Culture Meets Brand: The Winning Formula for Business Success

Culture Meets Brand: The Winning Formula for Business Success

Culture Meets Brand: The Winning Formula for Business Success

In the business world, culture isn’t just about fun office decorations or fancy coffee machines; it’s the heartbeat that pumps life into your brand. To truly make an impact, aligning your brand with your company culture is paramount. 

The benefits of having a strong culture are numerous. First, a strong culture acts as a guiding force, providing a shared sense of purpose and values that aligns employees toward a common goal. This fosters a sense of belonging and commitment, leading to higher employee engagement and satisfaction. When employees feel connected, they are more likely to go the extra mile, collaborate effectively, and take ownership of their work, resulting in increased productivity and performance.

A strong culture also enhances the customer experience. When employees embody the company’s values and are aligned with its brand promise, they are more likely to deliver exceptional customer service consistently. Customers can sense the authenticity and passion in interactions with employees, building trust and fostering long-term loyalty. A strong culture creates a positive reputation for the company, enhancing its brand equity and differentiation in the marketplace.

On the other hand, the challenges of not having a strong culture can be detrimental to a company. A lack of a strong culture can result in a fragmented and disconnected workforce, where employees lack a clear sense of purpose and direction. This can lead to decreased motivation, morale, and productivity. Without a unifying culture, employees may struggle to collaborate effectively, hindering innovation and hindering the company’s ability to adapt to changing market conditions.

Additionally, a weak or toxic culture can result in high employee turnover and difficulty in attracting top talent. Employees are more likely to seek opportunities elsewhere if they do not feel valued, engaged, or aligned with the company’s culture. This turnover disrupts team dynamics and knowledge transfer, impacting overall profitability and stability.

here’s how to get started

Define your culture: Before you can align your brand with your culture, you need to define what your culture truly is. Take a deep dive into your company’s DNA, uncovering the values, beliefs, and quirks that make your team unique. Embrace those quirks, for they are the secret sauce that adds flavor to your brand.

Craft Your Brand Identity: With your cultural compass in hand, it’s time to craft a brand identity that reflects your company culture. From your logo and visuals to your messaging and tone of voice, infuse your brand with the essence of your team. Let your brand speak the same language as your culture – be it witty, quirky, or boldly innovative.

Walk the Talk: Alignment isn’t just about looks; it’s about substance. Ensure your brand strategy aligns with the actions and behaviors of your executives and managers. A culture of transparency and collaboration should be reflected in your brand’s customer interactions, internal processes, and even in the way you handle challenges. Authenticity is the key to gaining trust and loyalty.

Enforce Teamwork: Bringing your brand and culture together requires a collaborative effort. Involve your team in the process, encouraging them to contribute their unique perspectives and ideas. Nurture a culture where everyone feels valued and empowered to live and breathe the brand. Remember, a united team can move mountains and leave an indelible mark on the world.

When your brand strategy resonates with your company culture, it becomes more than just a logo or a tagline – it becomes a living, breathing embodiment of who you are. So, lace up, embrace your culture, and unleash your brand’s potential.

Build consumer trust with strategic brand development

Build consumer trust with strategic brand development

Build Consumer Trust with Strategic Brand Development


81% of consumers need to trust a brand before they buy from it. Let that sink in. That’s four out of five opportunities walking away if they simply don’t trust you – that means your differentiation, quality, pricing, service and so much not only need to hit the mark but also need to be communicated in a way that does so.

This is the world of brand, friends. It’s where your reputation trumps all. But good news: there is a path to success here and we like to call it strategic brand development. Two things to note, though. First, it is a forever commitment and second, it’s not easy.

Do you have trust issues with your brand?

We’ve established the trust criteria for consumers to purchase. But what about when they are already a customer? Reports cite that only 31% of consumers actually trust the brands they use. This matters greatly because it leaves a huge vulnerability for another brand to take your place and we stand by the fact that it is cheaper to keep customers than to attract new ones. So where are some areas you can look to see if you have trust issues?

