In White Paper
Building your brand from the inside
On 13, Sep 2012 | In White Paper | By brad
Most brand professionals will know that building a strong brand begins from the inside.
It makes common sense; if your employees actively live your culture and drive your strategy you should be on a one-way road to success. But what if employees just don’t get it? Your intentions are right, your product and systems are right but your employees just don’t care? Culture is seen by many as a soft topic, one that is all to often relegated to becoming cheesy internal communication, bland website copy or the poster child in a credentials presentation. This is where the problem and the opportunity start.
A core focus area of any good brand strategy is an organisation’s culture, which is directed by its values system – after all an organisation’s value should translate into customer value. The better-understood and lived value system should (if aligned to the business strategy) deliver real value to customers.
Getting staff to not only understand your culture and the values is the first step – the second and often the hardest is bringing these to life.
I’ve often sat in brand value presentations and seen “throw-away” words on a screen like transparency, integrity and partnership. Needless to say these words have very little depth and meaning when not contextualised. They tend to loose their relevance very quickly.
So how do you get to deep, meaningful values that actually resonate with your staff? Here’s a step approach to make sure you strike the chord that’s right for your organisation.
- Make it relevant
- Make it globally understandable
- Make it something that can become a social contract
- Make it real to the way your business works
- Make it true to your strategic intent
Values don’t need to be one-worders – rather make them real. Google has an impressive set of values that they call their philosophy. The simple statements have company-wide application in thinking and doing:
- Focus on the user and all else will follow
- It’s best to do one thing really, really well
- Fast is better than slow
- Democracy on the web works
- You don’t need to be at your desk to need an answer
- You can make money without doing evil
- There’s always more information out there
- The need for information crosses all borders
- You can be serious without a suit
- Great just isn’t good enough
The second step is bringing your values to life, making sure they are lived through your staff. The majority of companies do little to explain why the values are there in the first place. With a lack of depth of knowledge, values have little meaning. People change when they understand the reason for change. But can people change?
The critics of change say that once habit is formed it doesn’t change, its evolves but the reality is that the brain is malleable. It’s designed to be. To react. To process. To adapt. Neuroplasticity shows us this and continues to do this.
So the way to change? Show staff what the company is, why there is a need for change and what change will look like. Most importantly, explain the benefit of change to them and the company. This is a step often left out in employer branding campaigns or HR initiatives.
We gravitate to what’s better for us. We change for what’s better for us.
Article written by Brad Dessington, Rogue CEO