Brand + Culture: The Unstoppable Business Force
Updated: Jan 24, 2021
From the inside out:
I was once asked by a well-known media mogul to apply my cultural “magic” to several of his companies. As I was doing an initial assessment, I quickly realized it was a mountain I didn’t want to climb and gracefully bowed out of the opportunity to retrofit the cultures of his well-established companies.
“Company culture” means different things to different people. For me, it comes down to how employees work together (for better or worse), how they align with a shared vision (or not) and how that internal core informs the external brand. Young companies have a unique opportunity to decisively “bake in” highly effective, attractive and - dare I say - enjoyable cultural traits that will directly impact the core of the brand and the loyalty of employees.
The cultural core of any emerging company directly informs the brand. Let me rephrase that. The strength of your company culture is as foundational to your brand as any logo, tag line, sales approach or digital campaign. In fact, more so. Because truth be told, the very heart of your brand is anchored from the inside out.
One of the most powerful, unstoppable social engines in the world is a shared vision. It’s true in business, politics and social change. The “I Have a Dream” speech wasn’t a top-down business model to which followers were expected to ascribe. It was a clear and inspired vision that tapped into hearts and aspirations. When done right, it's the same in business if the shared vision truly permeates your company. All of this goes way beyond company’s Vision, Mission and Value statements, as well as your brand promise.
“Culture eats strategy for breakfast” is a well known saying made famous by Peter Drucker, considered the founder of modern management. It speaks for itself. If you let the magnitude of that statement sink in for a second and then couple it with another saying, “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry,” you can appreciate why a creating a shared vision and a strong company culture isn't to be taken for granted.
Needless to say, businesses and organizations need every advantage they can get. Paying attention to – as in nurturing with deliberate intent – a team-oriented environment that shares a unifying vision and passion can be unstoppable. A culture that employees take ownership for is a key ingredient to any emerging company that wants to become unstoppable. All of this starts with a baseline of understanding followed by benchmarking along the way.