Corporate Eye

How to Build a Company Culture that Supports Your Brand

googleplexWhat does your brand promise to consumers? Does your company culture reflect that promise?

Your employees are your most powerful brand advocates. Do they believe your brand promise? Do they live that promise every day at work?

If your company culture doesn’t match your brand promise, then there is no reason for employees to believe it or advocate your brand. Instead, they’ll be reminded every day that the company’s message to customers is very different from the reality of the company. When these two things don’t get agree, your brand is in trouble.

Internal branding is critical to brand success, which is why it is so important that your company culture reflects and supports your brand. Only then can brand experiences for customers truly resonate as authentic and trustworthy, and without brand trust, your company is in even more trouble!

Here are some of the steps you need to take to develop a company culture that effectively supports your brand. The sooner you get started building the right company culture, the better.

1. Define Your Core Values

This certainly isn’t a new step, but it’s one that is far too often checked off of the To Do list and forgotten. Little thought is given to developing the company’s core values aside from making sure they sound good to anyone who reads them. Actually living those core values is something that rarely happens. However, companies that develop laser-focused, non-negotiable core values that live up to their brands’ promises typically see employee satisfaction, customer satisfaction, and sales increase.

2. Develop Processes to Integrate Your Core Values into All Aspects of Your Business Operations

Don’t just send the list of core values around to employees, add them to the new hire handbook, and forget about them. Instead, the core values should be evaluated as part of every business process. Commitment to the core values should be a part of every job description and every employee’s performance plan and review. Leadership must take ownership for ensuring the commitment to the company’s core values is made by every employee.

3. Educate Your Employees

You can’t just assume your employees understand and live your core values. You have to educate them—not just on what the core values are but why each one exists and what it means to each employee and each customer. Train them on how to integrate the core values into their daily jobs and decision-making. Expand your Code of Conduct and Ethics to include language related to living the core values in support of the brand promise.

4. Hire People Who Match Your Core Value System

Take the time to evaluate prospective employees for “culture fit.” A qualified applicant might not be the right cultural fit for your company. Personality assessments are particularly effective in identifying employees who will or will not excel in your company’s environment. Invest time into the interviewing process to ensure new hires have a chance for success.

5. Apply Your Company Culture to Brand Experiences

Once your company culture reflects your brand promise, it is far easier to develop effective brand experiences for consumers. Employees will be more supportive of products, services, promotions, new opportunities, and so on. As a result, the brand has a better chance at success.

Bottom-line, your company culture and brand promise must be aligned or your company and brand success will be limited.

Image: Maria Ly licensed CC BY 2.0

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for Entrepreneur.com and Forbes.com, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as MSNBC.com, BusinessWeek.com, TodayShow.com, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.
 
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