ARTICLES

Defining Corporate Culture
May 03.2013
Archived under: Strategy 

A definitive, recognizable corporate culture can help your brand resonate with consumers and stand apart from competitors.

Essentially, if your employees love and champion your brand, so too will consumers.

As defined by Entrepeneur.com, corporate culture “describes and governs the ways a company's owners and employees think, feel and act.” Whether communicated through written manifestos or implied, corporate culture embodies the values and beliefs of your organization.

Moreover, it’s an intrinsic part of building your brand. Without it, there’s little to discern you from other similar companies. Ryan Allis, former co-founder and CEO of iContact, has had experience building a company from the ground up, and therefore creating within it an organizational culture. In a post written by Allis on his website entitled “The CEO Job Description”, he explains that the role of creating a corporate culture ultimately starts at the top.

“One key role of the CEO is to set the tone for the culture of the organization,” he writes. “Fish rot from the head down. How you act and the words you use will have a big impact on your ability to recruit the best and brightest and create an unforgettably wonderful work environment to retain your superstars.”

When creating a corporate culture, start by answering the simple question: What makes us different?

By answering that question honestly, you’ll be able to define an authentic corporate culture to positively translate to your staff, consumers, partners and clients. “Culture is something that must be authentic,” writes Allis. “It can’t be faked.” Does your workplace allow dogs or provide day care? Do you offer attractive benefits? Do you offer employees a corporate mental or physical health program? What do you offer in terms of corporate social responsibility? By recognizing what makes you different, you can then begin to market this. Not only will it help you retain and recruit top talent, but it will build trust and loyalty among your consumers. Perception is everything – if your corporate culture doesn’t support your brand messaging, it will change public percption.

Perhaps Bill Taylor in a blog posted on the Harvard Business Review said it best: “Brand is culture, culture is brand.”

 

Read more: Mind Valley CEO Vishen Lakhiani gives a great TED talk about creating the world’s best corporate culture, operating on advice from Sir Richard Branson. Take a look: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=jHLm5Lne3D0