Brand and culture align

Why you should care if your brand and culture are aligned

We get it. It is a challenge to prioritize your marketing budget. There has been a ton of conversation about how fragmentation has disrupted agencies and paved the way for specialization. There isn’t a lot about the internal hand-wringing. Is this the year for the website, search, SEO, video, social, PR, influencer, etc? It is a lot.

Branding investments get lumped into the long-term category. That is fair. A brand certainly requires longer-term thinking. It’s not necessarily the ad campaign that can drive immediate results, but maybe they are more linked than you think. As your culture evolves and becomes increasingly out of line with your brand, some significant and immediate problems surface. Driving lots of traffic to something that no longer represents who you are today isn’t a good idea. Here are three problems we see frequently in otherwise healthy, growing organizations.

Talent attraction

Every business we talk to has talent attraction as a goal. But, it is difficult to attract the best talent if searchers don’t even read the job description. Their perception of your organization matters. You are looking for employees who are a values match. Remember, values might be the first brand touchpoint. But searchers also see your organization through narrative, symbol, and artifact. Your values must weave through the whole brand for them to choose you. They don’t only live on an About Us page on your website. Talent attraction will always be problematic when your culture and brand are misaligned.

Employee morale 

Growth causes pain. A culture is constantly stressed by the push and pull of values and practice. New people can amplify this. Changes in strategic direction can amplify this. Sometimes, values drift just because you lose sight of them temporarily. An ambitious organization will need help realigning culture and brand periodically. The risk of delaying is too great. Can you afford to lose your best people? Can you afford for them to check out? Probably not.

Consumer skepticism

Any gap between who you say you are and how you present yourself will be greeted skeptically. There are so many examples of bad corporate behavior that businesses don’t have much leeway. Dissonance is perceived as deceit. And it’s difficult to get a second chance. By now, the consumer component should be the clearest.

While these are serious problems, they are good problems. Your culture and brand are out of alignment because you are growing and dynamic. It is normal and exciting. We would love to help you think through your issues, whether it is as simple as a strategy workshop or a complete brand refresh. Remember that the cumulative effect of Apple’s rigorous attention to culture and brand is a $1T company. If you need help getting unstuck, click here to get started.

Brad Flowers
Brad Flowers
Founding Partner

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