Most small business owners don’t give much thought to company culture – at least in terms of how it can impact their brand. However, when you create an intentional culture, it supports your overall brand strategy.
Today, I’m answering three common questions that I hear all the time when it comes to company culture and how it can help impact your brand and your business!
What is company culture?
First, let’s start off by defining company culture. In its simplest form, this is the personality of your business and how you treat and interact with your team members.
Most people typically use adjectives to describe their brand and how they want their ideal clients to feel when they work with them. These same words can be used when developing your culture, too. For example:
The beauty is that there’s no right or wrong answer here – it’s all up to you! But if you don’t create the culture you want, you may end up having one you don’t want by default. We’ll chat about this more next!
Why does it matter?
Some people will argue that company culture happens gradually over time and that it’s not something you should force. Well… those people are wrong (and a little bit right… but mostly wrong).
Let’s imagine that you left your branding to “happen gradually over time.” How do you think that would turn out?
Probably not so hot! It would likely be a hodgepodge mess of different colors, fonts, and messaging. People would be confused – and rightly so!
When you take the time to intentionally create your company’s culture, you get to make sure that it sings in harmony with that beautiful brand you’ve built.
If you don’t intentionally create your company’s culture, then, yes, it will develop gradually over time. However, it’s probably not going to be the culture you want – or one that aligns with and supports the brand you (and your brand strategist!) have worked so hard to build.
If your company culture doesn’t align with your brand, it will create confusion. When you begin hiring team members, they’ll experience your culture firsthand. And if your culture doesn’t jive with your branding, they’re gonna talk about it. With their friends. On the internet (which is a pretty ruthless place, in case you didn’t know). YIKES!
Let me give you an example in the form of Walt Disney World (WDW). They’ve branded themselves as the “Happiest Place on Earth.” If you went to work for Disney, you’d probably expect it to be a pretty upbeat, fun, and, well, happy place to be, right? If their culture was intense, demanding, and grueling, then we’d be hearing about it for sure! And Disney would have an extremely hard time finding people who wanted to work there and they might even lose customers because their culture is so offbeat with their branding.
But since that’s not the case, WDW is a great example of a culture that aligns with and supports a robust brand identity. The two are in alignment. And it remains the happiest place on earth!
Developing a strong company culture that’s in alignment with your brand is important for maintaining that strong brand you’ve built, as well as providing a positive experience for your new team members and maintaining trust with your clients and audience.
Bonus Fun Fact: It also makes it so much easier to hire the right team members when you have a clear and intentional culture that supports and aligns with your brand!
How can I create a culture that impacts my brand?
Now that you’re all jazzed about creating an intentional culture, I don’t want to leave you hanging! Here are three tips to help start creating a company culture that impacts your brand:
- First, sit down with a piece of paper and a pencil and think about your brand and your business overall. Write down all the words that you associate with your brand and your ideal client experience, as well as how you want to feel in your own business.
- Next, break those ideas down into ways you could apply them to yourself and your current or future team. For example, if having fun is part of your brand, how you can make sure to inject fun into your work environment every day or every week?
- Finally, start taking action TODAY! You are the most important team member in your business – you should treat yourself like you are. What can you do today to start creating the type of culture you want for your current or future team
Like many entrepreneurs and small business owners, you probably started your business in order to live your very best life. Creating an intentional culture starts with you, my friend.
Ask yourself this one question: Would I want to work for me?
You shouldn’t wait until you have a big team to start creating your intentional culture. By creating a company culture that supports and aligns with your brand, you’re not only developing an even stronger and more cohesive brand identity, you’re also impacting yourself personally, as well as those you plan to hire in the future.
This blog post is part six of the Impactful Brand Series – an eleven-part series to help you build an impactful brand in 2018. If you don’t want to miss out on this series, be sure you are on my email list to be notified each week when a new piece in the series is released.
Next up in the series: How Sharing Your Story Can Elevate Your Brand (written by an author and transformational coach for female business owners).
If you’re ready to build an impactful brand in 2018, get in touch with me and let’s make some magic happen!
Ashley Cox, PHR, SHRM-CP, is a certified HR Professional and the founder of SproutHR, where she helps entrepreneurs hire, train, and lead their profitable teams. She’s spent the past 12 years leading teams of her own and helping others grow and lead their teams, including many years with a Fortune 25 Company. There isn’t much she hasn’t seen or done when it comes to HR! Ashley will cut your learning curve in half, help you stop spinning your wheels and wasting time, and tackle the HR needs of your growing your business. You can find more from Ashley on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
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