Building a strong brand is much more than just thinking about your customers. Your employees are your biggest brand ambassadors, and it is essential that you ensure that every employee supports your brand.
Having a “good enough” corporate culture is setting the bar too low, and we should all be striving for collaboration, impactful conversations and teamwork as a foundation in our corporate culture.
So how do you go about differentiating yourself from other businesses? What outcomes do you need to focus on? Simply put, it is about having a unique corporate culture that grows and nurtures your talent, developing brand ambassadors just as much as you invest in your customers; a culture that aims for positive employee attitudes and behaviours across your organisation.
Building this unique culture goes beyond your internal ambitions. Companies that build a brilliant culture do it well because they have identified their brand purpose well. How does your business want to be perceived and what experiences do you wish for your customers? Once you have identified this, then you can start to align all you do around this, and when you act with integrity to your core brand, then your employees will naturally align to this and start to make decisions and behave towards these goals. This is when the brand promise really starts to come alive and deliver.
It isn’t easy, and it takes a little time to make the brand – culture synergy, but it can be done if you take the brand types for your organisation and work from there. Brand types are very similar to brand archetypes (Hero, Sage, etc.), but they assess the strategic ways that a brand may compete and position itself in a market. For example, is your brand an innovative brand or an environmental brand?
Disruptive brand – a brand that challenges practice, introduces new concepts and is deemed confident and daring. Think about brands such as Monzo Bank, Airbnb etc.
Conscious brand – a brand which is environmentally or socially aware, existing to add quality of life and transparency; a brand such as Lush.
Service brand – one that routinely over-delivers on service, the customer is at the heart of the service. Think Disney or Netflix who strive to be as close to their customers to deliver a seamless service and experience.
Innovative brand – This has to be what Apple has become known as and the brand all others try to emulate. They continuously innovate products and use technology to bring simplicity and imagination to their customers. Amazon and Nike also are deemed disruptive with their progressive focus.
Value brand – a down to earth brand that offers lower prices for basic quality such as Primark, Aldi and Ikea.
Performance brand – a brand such as BMW, that drives performance and service.
Luxury brand – a brand that is almost discriminating, glamorous but sought after. Rolex, Tiffany, Rolls Royce for example.
Style brand – a brand that is different because of the style it provides and the way its products look. They are seen as the cool kid in town; think Habitat, Levis and All Saints.
Many brands will have more than one leading characteristic, of course, every brand wants to aim for excellent customer service, but it will depend on the priorities of each company. Some companies will put customers above shareholders, and nothing else matters – their entire value proposition is around excellence in service, their whole operational plan supports service excellence.
Once you have worked out the brand that you want to be the next and essential step is to align your brand and culture. For example, if you’re going to be seen as a disruptive brand, you need to ensure that you harness a culture of risk-taking, behaving boldly and you attract talent to innovate in order to disrupt. You must listen to your talent when you attract them and give them full autonomy.
Ask yourself, what are your corporate values? Do they align with your brand proposition? What behaviours do you need to be able to keep that brand promise alive? These should then embed into your corporate culture and determine how your employees show up each day. The core values reflect mindset and can shape the beliefs and attitudes of your business and teams.
For example, if you are a service brand, then would you look to align to humility, empathy and nurturing as your core values? If you are an innovative brand, do you seek experimentation and continuous improvement? Ideally, you should make your company’s core values those of your employees and culture and embed them into your operations. Do you reward and incentivise these behaviours?
Your corporate culture should be as distinct as your brand. You can achieve this whether your business is friendly or ambitious, innovative or daring, stylish or glamorous, but it is important to remember that there is no right or wrong culture – it just needs to be the right culture that delivers your brand promise. Once you achieve that, then customers will follow.
At Grey Bear, we pride ourselves on being a true service brand, putting your needs first and building bespoke programmes that strengthen your brands externally and internally. We are known for our high-quality customer service, led by a team of experts that have excellence in their DNA. We help you with the impactful conversations that you need to be having to gain alignment between your brand and culture while developing your brand and core values.
Why not get in touch and see how we can help you step up your business performance. We are confident that we can.
Tel: 01865 950753