Tony Hsieh from Zappos asserts that “brand is a lagging indicator of culture.” Think about that. As marketers, we spend an enormous time protecting our brand, crafting messaging aligned with our brand and carefully constructing calls to action that will drive more people to be a part of our brand. Brand standards are often a function of decisions made in a conference room, driven by aesthetics, market research and an objective evaluation of your company within your market.
What if we took a step back and listened to our community of members and our front-line teams to define our culture as they see it, knowing our brand is a reflection of that culture?
Culture is a very widely used term and largely accepted as a solid, even essential, business practice, but it is so much more than what is written in your mission statement and posted on your new hire paperwork. Culture is the living, breathing life-force of your company, and your business has a unique culture whether you recognize and define it or not.
The most successful brands show very little variance between their defined company culture and the perception of the culture from their consumers and marketplace. The wider this gap between market perception and your branding, the more your messaging will inevitably fall flat.
Are you trying to overcome the current perception of your company with messaging and marketing? This will likely only get you so far until the culture of your team is aligned with the vision for your company.
Culture is indelibly linked to your brand (and therefore your marketing, sales and operations). Therefore, making the core of your culture central to your messaging will act as an amplifier and draw more quality, prospective members to your community.
So, take a minute to think: What is your culture saying about your brand? Be sure you’re sharing a message you wish to convey.
Tara Sampson is the director of marketing at VIDA. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org.