Thursday, May 15, 2014

Company Culture is the Key to Successful Branding

Branding is often seen as a company's name, logo, marketing strategy, and advertising. But even if you have a fantastic logo and name, a clever marketing campaign and targeted advertising, it all doesn't add up to a successful brand unless the public has a positive impression of their relationship with your company.

And the key to creating a positive public image is a company's employees, and the culture that informs how your employees relate to your customers. If you make sure that very interaction with your targeted market is carried out by helpful, intelligent and cheerful brand ambassadors, your brand will be successful.

Hunter Communications Original News Source: 
Bloomberg Businessweek

Link to article:
Branding Begins at Home

Excerpt: "Employees have always held a lot of sway on how brands are perceived but never more so—and with higher stakes—than today. It’s surprising that companies don’t do more to nurture corporate culture through genuine and sincere internal branding efforts.

The reason, I think, is that we too often consider branding in communications terms—advertising, public relations, promotions. In reality, there’s really no way to separate 'the business' from 'the brand.' A brand is the sum and substance of every experience customers have with a business. No clever billboard, touching TV commercial, or cute YouTube (GOOG) video can measure up to the impact of real-world experiences someone has with a brand. That’s why the most important target audience for any company is the people who have the brand on their business cards (or name tags, polo shirts, and ball caps).

Management guru Peter Drucker famously said, 'Culture eats strategy for breakfast.' Nothing will turn even the best brand strategy into bacon quicker than an unhealthy corporate culture. Companies such as the local pizza chain understand this, but the biggest brands often don’t get it. They’re too preoccupied with external communications, driven by the incessant pressure to deliver short-term results, and hindered by internal silos. Cultural branding is one arena where the advantage definitely goes to smaller players.

The most notable example of this advantage has to be Zappos (AMZN). Tony Hsieh launched Zappos, quickly expanded it, and turned the company into an attractive acquisition target by focusing relentlessly on culture. He rightly believed that brand and culture were two sides of the same coin. 'If you get the culture right, most of the other stuff—like great customer service, or building a great long-term brand, or passionate employees and customers—will happen naturally on its own,' Hsieh said. He put his money where his mouth was.

Instead of spending millions on marketing, Zappos put in place a deliberate hiring practice involving multiple rounds of interviews, an intensive four-week training program, and a stint for every employee (regardless of department or job title) fielding customer calls. In an effort to ensure that everyone who clocks in at the company would truly buy in to its culture, Hsieh offered a $2,000 bonus to anyone who wished to quit during the training period."

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