form a powerful engine for growth and competitive advantage. It is critical that business owners understand that a strong, differentiated company culture has symbiotic relationship with the brand, and that a strong culture can support and advance a brand ahead of its competitors.

Brand builders are welcome to follow Kyle Rolfe’s latest thoughts on brand building in South Africa and his analysis on global branding trends and issues via Twitter at @kylerolfeSA or on LinkedIn.

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