We’ve been talking a lot lately about branding. There’s one aspect of branding that, if overlooked or neglected, could end up hurting the image you’ve worked so hard to cultivate. This is company culture. Company culture is crucial to your brand. Just as branding aids your company in keeping to a distinct character in terms of what products and services it offers and how it is represented, company culture can influence that character by affecting your brand’s reputation and overall image.
Communicate company values. For your company’s values to be conveyed to your customers, your employees need to know exactly what those values are and what role they play in making the desired culture a reality. This makes it possible for your employees to share a similar mindset so there is little confusion in terms of how your company views itself.
Southwest Airlines is an excellent example of a company united by a common purpose. Southwest’s company culture has spawned an infrastructure of employees known for efficiency and an eagerness to please. This culture of enthusiasm has resulted in a brand image famous for its superior service.
Make sure employees match the culture. When hiring new additions to your organization, it’s imperative to make sure they fit in with the culture you’re trying to build. Zappos recognizes how critical this is and has adjusted their hiring process accordingly. After a series of interviews that determine if an applicant is a viable candidate in terms of his/her ability to perform the job itself, Zappos conducts interviews designed to find out whether or not the candidate fits in with the company’s culture. Once employees are hired, they then go through a 4-week training program in which the company’s culture of providing an exemplary customer experience is emphasized. If, after the first week of this training, a new hire decides the Zappos culture is not for them, they have the option to accept $2,000 and leave the company. In this way, Zappos works to ensure that it is filled with individuals that promote the desired culture that strengthens and perpetuates its brand image.
Treat employees as members of a team. When employees of every level of a company feel that their efforts and opinions are valued, they are encouraged to contribute and feel more like a team. SquareSpace has developed an environment of creativity and innovation. This positive and productive environment is the result of a company culture centered on a team mentality not encumbered by unnecessary levels of supervision.