The effect of business culture on branding

You attract what you reflect….

I am a strong believer that a business attracts what it reflects. With this in mind, there are a number of areas that businesses need to be strongly aware of before they start putting themselves forward in the marketplace. Before focusing on any marketing outputs, business leaders should review the core values of their business to identify their culture, and accordingly form their HR processes around it so it can be protected. Just on that point, a ‘Mission Statement’ does not form a culture; rather, it is a summary of management objectives to achieve goals, which is another important element in building a business / marketing plan.

So, getting back to culture: basically each business has three main human interest groups: clients, shareholders / business owners and staff. Each of these groups has its own values and the priority order of these values forms the important fundamentals of a business culture. As an example, an organisation whose culture runs with staff first, clients second and shareholders third as their priority order would generally generate a flat management structure. It would also provide a working environment that offers open communication amongst all employees to reflect an easygoing, fun culture. If this organisation’s product/services successfully reflect the culture generated from this order of values, then it will attract the appropriate target market. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? And actually it is. There is no wrong or right order to building an effective culture. Each order has its own pros and cons. The important point is for leadership teams to acknowledge and accept the order of their own people values and reflect it in their branding strategy. Understanding this step is absolutely vital in growing and protecting business market share. The alternative option is to not accept the culture, and therefore attempt to change it, which is an extremely challenging and expensive exercise. The word ‘attempt’ is important, as in most cases the culture has originated from the business owners/leaders and that’s yet another whole can of worms!

In summary, marketing outputs, branding, office layout, management and staff work ethics, among many other factors, all contribute in a major way to the reflection of a business culture. Synergy amongst all these factors is essential. With synergy, any business can successfully humanise their brand and take it on to be much more effective in major platforms such as social media. Know your own business culture and you will immediately know your target market.

Dom Ogun
Head of Strategy