Consistent messaging

It is easy to have messaging evolve over time and it is easy for it to get splintered and diluted over time. This can happen even if there are only a few people who are hands-on if careful attention is not paid. As messaging appears in highly visible places online, make sure what is being communicated with stakeholders in business conversations, customers in support calls, and your intended audience at tradeshows is also in line. Inconsistency can lose consumers before you even know their potential interest. Are you consistent more often than not? Give yourself a pat on the back! While this is an anecdotal measurement, it’s an important one as a leading indicator.

Online sentiment and net promoter scores (NPS)

To get more quantified in how things are going, evaluate your brands online sentiment and NPS. Both of these measurements do take a process to get going but they will give you a steady pulse in a measurable way on opinion, which is an indicator of trust. Additionally, while they both are measures of opinion and thus grouped here, they are different in many ways and one should not replace the other.

Conversion rates

Looking at conversion rates will hone in more on the lead generation and sales development aspect of trust. There was enough trust to potentially share an email address but is there enough trust for a phone call? A demo? What are the comments coming out of those conversations? This assessment can yield quantitative and qualitative insights that can be cross-referenced with the previous two types of activities suggested.

Customer attrition

Seeing customers go for preventable reasons makes us sad. It’s terrible for a brand and should not by any means be ignored or hidden from the team. These are opportunities to find out where the weak areas are in the brand and address them immediately. Not only with fixes but with proactive measures with other customers. No matter where in the customer journey attrition is happening, it indicates that there is a break in expectations and reality. It could be how the product works, how pricing compares to value, or even the amount of attention they wanted versus are receiving. It could be a communications and/or operational issue but both will break trust if not addressed.

A brand strategy that can make it through tough times

While trust isn’t built overnight, doing it right and maintaining it over the long term might help it from not being broken overnight. True story. We had a client that took their brand trust to heart for decades. The leadership knew what the company stood for and the employees were clear on how to operationalize it. Customers could feel it; exchanges were familial and NPS was incredibly high.

Then one day the inevitable came for a tech company and an incident disrupted service. The team immediately jumped on it but, in short, it was a multiple day disruption and a big deal to customers. Throughout the incident, leadership clearly and calmly communicated with customers, taking ownership of the situation in full.

Thanks not only to the professionalism and transparency in the moment but the years of investing in building the brand, customers literally reached out to say thank you and that trust wasn’t broken. Not a single customer left because of the incident. An absolutely priceless reward.

Two areas to research to support your brand development

It’s possible to appeal to the 81% of consumers that need to have trust before purchasing. It’s imperative to build the number of current customers that have trust above 31%. This can absolutely be done with a strategic brand strategy.

To get started today, take an inventory of the data points you have available to you. Are there processes you need to get in place to have better visibility on quantitative information? Secondly, survey your customer-facing teams to learn the themes they are hearing in conversations.

What do consumers and customers love about the brand?

What are they surprised by?

What aren’t they asking about?

And what bothers them?

A simple tally of recurring comments will give you a starting point for more research. Once these things are identified, you can revisit your marketing and branding fundamentals and see where updates are made. And, of course, work with your operations teams to ensure items are being addressed on their end(s) because they are a vital part of a healthy, trustworthy brand!

Targeted strategy. Unleashed creativity.

Whether you need to work on brand development or you realize you need to reset the entire brand strategy, you are not on your own. We’d love to hear from you about what you have learned in your preliminary assessment as we can help you get to the next step with additional analysis, facilitation, a partner in your strategy, and even implementation. Contact us today by phone or email.

If you are ready to discuss what rebranding could look like for your business, we would be happy to offer you a free consultation.  You can learn what the project could look like, how long it will take, and what research will be done.

