The Connection Between Corporate Culture and Branding
March 25, 2015
I have long had a fascination with corporate culture and apparently it shows. Somehow, in all of the places I have worked I have become the main source of workplace activity planning and event follow through. (Granted, these have all been smaller companies from six-30 people.) Maybe it is because I enjoy doing outdoor activities that to some seem unusual, like military-style training programs, adventure races, mountain biking and just about anything else I can try once that is a bit out there but still totally accessible to the average sane person. Or maybe I am the go-to person to plan company team building activties because I have a bit of a ‘rah rah’ cheerleader quality (completely my mom’s doing since she was actually a serious cheerleader back in the day).
Initially, it may seem as though these activities are simply adult field trips for your team. Still, you want to keep top notch employees and inspire them to be your company’s ambassadors. We all have read somewhere, at least once, these are the things that people want in their workplace. They want to be challenged, to learn, to grow and to be part of a team and to advocate for things they believe in. Highly successful landmark companies like Patagonia all come from this unique mindset. Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard built his company so that he could climb and surf as much as possible and still somehow make enough money to live, all the while making the world a better place. His first book for crying out loud, is called Let my People Go Surfing. While granted he is the exception to the rule, people strive for this type of balance and freedom, where they work to live – not live to work.
Forward looking companies need to embrace this, not with words but with actions. I was speaking with a client of ours, Ridgegate Consulting, who is a Human Resources Consultant, and she was saying HR departments have known these things for decades. So why is it that somehow most companies still don’t do that great of a job in this area?
I have all sorts of thoughts on this. Mainly, I think it’s because just like in so many relationships, we save all of the best parts for others: for customers, for the outward facing aspects of your brand and company. Instead, we could focus on our employees, our team, from the inside out. We could show how having employees who believe in your brand as much as you do can shape, grow and turn your business (no matter what the size) into a thriving entity.
For small companies this can be a simple change in your mind set. When branding and creating your marketing plan, think about how to market to your employees first. What would make them shine, thrive and be the best version of themselves? Hint: it has very little to do with money.
Two heads are better than one and a two-pronged approach for creating a following is always going to come up roses when coming from a genuine, authentic place of nurturing, growth and prosperity.