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Let your company culture strengthen your marketing

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Years ago, many office cultures lived in a maze of gray cubicles. There was no music, no games and no play of any kind.

That’s in stark contrast to many company cultures of today. Some office environments in Eastern Iowa have slides, mini-golf, beanbag chairs, couches and even a bar.

Those businesses believe that environment helps them serve their clients better because it helps employees break through dull, linear blocks to think more creatively and holistically.

There are lots of studies that say a positive company culture can be a competitive advantage. Take the Deloitte 2016 Global Human Capital Trends survey, for example.

In it, 82 percent of those who responded believe culture is a potential competitive advantage.

So what is “culture” and why is it so important? Deloitte Insights explains that culture is a system of values, beliefs and behaviors that shape how work gets done at an organization.

“Engagement,” by contrast, describes how people feel about the way things work in their workplace and how committed they are to it.

That could involve meaningful work and jobs, management practices and behaviors, the work environment, opportunities for personal development and trust in leadership.

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According to Deloitte Insights and other studies, when engagement is poor, employees feel uneasy or uncommitted, which can lead to high turnover and low levels of innovation and customer service.

When the culture is positive and a good fit for the employee, it can help strengthen the company by prompting a high level of engagement. That strengthens business.

So how does culture affect marketing?

Let’s be honest — companies no longer have exclusive control over their brand image. Social media is quick to judge actions and outcomes.

And many consumers want to know what a company stands for before supporting it. A strong company culture centered on employees, innovation and community philanthropy will be better supported by consumers than a self-centered, corporate-focused environment.

Here are a few ways you can use your company culture to strengthen your marketing.

• Make your values known externally. This will help your prospects get a feel for what you stand for.

As Simon Sinek, author of “Start With Why,” among other motivational books, says, “Customers don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” If your views, values and interests match your customers, they will choose you over your competitor.

• Use social media well. Many brands are using Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn to communicate about their culture and company values. Hashtag your images to share what life is like at your workplace and the engagement you have with volunteer events in your community.

• Find a way to over deliver and delight. Define customer service with a “yes, we can do that” attitude in every process and business decision.

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When people talk about you and recommend you to others because of your service, it’s a great demonstration of your culture.

Culture should be a huge part of your company. If your culture isn’t so great, then take action to fix it.

And if you already have a great culture, don’t be afraid to show it.

Employees will feel more connected and your prospects and customers will enjoy the inside look at who they’re doing business with and may even choose you because of it.

• Tracy Pratt is a product manager and lead marketing strategist at Fusionfarm, a division of Folience, The Gazette’s parent company; (319) 398-8343; tracy@fusionfarm.com.

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We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

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