Your cool logo is just the tip of your brand development iceberg

Your cool logo is just the tip of your brand development iceberg

Your Cool Logo Is Just The Tip of Your Brand Development Iceberg

Are we going to dive into a comparison with icebergs? Yes, we are. While you see the analogy used to describe many situations of depth, the same applies to brand development. The brand’s logo, the identity, and the flashy video; are fun and immediately gratifying. But if they don’t have the depth – the big, less-seen part of a brand development iceberg – they don’t have the staying power.

Here is an example for consideration before going further. Imagine your brand identity projects you as modern and friendly. Yet when your customers ask for help, they are met with curt responses and directed to an archaic self-help section. That creates a huge gap in the customer’s expectations and experiences. Not only does it wear down trust, but it starts to reveal what the company really offers in terms of service and product quality. Your brand development is incomplete; it’s superficial.

Marketing doesn’t “own” customer service or product design and engineering. We get it. But marketing very much does have a vested interest in how these are going because marketing has to champion the health of the brand. Demand a full iceberg! And collaborate cross-departmentally to get there.

A brand logo is the tip of the iceberg

If you speak branding and marketing, you’ll know that a logo is not the only thing that comprises identity. Many visuals collectively do. So that we’re on the same page, let’s go over it briefly. Identify all the things that craft a visual in a customer’s mind. That could be logos, color palettes, styling, and key phrases. All these things can be used in combination on many different marketing channels such as a website, social media, and one-pagers.

Why does identity matter? Without it (and its repeated use) a customer can’t identify the company easily. Identity certainly has its place! And, without a doubt, it takes continued work. It has to be clear, credible, consistent, and competitive without fail…and without overpromising what the customer will get or trust will waver. No matter the buying decision trends of the day, trust is an important ingredient you don’t want to take for granted. Further, brand identity doesn’t comprise all that needs to be part of brand development.

Customers care less about a brand logo and more about quality

According to the 2022 CMO Survey, 36% of survey participants indicated that product quality and service were top-ranking concerns of their customers. This was a shift from the years that we were under pandemic stresses when people were deciding more on trust. As the world has reopened, customers do want the best product quality and service. How does your brand reflect that? Certainly not in a brand logo alone.

We have seen organizations with a modernized brand logo and consistent external messaging that got their stakeholders excited. From the outside, it seemed like the brand was ready to take off; the team couldn’t imagine anyone not wanting to work with them. What was not easily seen was the business being done behind doors that violated the brand promise. Spoiler alert, the brand is what people say when you aren’t in the room. People were not saying good things and ultimately a sense of distrust among stakeholders formed. This could have been prevented if the brand were operationalized; if the brand promise and values were part of every team member’s actions.

Fortunately, there are also examples of when operationalizing a brand was prioritized over identity. In this case, our client was in a position where they could change little about appearance but wanted to change everything about transparency and connecting with their audience. Through public relations campaigns, informative content consistently communicated, and not hiding when times were tough, the organization became known for their quality. They were also successful in reaching their goal, which was to increase community engagement and education in measurable ways.

Operationalize your brand development and take charge of your iceberg

Not long ago we were able to help a client with making sure the tip of their iceberg matched everything they had below the surface. They had value, quality, and service in place and just needed the visuals to convey that to their customers.

The important clarification here is that the client had the most important elements in place. We believe any company moving forward with visual work and marketing without a strong base would risk financial implications not only in wasted marketing spend but also over the long term. The identity must be aligned with the strategy direction. And the positioning, reputation, and business performance must be telling a supporting story in real-time. That’s true and dynamic brand development.

Consider what goes into your iceberg today. Think about your strategic direction, positioning, reputation, performance, and more. If you turn your iceberg upside down and create a funnel, does it align with how you identify yourself externally? If yes, is there something you are ready to modernize? If not, what gaps need to be promptly addressed through thoughtful brand development?

Targeted Strategy. Unleashed Creativity.

When the highly visual materials get published, it gets people pumped up. Keeping the brand operationalized less so because it’s behind the scenes, and so it can end up getting less and less attention. We get it, and we can be your sounding board on what gaps in brand development you might be experiencing. We can even aid in additional analysis, facilitation, a partner in your strategy, and even implementation to make your brand iceberg the coolest possible. Contact us today by phone or email, and we’ll do our best to chill on the puns.

