Aligning Culture and Brand
Many companies, when they attempt to develop a more positive corporate culture, try to outdo others in what they offer. They mistakenly think that providing more employee benefits will help them win the war for attracting and retaining top talent.
Instead, we have learned that employees are more engaged and productive when the overall workplace culture is aligned with the company’s brand promise. Their loyalty and performance are dependent upon the company’s distinctive ways of how work gets done, not on transactional employee benefits or on attempts to imitate a competitor’s culture.
The company that can focus on aligning culture and brand is set up with a powerful engine for growth and success. Simply stated in a recent Harvard Business Review article by Bill Taylor, “your brand is your culture, your culture is your brand.”
A Prime Example
The article goes on to describe the connection at USAA, the insurance and financial services firm, between their brand and their culture. Their huge success is due in no small part to customer centric strategy, culture, and brand. They serve only active or retired members of the military and their families. Front-line employees learn from the get-go what pressures their customers face and how to serve their emotional needs with efficiency and caring.
The company that creates a distinctive brand that shapes its culture and a distinctive culture that brings its brand to life has, with its loyal following and dedicated workforce, a significant advantage in the marketplace.
It’s All About Us
How do you zero in on what is your unique brand and your unique culture that, when aligned, define who you are and why you exist? What can be your company’s guiding force that combines your purpose and your values?
First make sure that there is no disconnect between how you engage your employees and how you engage your customers. If you preach efficiency to your work force, make sure that efficiency is what your customers value. If your employees are encouraged to provide superior customer service, ensure that is what draws customers to your company rather than to the competition.
Work toward being able to articulate your brand aspirations. Articulate the core values you want your organization to adopt. Then, you have a picture of the culture that will fit – the more distinctive and aligned, the better.
The Bottom Line
The way you are perceived in the marketplace should inform how you operate on the inside. When brand and culture are aligned and integrated, the path to success becomes far smoother. Your productivity increases, your employees and customers are more loyal, and your organization is closer to achieving its strategic vision for success.
To learn more about aligning your culture and your strategy, download the 3 Research-Backed Levels of Culture to Align with Your Brand Promise
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