Lately I've been learning about the microbiome of the skin and hair (stay with me here)- the similarities between an imbalance of our biome system impacting our external appearance (hello dandruff), and the health of a company culture impacting their external attractiveness (hello Twitter News), is very similar.
I wrote this article a couple years ago, but it is even more true as mobility marches steadily forward into nearly everyone's "business".
BRING YOUR BRAND INTO ACTION
1. THE PRACTICE OF AN EXTERNAL BRAND vs. INTERNAL BUSINESS is EXTINCT. Why? Because, the controllable external brand image went away with the internet. With truly mass media and the advent of mobile and instant communication there are no secrets. Any customer who truly wants know about a company can access to its most sensitive internal secrets,ratings, rankings and real time outflows (and pretty much all your company business). Our “networks” are both our blessing and curse.
For centuries, businesses could present an image, “a brand” with exciting virtues and values externally, and could behave a completely different way internally. Today everything is transparent.
Therefore, businesses must now re-examine their perception and distinction between business and brand.
2. COMPANY VALUES SHOULD BE CUSTOMER VALUES When a company truly represents an ethos and worldview that are attractive to their customers and true to the DNA of the employees, those customers will not just buy from that business, they will prefer that brand, and be loyal to it. Staying consistent and true to those values even in a highly competitive market or in a downturn – as customers become more selective- is even more important.
People don’t want an act. And they certainly don’t want a manufactured brand and service pretending to be something in presentation only. They want something real. Today, the businesses that continue to treat their brand like an external Communication System used only to attract a particular customer are regularly skewered in social media. Either they course correct when discovered, or over time experience diminished customer loyalty.
Companies that have successfully aligned their Vision, Mission, and Values with those of their customers and are able to consistently demonstrate their guides throughout every level of their business communication, operations, products and services, has a Strong Brand Culture.
3. STRONG BRAND CULTURES = BRAND IN ACTION When a Brand is “IN ACTION”, it means the employees are actively demonstrating the company values. Employees within strong brand cultures are more loyal, responsive and responsible. It’s human nature. When individuals participate in a cause, a system, and an entity with a greater purpose than their singular paycheck or a day-to-day existence they are lifted above the tactical to a greater consideration. They belong—and are participating as a member of a system in which roles and impact are clearly defined.
This means every member of the company (especially the leadership) understands what is expected of them, respects, operates and presents themselves consistently from “the front of the house” to the backyard.
As a result, customers don’t get an act, they get ACTION. They get passion and commitment in their products and services. And ultimately the customers return the Brand commitment with the most a successful company can ask for, purchase and advocacy.