Your brand is the whole package. Or is it? We talk a lot about brand alignment on The Branding Spot blog. A great brand must be consistent across the board to be unique, memorable, and thus: effective. This means your website, your marketing collateral, your logo, your brand colors—everything that says HEY! This is my company! needs to be uniform to get the full effect. Heck, at Spot-On Branding, we even offer our popular Brand Alignment Package to help business owners create a consistent look, feel and flow to their brand online and off.
But what about your company culture? Does your company culture actively represent your brand personality, inside and out? Not sure? Here are some areas to focus on:
Your Team Members
Aside from providing excellent customer service (which can truly make or break a brand), is your team actively representing your brand every day, in everything they say and do?
If your business strives for a professional by-the-numbers appearance (let’s say you’re an accounting firm) and your logo, colors, look and feel illustrate these themes, be sure that attitude extends into your each of your team member’s attitudes. Each of your employees should have a standard, professional phone greeting and voicemail, and a standard, professional email signature. When it comes to their company’s financial future, your client is going to want that consistent reassurance that their money is in good hands.
Whatever your industry, your company handbook should outline how your team members are expected to interact with your customers. This might include always mentioning signature services under their full trademarked name, or, for example, always listing three amenities when a potential customer calls to book a stay at your hotel.
Your Office or Store
When a client, customer, or potential customer enters your office or brick-and-mortar shop, are they greeted with an atmosphere in line with your branding? Let’s say you run a surf shop. You want to be sure your brand extends to your store, creating a fun-in-the-sun feeling with every customer, even if they’re just browsing. If your shop prides itself on custom-made surfboards, be sure your shop environment offers potential buyers every opportunity to ask for more information about your sweet custom boards.
Same goes when it comes to your office. If you’re a marketing agency with a brand known for creativity, quirky ideas, and down-to-business fun, by all means: show your style! Be imaginative and offer interactive samples your office visitors can play with. The idea is to extend your brand into everything you do and everything you are. Make that emotional connection. If your atmosphere is too stuffy or outdated, it’s time to invest in some revamped interior design. It’s worth it!
If your company engages subcontractors to outsource work, be sure those subcontractors are provided with guidelines on how to appropriately and professionally interact with your clients as an extension of your brand. After all, you’re paying them to provide your clients with work that holds up to the standards of your brand. One poor interaction between a subcontractor and a client can really blow the deal and destroy that brand trust you worked so hard to cultivate.
If you’re unhappy or uncertain about how a particular subcontractor is interacting with a client: first, be sure you’ve set clear expectations. Second, offer a polite warning if a particular interaction goes bad. Last, and most importantly, if you’re no longer comfortable with how that subcontractor is representing your brand, it’s time to hire a new, more professional company. It’s your business and you work hard—protect your brand’s value!
The language and imagery you use in your company blog should be a clear extension of your brand messaging, logo, colors and imagery. Each blog post is an opportunity to build your brand, so don’t lose sight of your blog’s purpose. A lot of companies today outsource their blogs to their internal team members, or even to blog ghostwriters—and that’s a great idea, BUT, be sure whoever is writing your blog understands your industry, your brand, and your blog expectations and goals. Writing content just to have content is a BAD strategy.
So how does your company culture measure up? Is your company culture truly an extension of your brand personality? The more consistent you are with your brand components across the board, including within your company culture, the more likely you’ll be to create opportunities for positive brand interactions and keep your brand and your company growing and successful each and every day!