What has my Culture and Brand got to do with the experience we deliver to our customers, and my bottom line?
Put simply, the experience you deliver to your customers (and employees) will be a direct reflection of your businesses culture and brand and “how we do things around here” and your leadership!
And before you go thinking culture is all fluffy, touchy feely stuff – it isn’t – Culture and Brand is about your bottom-line – now and in the future. Your culture and your brand are not only one of the most powerful and proven tool for building a strong and profitable business, but equally important, they are usually the only sustainable competitive advantage you have control over.
Unfortunately both culture and brand are misunderstood and often considered a touchy-feely or fluffy part of business, so they are ignored or put in the too hard / wrong time basket. This way of thinking is at best unfortunate, at worst fatal, as your culture and brand is the environment in which your business either thrives or dies a slow death.
It’s like letting the water in your fish tank get dirty
Think of your business as a fish tank, your culture is the water and the fish as your employees and customers. If you don’t look after the water and keep it healthy, slowly everything important within the tank dies as the water gets murkier, dirtier and more toxic – a slow painful death.
A strong and authentic culture helps retain your existing employees for longer and makes your business more attractive to potential ones. According to recent surveys, corporate culture is the main factor influencing potential employees when evaluating a job opportunity. It is also the most influential factor in terms of the likelihood that current employees will recommend their employer.
Your businesses culture and brand can be one of your strongest assets or your biggest liability.
Why should I care about my culture?
Reason 1: Culture makes you stand out from the crowd
A company’s culture is often it’s only truly unique identifier or differentiator from it’s competitors. Things like your products, your strategies and even your techniques can, and if any good will be copied. For example – Zappo’s – every week hundreds of people tour Zappo’s, – yet despite countless attempts, to date no one has managed to copy their culture. Nearly every major airline has copied Southwest’s business model, but they have all failed to copy their culture.
Your culture and your brand can often be the one thing that stops your product or service becoming a commodity!
“What keeps me awake at night are the intangibles. It’s the intangibles that are the hardest thing for a competitor to imitate, so my biggest fear is that we lose the culture, the spirit. If we ever do lose that, we will have lost our most important competitive asset” – Gary Kelly CEO Southwest Airlines
Reason 2: Culture makes you attractive
Collectively your culture and your brand gives your employees and customers (existing and potential) a reason to choose your business over your competitors (or not), and your existing employees and customers to not only stay with you but to recommend you to others.
“If you get the culture right most of the other stuff will follow” – Tony Hsieh Zappos
- Highlights “the way we do things around here”, what is and isn’t acceptable.
- Tells employees what to do when you aren’t around or looking.
- Guides people’s discretionary behaviour and takes over from where your employee handbook stops.
- It’s the formula that guides your team, as well as inspires and motivates them – or not!
Reason 4: When Culture and Brand Clash, Culture Will Win
Your brand makes a promise to your employees and customers, Your culture determines if that promise is kept (why – see 3 above).
And businesses that don’t keep their promises don’t last. Those that do thrive because they build trust and loyalty. Therefore you need to ensure your culture and brand are not only working together but are also given the same level of importance as all your other planning areas.
Remember actions will always speak louder than words.
Reason 5: Culture is money in the bank
Lastly and perhaps most importantly, culture is completely about your bottom line, business performance and success. According to a recent Deloitte “Core Beliefs and Culture” Survey –
“94% of executives and 88% of employees believe a distinct workplace culture drives business success.”
Show me the money …the proof it works!
Your bottom line next year will be largely determined by your current strategies; your bottom line in the following years will be greatly influenced by your current culture!
Business culture. It isn’t fluffy stuff. Business culture is completely about your bottom-line
Without a functional and relevant culture and brand, the money invested in R & D, product differentiation, marketing, and HR is often wasted because it’s not supported by a functional culture and brand.
Many studies, of many businesses, comparing the performance difference between those that made culture and brand a key aspect of their strategy and those that did not, discovered that the difference was both surprising and significant. They discovered that for businesses that focused on improving their company culture and brand:
|Revenues increased||4 times faster|
|Job creation rates grew||7 times higher|
|Stock prices increased||12 times faster|
|Profits climbed||750% higher|
|Net income grew||700% more|
In addition over 30 years of research, in over 40 countries around the world, has shown time and again that investing in a high-trust workplace culture yields distinct, tangible business benefits.
Studies of the 100 Best Companies show the benefits of a healthy company culture include:
- Higher employee & customer retention
- Attraction of higher quality job applicants
- Improved safety records
- Reduced rework and shrinkage
- Positive company reputation
- Improved Productivity
- Greater quality of service
- Less absenteeism
- Engaged and productive employees
- Higher voluntary employee effort
Even if you could achieve just 25 – 50% of the above, imagine what it would do to your results !!
Maybe factor some of the above into your current results and see the differences or increases that could be made?
See more startling facts and stats on why culture and branding matter
In summary: Culture Matters!
It impacts customer service, productivity, absenteeism, and financial performance.
Businesses that fail to invest in their culture and brand risk being outperformed by competitors who do – and those businesses that do invest in their culture and brand have greater enjoyment, profits and growth – over the long term.
Can you afford not pay attention to it?
Contact us now to find out how even tweaking your culture can have a huge impact
Have a culture by design not by default