Ask most leaders and they’ll say they’ve got a great organizational culture. But dig a little deeper and the reality is, simply because people in a company say good morning to each other and aren’t berating each other, doesn’t mean you’ve got a true corporate culture of collaboration, compassion and, most importantly for your business, productivity. So, your culture – or your internal brand – might not be as strong as you think.
Many leaders forget to include internal branding on their marketing radar. Yet, working on your internal brand is one of the most important first steps to take in marketing before you look to your outward-facing or consumer brand.
Creating a truly great culture means you’re branding from within, creating a group of internal brand ambassadors who live and breathe your brand. It impacts the way they work – from the way they answer their phones or respond to emails to the way they talk about your company at Aunt Doris’ birthday party. Happier, productive employees make a positive impact on your brand and your business growth.
The starting point for your cultural makeover is ensuring that your company goals are aligned with your employees’ goals. Once employees understand how their goals fit into your company’s objectives, they have a better understanding of their contribution, and they can achieve a better sense of work-life blend leading to more clarity and focus when they’re at their desks.
Remember that corporate culture is a process. You’ll need to re-evaluate, keep an open dialogue with employees and invest along the way. But it’s an investment that will pay dividends in keeping top talent focused and engaged.
As part of that process, you’ll also have to incorporate a principle that’s gaining a lot of ground in recent years: gratitude. For employers, showing gratitude could mean anything from a simple “thank you” to introducing wellness benefits.
Gratitude also plays a big role in keeping your top customers coming back for more. Unfortunately, a lot of companies and marketers confuse gratitude with “rewards” like promotions, coupons and sweepstakes.
The truth is that lower prices and coupons may generate more transactions, but at the end of day, they do nothing for loyalty. Customers are tired of the strong-arm actions of companies who press hard to upsell them. Rarely do these upsells benefit customers, and they know it.
With more turbulence in the marketplace, the economy and politically, people want to feel connected, and that they matter. A company showing customers they are grateful for them creates an emotional connection you can’t discount with a coupon.
Make your internal brand, culture and loyalty a priority, and you’ll be amazed by how far it will drive your business growth. Learn more about branding from within and cultivating loyalty in work-place in Michele Bailey’s book, The Currency of Gratitude.