If you are ready to discuss what rebranding could look like for your business, we would be happy to offer you a free consultation.  You can learn what the project could look like, how long it will take, and what research will be done.

Typical marketing mistakes business owners make

Typical marketing mistakes business owners make

Typical Marketing Mistakes Business Owners Make

You’re not using your marketing and branding fundamentals to save  you time and headaches

Regardless of having a small, tight-knit team or a large, extended team, it can get to a point where it feels like opinions are bringing marketing and branding work to a halt. This might look like conflicting feedback, endless rounds of revisions, or diluted messaging. With some fundamentals in place, your next marketing campaign can roll out smoothly with quicker buy-in, more confidence, and clearer results.

Marketing and branding fundamentals are your best friends

Think of it as mise en place, which is French for “putting in place” in the context of preparing to cook. It’s no fun getting halfway through a recipe just to find out you don’t have an ingredient on hand. Nor is it fun to get mid-way through a campaign just to start hitting a wall. According to a project management stat, 70% of projects fail. Ouch! But we know you can vastly improve those odds with the following fundamentals in place.

Audience description and personas

Know who you are marketing to and know them well. Make sure the team at large knows them! It should be no surprise to anyone what’s important to them, how they talk, and what their decision-making habits are. You’ll take a load of mystery out of your work with this piece.

Product/service description and differentiator

What you are selling should clearly solve a problem for your audience and it should be communicated clearly, concisely, and consistently. Have set language for this and you won’t lead anyone astray.

Brand guide

Never argue about a font, tone, or style again. Lock in it to a brand guideline and you’ll find that the boundaries you set will actually give you a bit of freedom (and a lot less explaining over and over).

Key performance indicators (KPI)

Know what your team is working toward and the progress each month. Do not let this fall to the side or be left a mystery. You’ll only ever know if your marketing and branding efforts are working if you have KPIs. And, further, you’ll best prioritize your incoming requests if you know how they will or will not help you hit set KPIs.

Brand strategy and marketing roadmap

Remember that a brand is built every day with every action. Ensure that you are supporting a healthy brand from the marketing point of view with a roadmap that shows channels, themes, and activities.

Content calendar

On a more granular level, be able to present and socialize the content calendar. Content shouldn’t be developed or published in a vacuum. Capture the voice of your organization (after all, it is the bloodline of your brand!), promote your knowledge, and give value to your audience. Last but not least, know and track your KPIs because if you are not tracking, it’s not getting you to your goals. If you have a content calendar before you have the above items in place, you’re not going to be effective with your efforts.

Creative brief

Secure the concept and messaging of your marketing campaign with stakeholders before digging with a creative brief. You’ll get consensus on the goal and objectives, budget, timeline, evaluation metrics and, of course, the creative approach. This should be part of the project’s process every time. No only is it helpful to have going in, but it also serves as a place to record outcomes and have a great record for you to refer back to.

Seamless marketing campaigns, one after another

When you have your marketing and branding fundamentals in place, you’ll find that the framework you work within will eliminate hours of unnecessary work with each marketing campaign that you do. You’ll switch your focus to creating consistency in getting the word out and doing so in a memorable, effective way. You’ll get the collaboration of co-workers more easily. You’ll onboard new teammates with a shorter learning curve. Your budget will thank you.

We watched a client go through this process over the course of a year. The tipping point was producing a sales video that never got used. It was an unfortunate use of time and resources (though very clever!) because when it came down to it, the marketing team did not have alignment with the product team on descriptions and differentiators. That left the video setting up customers with the wrong expectations. The mistake was not repeated, however, as the teams settled on product messaging together. Then when the project of sales sheets came around several months later, the development was done with confidence and efficiency.

As you can see, the reward for the effort of getting fundamentals in place is great, but you may be asking how to get those things in place while still managing the day-to-day. They certainly don’t come together easily.

