Does your external brand drive your culture or is it the other way around? Imagine turning your brand inside out, so your internal brand takes precedence over your external brand.
A few months ago, I had the opportunity to present a webinar for the Columbus Chamber members discussing how our culture (internal brand) influences our external brand. Put in human terms, we learned that in organizations, as in life, beauty is only skin deep; it’s what’s on the inside that counts.
It’s important for leaders to articulate and reinforce what’s on the inside — core mission, vision and values because those elements directly impact what happens on the outside — how well we get and keep customers. When every employee understands why the company exists, its purpose beyond making money, and what it values/believes, that internal culture guides decision making (choices) and behaviors (actions). Those choices and actions create a lasting impression, positive or negative, in the minds of the people who experience them.
Creating synergy between your company’s core (what it stands for and how it behaves) and its external brand promise and brand position is critical in the wake of consumers demanding authenticity and transparency from those they choose to do business with. Actions do speak louder than words and social media makes sure we hear them — the good, the bad and the ugly.
During the webinar, we discussed in-depth the five keys to brand synergy:
We discussed examples of organizations that are not fulfilling their brand promise and those that are living out their brand to the fullest. What companies have you encountered whose behavior is not consistent with their brand promise? (Delta, GM, Comcast, Bank of America.) What brands do you think of that live their brand promise every day in every way? (Southwest, Apple, Starbucks, Zappos.)
Your brand means nothing if your internal culture does not reflect it every day. So, turn your brand inside out – see it through the direct experiences of your employees and customers. It’s the first step toward clarity and consistency in decisions and actions that empower everyone in your company to deliver its brand promise.