When you think of your organization, what comes to mind first? The product or service it provides? The organization’s public image? The colleagues you work with every day? These factors are all related, for better or worse. That’s because an organization’s brand is reflected in the people it attracts, how they work together, and what they produce. Your brand identity and company culture are either aligned or they’re not, and your results will show the truth.
If your organization’s brand and company culture feel in sync, you’ll want to identify, encourage, and support the people who make that happen. On the other hand, if your brand and culture feel disconnected, trust that feeling, and do something about it. If you need data to support your instinct, an employee survey may be in order. Left alone, rifts between what an organization seems to be and what it is can cause problems—either under your organization’s roof or in public view. Check regularly to better understand how your organization’s brand and culture line up.
The Important Connection Between Brand Identity and Company Culture
Brand and Culture: Brand Is Culture
The connection between brand and culture is so important that some organizations have started combining the roles of the chief marketing officer (CMO) and the chief human resources officer (CHRO). Those firms recognize:
- How external and internal branding drive company culture;
- How external branding itself reflects company culture; and
- How brand identity and company culture can create a virtuous cycle (or a vicious circle)
Denise Lee Yohn, author of Fusion: How Integrating Brand and Culture Powers the World’s Greatest Companies says that it’s an organization’s one-of-a-kind culture that creates the overall public brand identity. “If you want a great brand, you must cultivate a strong brand-led culture inside your organization,” she says.
Bill Taylor, Co-Founder of FastCompany, describes the connection as a make-or-break for your company: “You can’t be special, distinctive, and compelling in the marketplace unless you create something special, distinctive, and compelling in the workplace.”
Brand and Culture: Virtuous Cycles and Vicious Circles
Managing for a great brand-culture connection helps you set up a virtuous cycle. The way your people communicate and help each other perform at their highest levels (your company culture) reflects in superior products and services, putting a nice shine on your public image. As Levitica Watts, CMO of Smith, Gambrell, & Russell, notes, “When employees enjoy their employer, culture improves.”
However, if your workplace is a cookie-cutter zombie breeding ground, at best you’ll have disengaged workers producing mediocrity. Left ignored, that can lead to a vicious cycle of brand-damaging results including but not limited to: PR crises, decreased rates of employee retention, and poor morale. All the logo redesigns in the world can’t save a company with employees who simply don’t care.
Improve Brand Identity and Company Culture
One great way to improve your company’s culture and employee engagement is through public recognition and rewards. You can structure incentives to boost workplace engagement and help achieve your organization’s strategic goals at the same time. The recognition and rewards help your people focus on where you want to go—top performance and results that come from the best of your company culture. You’ll notice the difference and your customers will see it too.
If the connection between brand identity and company culture at your organization is a big question mark and you could use some help, let’s talk. Our employee recognition and rewards programs are proven to improve employee engagement and get better results than financial compensation alone.