Outsourced marketing isn’t the answer to good fundamentals

The first thing to do is take a few hours and honestly inventory what you have. Think about how well it is working for you and don’t hesitate to get feedback from others that tend to chime in on your work. How should you decipher your notes? We like to say “if it’s not a ‘heck yes’ it’s a no.” If it hasn’t been working for you now, pausing one day to look at it isn’t going to change anything.

Secondly, you’ll need to have an honest conversation around how to fill in the gaps when it comes to marketing fundamentals. You will need to have more than just yourself on board. Be prepared to advocate for constructive feedback, a change in priorities to open up time to work on the fundamental pieces, or the budget to bring in help to get them done while you continue managing the day to day. One thing is to be sure, getting the fundamental pieces right cannot be done without input regardless of who builds them. Consider this as you are building a timeline to get them in place.

Maybe you were caught off guard when we said outsourced marketing isn’t the answer to good fundamentals. We stand by that. Having good input, strategy, and decisions is the answer. Outsourced marketing help cannot make decisions on behalf of you and your leadership team in this area. But we can be your trusted, thinking partners in the process.

Targeted strategy. Unleashed creativity.

Don’t waste any more hours, budget, or creative energy. We’d love to hear about what fundamentals you think are missing or not serving you. And if you have them but aren’t sure you are using them as intended, we can talk about that, too. Contact us today by phone or email.

Do your employees care about your brand?

Do your employees care about your brand?

Do Your Employees Care About Your Brand?

You almost always hear about brand or branding in relation to your identity or attracting customers and almost never in relation to employees.

This is a tragic mistake. Why? Because your employees not only work for you but they live out your brand. They are the hands and feet of your brand to customers and the community. In certain market segments, they are the face of your brand.

 Brand is all about perception. How do people perceive your brand? What is your reputation on the street? How do people think of you? This matters more than organizations realize according to recent surveys.

69% of candidates would reject an offer from a company with a bad employer brand, even if they were unemployed

Source: Employment Cost of a Bad Reputation Survey A Study by Corporate Responsibility Magazine

95% of candidates identify a company’s reputation as a key consideration when exploring new career opportunities

Source: Why Online Reviews Matter for Employer Brand: Evidence from Glassdoor.

Only 49% of employees would recommend their employer to a friend

Source: Glassdoor

Do people even know your company exists? Are you known as a great place to work? Or do you have a reputation as a bad place to work?

When owners and executives are struggling to find the right employees, fill key positions, and retain their current employees it increases the stress and frustration of the entire company. It’s a vicious cycle that leads to employee burnout or at the very least employees checking out.

There is something you can do to improve your employer brand, attract more employees, and retain more of the valuable employees you currently have. We’ve launched Build Your Employer Brand – a program designed to bring an outside perspective to your unique situation and provide solutions to your biggest challenges with building a positive corporate culture.

With Build Your Employer Brand, you get access to HR and Brand Specialists who will assess your situation, identify the root of your challenges, and implement creative solutions.

With the right consultation and creative deliverables your organization can be better positioned to be a cool place to work. It takes time, but you can build a culture that attracts and retains employees with employer branding strategies.

This is critical today, more than ever before, because of the changes in the job market that were accelerated due to the COVID pandemic. Glassdoor reports that 92% of employees would consider changing jobs with no salary increase if the opportunity was with a company that had an excellent reputation. Furthermore, up to 86% of job seekers say they would not consider working for a company with bad social standing.

Since your employer brand is your reputation among future and current employees, developing a strategy to influence their perception. By changing your branding you can positively impact your employer reputation and create employees who are ambassadors for your organization.

The best thing about having employees who love your brand is that they are going to be enthusiastic to tell their friends, family, and associates about how great it is to work at your company. What better marketing or advertising can you have than people in the community talking about how great you are?

Is it time to invest in your employer brand? Are you interested in learning more? Visit or contact us today.