So you’ve defined your brand and started showcasing it to your customers. But how do you fully embed your brand values into your company culture?
Nobody can ‘live the brand’ 24 hours a day, and it would be a bit worrying if they could. Brand values are ideals to aim for, not rigid rules, and you can guarantee that sometimes you and your team will fall short, because we’re all human.
Being able to step back and look at your business culture with a sense of humour is a great asset for keeping your brand alive in the long run. If things go a bit off-course, you can notice and correct it, it’s not the end of the world!
The best way to keep such a positive culture in the workplace? Give employees the work life balance they need. Nobody wants burnt-out, unhappy staff, and we all know relaxed staff equals better company culture. Simple!
The Harvard Business Review suggests matching your external marketing materials with your internal comms, so the messages you’re giving to the world are the same ones you’re affirming inside your business culture. With internal marketing, you know your audience really well and you can count on their attention during the working day, so your brand-building messages can be well-targeted and effective.
If you’re a one-person business, it might feel a bit daft marketing to yourself, but you can still embed your brand values in your physical space. If you’ve got leaflets, flyers, business cards or postcards made up, put some up on the walls around your desk. It’ll help you keep your brand values front of mind and remember the look and feel you’re projecting to the wider world. Think of it like your brand looking at itself in the mirror.
Everyone has a different understanding of a term such as ‘friendly’ – to some people it’s a polite smile and relaxed company culture, to others it’s a vigorous handshake and an invitation to lunch. It’s the same with your brand values – they’re open to a whole range of interpretations. So rather than presenting staff with abstract ideas like ‘trustworthy’ ‘helpful’ and ‘bold’, spell out what you mean using examples.
Real-world context can illustrate your brand values in action. Think about customer phone calls, interactions between staff in the office, conversations with suppliers, exchanges on social media or any other scenario that comes to mind and start to build some examples. This will give your staff clarity and confidence in helping your brand culture grow.
You can use images, text or video to create examples for staff to refer to, or even a set of screenshots showing social conversations. For even more effect, pair your ‘good’ examples with a ‘what not to do’ version.
Without people, a brand is just a list of words or a palette of colours. It’s your team that really makes your brand a reality, so it’s essential to make sure they understand where your brand is coming from and what each of your brand values means in the real-world.
If staff members can relate your brand values to their own personal ones, all the better. Try linking your brand values with employee recruitment and rewards, so that you’re selecting people who share your company’s outlook and then re-affirming those values over time. It’s a self-sustaining way of building a company culture, and building your brand.