In the first part of this two-part series, I talked about brand cultures that focus on performance, those that are restless for change, freeform cultures and those that learn fast and continue to evolve. This second part focuses on brand cultures driven by a need to change the world; start up brands evolving into grown up cultures; brands with powerful leaders; and brands that need to keep pushing down costs in order to thrive.
Brand culture is the culture that a company cultivates in order to powerfully, consistently and competitively deliver its brand to market. It’s how people work together to bring the brand alive.
It’s all very well having a purpose and company values, but how have you translated those into actionable principles that guide what you will do and won’t do?
The choice of values and the nature of those values comes up a lot in any team looking to change what it stands for. Sometimes it comes up overtly. More often, it comes out in a reluctance by some to ‘move on’ from what they know because they are concerned that leadership is not up to the task or they will end up compromising their professional integrity.
If you’re a brand leader and you’ve been one for a while, there’s a good chance you know your market and that you monitor and are highly aware of your competitors. All the market intelligence you have tells you where things are.
It’s easy to think of what your brand is there to do (purpose) and how your business intends to prosper (strategy) as separate things, different agendas. But more and more brands are looking at ways to bring these two ideas together: building and focusing their business around the wider impacts they intend to have.
Every brand has a truth point – and that point is always the point of contact: the moment when the customer makes contact with the brand, to buy, to ask, to complain, to enquire … Everyone whose studied marketing for any time nods at this obvious point. But interestingly, whilst all brands acknowledge contact as the truth point and most wax lyrical about customer service and having a customer promise, far fewer resource for it or prepare their people thoroughly to deliver on it. A surprising number still don’t explain to their own people how to apply the brand to what they are working on in their day. They seem to just expect it to happen.
In this post from some time back I talked about the difference between brand energy and brand focus. I discussed how marketers often put the emphasis on spend (energy) and hope it ties to an outcome. I contrasted this with marketers who begin with the outcome they want (focus) and apportion an appropriate level of energy to achieve it. Above all, I emphasised the need for balance between these two forces.
It’s tempting to see a struggling brand or business as one mass of people, and to believe that underperformance is spread evenly across the organisation. That’s seldom the case.
According to Simon Sinek, “Studies show that over 80 percent of Americans do not have their dream job. If more knew how to build organizations that inspire, we could live in a world in which that statistic was the reverse – a world in which over 80 percent of people loved their jobs”. Nice thought. Imagine the productivity gains if the vast majority of people in any given building were inspired and not just paid.