A company’s brand is perhaps the strongest customer-facing symbol of its value and mission. A strong brand also achieves two more goals: 1) It portrays the personality and culture of your company; and 2) It sets customer expectations for what it’s like to do business with your company.
There is a critical link between brand and culture that many companies do not recognize. The problem is that they view these aspects as separate and distinct. The brand is an external expression while the culture is an internal one. However, the best companies have recognized that the relationship between brand and culture has a deeper connection and that this relationship requires constant attention.
Many companies would do well to adopt the philosophy that there needs to be alignment and consistency between the way you want to be perceived externally and the way you are perceived internally. Think of brand and culture as a duet. Both must use their unique voice and sing together to create beautiful music for both employees and clients.
Singing in Harmony
When brand and culture are harmoniously aligned, there are several important benefits to an organization. Internally, it is common to experience an increase in operational efficiency and quality of work. Corporate culture development often increases employee engagement and retention. You are developing a sense of family and working together toward a common vision.
At the same time, there are also tangible external benefits such as improved brand equity, increased customer loyalty, differentiation from competitors, increased market share, and the potential to increase top-line revenue. Plus, developing your corporate culture in alignment with your brand preserves a valuable authenticity when bringing on new clients.
Perhaps the easiest way to determine if you have alignment between brand and culture is to compare customer satisfaction scores with employee satisfaction scores. If there is inconsistency in these scores, it means that the company is not delivering to at least one set of stakeholders. It’s either the clients or the employees, andit takes effort to fight complacency.
Getting Back in Tune
The most common scenario is a company with delighted customers but not-so-satisfied employees. This is a recipe for the long-term deterioration of customer satisfaction as employees will eventually project half-hearted attitudes and efforts onto clients. There are numerous well-documented examples of companies in this category.
However, it is rare to find the inverse. That is, it is rare to find companies with delighted employees and unsatisfied customers. Companies in this category tend to be in the manufacturing space that might be struggling with short-term challenges in keeping up with demand.
For any company, there is always room to strengthen the connection between brand and culture. Investing time and money in brand and culture alignment is often a cost-effective and impactful growth strategy. It pays off with more productive employees and more receptive customers.
By identifying the critical aspects of your brand, as well as the complementary elements of your internal corporate culture, your company stands to win with a powerfully authentic and enduring brand promise to both its customers and employees.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mike Patterson is the President and CEO of The Alias Group, a company devoted to helping businesses grow through inside sales and digital marketing. The company has been active for more than 25 years and works to bring customized, individual sales and marketing solutions to clients and continues to emphasize growth on both sides of their company/client relationship.
He got his start by building on the successes of his father's sales and distribution company, expanding into more aspects of industrial sales and adding an entire marketing division. As the company grew, the sales and marketing services evolved into a new brand: The Alias Group. The company underwent significant improvements as it grew. The facility, technology, corporate structure, and culture evolved; internally, The Alias Group refined to a team structure, instituted an open PTO plan, and actively applied The Alias Group's core values: Unique Focus, Genuine Connection, and Deliver More.
Mike is dedicated to the company's work and steady expansion, but when he is away from the office, he’s enjoying travel, visiting Dewey beach with his wife and three sons, or spending time on the sidelines of sporting events (whether they are those of his sons or The Ravens).