Henry Ford famously said, “Quality means doing it right when no one is looking.”
The same can be said about company culture. Fostering a positive brand experience both inside and outside the organization can be almost invisible, because – when done well – it’s an integrated and holistic element of a brand’s identity and promise. When done poorly, however, it’s the most obvious thing in the world to employees and customers, alike. One scroll through the social media landscape and it’s evident to even the casual observer that there are some shining stars and some D-students in the culture classroom.
Why does culture matter so much if your product or service is stellar? In short, your product or service cannot be stellar without culture to back it up. Brands that want to flourish should have their attention focused squarely on creating and developing a positive culture. According to a 10-year long study on employee engagement and company results by Queen’s University Centre for Business Venturing, organizations that fostered an engaged culture saw a 65% greater share-price increase, 26% less staff turnover, 15% greater employee productivity, and 30% greater customer satisfaction levels.
Culture Touches Everything
Bad culture – once the hushed secret of the corporate world – now has the ability to ruin a brand’s reputation both inside and outside corporate walls. What used to be whispered gossip among job-seekers is now out in the open with platforms like Glassdoor inviting direct employee feedback about what it’s really like to work for an organization. Whose supervisor micromanages them? Does a company care about work-life balance and job satisfaction? What company provides continual training, fosters brand buy-in and helps employees feel part of the overarching mission? One search tells all.
At the same time, the internet also ushered in customers giving direct feedback about their brand experience through Google and Yelp reviews in addition to communicating directly with brands about their products and services via social media. Thanks to the internet, a brand’s dirty (or clean) laundry is all out there for the world to see. Just ask any of the brands on The 9 Most Cringeworthy Brand Fails or The 10 Worst Companies To Work For lists. Once something quietly handled by HR, culture is now part-and-parcel of every brand touchpoint – identity, product, reputation, and experience.
Deploying Culture Programs
While ideally culture should be foundational and ongoing, most brands usually have a triggering event that shines a spotlight on the pressing need for developing and deploying culture programs within their organizations. One of those occurrences is often a rebrand or retail renovation. Rebecca Doepke, Adrenaline’s Director of Culture, says, “When we’re talking about changing retail environments, I think that presents large challenges for clients. It’s a great new space, but how are employees going to use it and how will it translate into a better customer experience? Staff needs training and immersion in the environment. It’s a big shift for any brand’s staff.”