Say you are an up-and-coming baker and would like to purchase a new stand mixer for your home kitchen. You’re likely to start your search off with brands that you know are reliable and high quality, such as KitchenAid or Cuisinart. They are recognized for the longevity of their products and the quality of the materials, known to be pricey but worth the cost in the long run. Other brands may not be seen in such an esteemed light, but they are much less costly and likely to perform similarly (at least in short terms) to a more expensive product. Both types of brands have painstakingly developed their brand culture to appeal to a particular audience or type of thinker – where do product value, appearance, and longevity fall on your personal preference list?
In the wake of the events of 2020, it is more important than ever to establish and convey your brand culture to the masses. Many businesses continue to operate on a semi-remote or completely remote basis. Connecting with both your employees and your customers requires more effort and communication than ever before, and the quality of these interactions can make or break the future of your company.
What is Brand Culture?
A positive, effective brand culture clearly and accurately reflects the company’s attitudes, values, mission statement, and purpose. Brand culture is an important factor to consumers and stakeholders alike, as it is directly related to the reputation of your business. A brand that prioritizes luxury and style over customer service will be publicly reflected in that light, attracting certain demographics of customers and investors while ultimately deterring others. Your company must decide which target audience would prove the most successful and how to connect with members of that demographic.
Many large companies are known for their brand culture and judged upon their established position. Once decision makers have decided which audience or niche to target, strategies must be developed in order to align the brand with the planned culture. Nearly every option or decision made will ultimately impact the quality of your brand culture. Whether it be choosing a recyclable material over plastic for packaging or prioritizing value over quality through marketing ventures, each step of the planning and execution process of your business is somehow intertwined with the development of your brand culture.
Who Does my Brand Culture Impact?
Brand culture not only influences how you are perceived by consumers, but also how your employees behave and approach their individual positions. Once you can decide upon and create a distinct brand culture, you are able to develop training materials and methodology to present to new hires and current employees alike. Once they understand the values and principles that you prioritize within your company, they are able to perform their responsibilities to your specifications.
When customers interact with your company and its employees, they will experience how successfully you have executed your brand culture within your organization. Factors such as return policies, satisfaction guarantees, and available customer support play large roles in how your company is perceived. The perception of the priorities of your business should directly represent the sentiments conveyed through your brand promise. This promise can highlight your company’s commitments to education, service, quality, integrity, or any such principle, informing potential customers and stakeholders alike of your brand culture.
How Can I Cultivate my Brand Culture on a Budget?
While it is a true sentiment that everything costs something, there are a number of ways to cultivate your brand culture without breaking the bank. Since your culture is centered within the very fabric of the daily operation of your company, small changes to the attitudes of your staff and the procedures of your company can play a large role in the establishment of your brand culture.
One important step to take when cultivating a positive brand culture is ensuring that the experience your customers have with your company is positive and rewarding for all involved parties. Simple re-education and training programs can realign your employees with your ideal brand culture, ensuring that customer questions and concerns are addressed and handled in a timely, beneficial manner. The public knowledge that consumer issues are a top priority for your company can aid in boosting your reputation and brand culture within the community.
The social media presence of your company can also be used to cultivate your brand culture for little to no additional cost. Highlighting exceptional stories of support or assistance can build upon the understanding of your brand, providing insight into how your company addresses issues within the various processes of payment, shipping, damage, and returns. Allow your followers a personal look at fun aspects of the internal operations of your company, such as featuring employee spotlights or an employee of the month. Illustrating how much your company values both its employees and customers alike demonstrates the positive environment within your company and helps to cultivate a positive brand culture.
It is important to remember that very few concepts can be successful overnight.
It takes time for your brand culture to circulate throughout public knowledge, as word of mouth and reputation are both slow-traveling theories. Building a credible, trustworthy business culture happens over the course of numerous sales and interactions – most members of society must see it to believe it. The more successful your business is, both in sales and in the execution of your established brand culture, the less time it will take to grow your brand culture.
How Can I Assess the Health of my Brand Culture?
The first step to determining the current position of your brand culture is to evaluate the existing working conditions for your employees. Does your company value and promote diversity? Do you have high turnover rates? If so, why? Do you promote from within or lean towards outside hires? What aspects of your company operations create unpleasantness or distastefulness within the workplace? Consider initiating an employee survey that invites employees to submit feedback, requests, and constructive criticism if applicable. Employees that have a voice within the company are more likely to stay in their positions and respect the decisions of their superiors, as they understand that upper management cares about their efforts and opinions. When your employees enjoy their jobs and work environments, they are motivated to be positive and productive.
Another key evaluation to perform on the operation of your company is an assessment of your competitiveness. Are you overshadowed by a more successful company? Do your employees feel driven to exceed expected numbers or values? Is your company actively moving forward, or is it stagnant? The air of excitement that competition contributes to the daily operations of your company can elicit a boost of motivation and drive for your employees to perform to the best of their abilities. Whether they compete amongst themselves for an incentivized prize or compete with a fellow company, employee morale can be charged with the understanding that they will be somehow rewarded for successfully beating their competitor.
Are You Ready to Start Cultivating Your Brand Culture?
Ultimately, your brand culture is the summation of the values, morals, attitudes, and execution of your company. It reflects the priorities of your business and your strategies towards expanding your operation to consumers and shareholders alike. The training and treatment of your employees plays a central role in the sustained success of your brand culture, as they are the first line of communication and production within your company. Neglecting those who work for or beneath you can result in disastrous consequences when they serve such an important role in the implementation and perception of your brand culture.