Identifying your brand culture

Brand culture is the culture that a company cultivates in order to powerfully, consistently and competitively deliver its brand to market. It’s how people work together to bring the brand alive for customers. But brand cultures are more than an expression of the brand itself; they are, by necessity, an expression of the people who work for that brand and the decisions and ways of working and behaving that they agree to work within.

The challenge for any brand is when what it stands for as a brand no longer aligns with what the people working for the brand do. It’s all very well to talk about building or changing a powerful brand culture, but first you need to understand the culture you’re changing. Each is different because each revolves around a different ethos. In this, the first of a two part series, I look at what defines, and what it takes to shift, a brand culture today.

It’s tempting to believe that culture is a formula. You derive a purpose, apply goals, set values, agree on behaviors and then inculcate these ideas (with varying degrees of success) over the next 12 – 18 months. While every brand culture should indeed be driven by these elements, the type of culture your brand functions within is its own human dynamic. Shifting that to something new is very difficult, essentially because you are going against the very nature of ‘how things get done around here’. Success is much more likely if you are able to recognize the predominant nature of the brand culture you are working with, and to leverage that to the brand’s advantage.

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