As a marketing agency, we talk about brand a lot. It all starts with what your “why” is. What is the reason your business exists? What purpose do you serve as an organization? What message do you want to send out to your audiences? In fact, who are your audiences? Answering these questions is vital in establishing your business as a cohesive brand that has a story to tell.
Defining your business is a critical step in executing a marketing plan, but these efforts cannot be genuine if your organizational culture does not align with your purpose. Culture is the physical manifestation of your brand. You may put an incredible amount of work into defining your why, but if your team doesn’t understand, or worse, believe in the mission and message you’re putting out into the world then these efforts are wasted.
Luckily, many companies in a variety of industries are beginning to understand this important correlation. Human resources and marketing, two disciplines that traditionally exist separately, are increasingly becoming more integrated. It makes sense after all, as the best way to ensure a consistent understanding of your brand is to coordinate internal and external communication. But understanding is only half the battle, what about believing it? How do you get your staff on board with your mission and values? Here are a few ways to ensure your culture and brand are seamless:
Understand Your Brand, Inside and Out
This may seem redundant, as we already stressed the importance of defining your brand, but we’re saying it again. You need to know who you are as an organization and have a clear plan of how to communicate this to your team. Sure, this may be easier when you’re the CEO of a small, startup organization that started as a passion project – you have the ability to share this passion with every new hire that sets foot through your doors. At WJ, Ryan personally makes sure everyone understands that we are here to share in the success of our clients, that we work hard to create incredible marketing strategies they can be proud of and in turn so can we. But what if you’re the CMO of a large corporation? Creating a unified culture when the disconnect between management and the rest of the employee base is larger can be difficult. No matter the size of your business, it had to have begun somewhere, and that is usually with a purpose and passion. Does your business have the same values now as it did in the beginning? If so, great! If not, redefining your mission is crucial if everyone is to be on board with it. Large organizational change is not uncommon, but when the people you rely on to run it aren’t even sure why they’re doing so, therein lies the problem.
Create a Communication Plan
As with any marketing communication, a strategic plan to share your messaging with key audiences is crucial in creating brand trust. The same goes for company culture, just in this case, the audience is internal. The first thing every new employee should learn on the job is who you are collectively as an organization and why you do what you do. Share all mission and vision statements, and any key messaging about your business. In fact, if you’re hiring the right people, chances are they’ll already have an idea of what your why is.
Once you develop that understanding with your team, it’s important to continuously nurture that trust through open internal communication. Be transparent about what is happening within the organization. Clearly communicate any major changes and ensure everyone is kept in the loop consistently. Whether it’s a weekly update email or a monthly newsletter, your employees deserve to know what’s going on. This also offers the perfect opportunity for your team to get to know more about each other and other disciplines within the company. Once this mutual trust is built, your employees are able to act as ambassadors for your brand.
Be a Culture People Want to Be a Part of
Culture extends further than understanding and believing in your core values. It’s how your employees communicate with each other. It’s how they feel supported in their role. It’s the opportunities they have for further education and advancement. It’s the appreciation they feel for the hard work they put in. At WJ, we have a bocce league where we can get together to enjoy our lunch break and each other’s company. A large part of creating a strong culture that supports your brand is showing support for those that make your organization what it is. Create the environment that you envision your brand existing in.
Creating a culture that supports your brand is easier said than done. Often the most difficult part is having a clear understanding of what the true purpose of your business is and how to communicate that passion internally. Developing this takes a lot of time and commitment and isn’t easy to do alone. Luckily, that’s our bread and butter. We’re always here to help you figure out who you are and how you want to be seen. Let us help you create a stronger culture than you’ve ever had before. Feel free to reach out.