When you think of the word “brand,” what comes to mind? A company’s name, logo or icon? A highly memorable experience you had with a company? Or is it just marketing jargon to you? Today, a brand represents more than just tangible products or services. Rather, it also represents the emotions that clients, consumers and employees have about a company, shaping your company’s culture from the inside out.
Many business leaders want to know how to determine if their brand reflects their company culture in the best possible light for consumers and potential partners. To answer this, let’s talk about why and how your brand’s core differentiators should be directly influencing your culture.
Connecting Differentiators to Company Culture
If your brand has strong differentiators, you have a great way of telling your marketplace how your company is filling a void for consumers and why your solutions are different or better than other options that exist. If you’ve built a successful brand without ever identifying these differentiators, then going through a positioning exercise will be extremely valuable to you.
Of course, tools like SWOT and Blue Ocean Strategy are valuable and helpful inputs for this process, but as marketers focused on accelerating success, we’re always looking for ways to fast-track strategies—and we’ve discovered that anecdotal evidence from real, existing clients is a great place to start.
By asking your clients directly, or by consolidating positive reviews, try to identify the top three or more reasons why your clients first chose to work with you and why they continue to bring you business. Using Sagefrog as an example (we promise, we’re just making a point!), we found that some of the most common reasons our clients love working with us include:
- Our fast turnaround and responsiveness
- Our team’s strong industry and business acumen
- Our unique integrated marketing program
Because we recognized that three concepts filled voids that our market was experiencing, we put measures in place to ensure our culture supports them from all angles.
- In our culture, we value timeliness and expedience while executing high-quality work and keeping in touch with our clients.
- In our culture, we prioritize ongoing education for team members to further develop our knowledge of clients’ industries and situations.
- In our culture, the strategy we employ is based on integrating multiple services for maximum ROI for clients, and we consistently look for areas to improve and optimize services.
Instilling & Enforcing the Right Culture
You can’t build a brand based on responsiveness if you don’t foster a culture of expedience in the workplace, just as you can’t gain a reputation for knowing clients’ industries if you don’t provide employees with education about them. The first step in shaping a beneficial company culture is to identify the habits that will need to form among your team to enhance and support your differentiators. Once those good habits are identified, use these tips to instill and enforce your cultural expectations:
- Craft core values around your cultural concepts and introduce them to your team
- Repeat your core values often and use them to hire, fire, reward and recognize your team
- Review your differentiators and core values at every possible opportunity
- Hold quarterly company-wide meetings to realign and energize your team
Lead by Example
- Ensure your leadership is demonstrating company differentiators and values everyday
- Provide opportunities to solidify habits, such as supplying new tools for expedited production, holding education seminars and introducing new services
To create an authentic brand from the inside out, it’s important to understand what makes you different and better from competitors, and then determine what you can do to make sure those differentiators stick. It’s not enough to just talk the talk, especially today when every move a brand makes is broadcasted by consumers on social media and review sites. Walk the talk with a culture designed to deliver on its promises.
If you’re not sure if your brand differentiators are shaping your culture, contact branding experts or quiz your own brand’s aptitude by consulting the new eBook Does Your Branding Suck?, written by Mark Schmukler, CEO and Co-Founder of Sagefrog.
Have quick questions about your brand or company culture? Contact Sagefrog Marketing Group today.