Business culture and corporate identity are intrinsically linked. It doesn’t matter if your company culture is bohemian or competitive, creative or analytical. If your business culture and your corporate identity match, you operate an organization that is run with integrity and authenticity. That speaks to employees and potential customer, alike.
People appreciate when a business is unique and authentic. Create a clear and distinctive identity-led culture and practice it in your day-to-day operations. Build your team with people who understand and embrace your core business values.
When you think and operate in unique ways internally, you can produce the unique identity and image you desire externally. You need to have employees who understand and embrace the distinct ways you create value for customers, the points that differentiate your brand from the competition, and the unique personality that your company uses to express itself — and your employees must be empowered to interpret and reinforce these themselves. You achieve this by cultivating a clear, strong, and distinctive brand-led culture.
If your culture and brand are mismatched, you can end up with happy, productive employees who produce the wrong results.
Without using your brand purpose and values to orient your culture efforts, you’re also likely to waste a lot of money. You may think you need to take extraordinary measures to attract and retain in-demand talent, like providing free lunches to employees, putting foosball tables and beer kegs in break rooms, and offering free gym memberships. As you try to one-up your competition in the war for talent, you’ll probably draw from a pool of perks and benefits that sound great but produce little more than a generic, fun work environment. And you may end up like social media software startup Buffer, which struggled to achieve profitability because its generous cultural practices, including offering vacation bonuses and wellness grants, ate away at cash flow instead of producing employees who were passionate about the brand offering and committed to developing on-brand innovations.
How you operate on the inside should be inextricably linked with how you want to be perceived on the outside. Just as brands differ, there is no single right culture. Identify the distinct cultural elements that enable you to achieve your desired brand identity, and then deliberately cultivate them. When your brand and culture are aligned and integrated, you increase operational efficiency, accuracy, and quality; you improve your ability to compete for talent and customer loyalty with intangibles that can’t be copied; and you move your organization closer to its vision.