Connecting your brand and your culture as two sides of the same coin means that we are forging two powerful forces together as one. This symbiotic relationship is needed if we are to find strength and stability as we move forward out of one of the most turbulent times in recent years.
The brand is vertical with tiers of hierarchy and levels to give it the structure that is required to support its ever-reaching goals. It requires various levels of management, processes and procedures that allow it to function in an ever-changing and dynamic environment. As one of the two sides, it adds consistency and direction to the union and acts as a guide for the business and its people.
A culture is a culture no matter how you view it: dynamic, flat in structure and in constant flux. To function at its best all cultures require a basic value structure such as trust, respect, unity, support and commonality to name a few. However, in organisational culture, this is then made slightly more complex as the community is ask to also live the externally agree values of the brand. In some cases, this demand is on the company’s terms and does not consider the voice of the culture and how its people see the world.
As we move into a post pandemic era this voice has never been more important as organisations exam the impact that new ways of working and will have on the brand and the culture going forward.
5 tips to take forward into a post pandemic era: building your brand & culture
So – if we consider that brand and culture are two sides of the same coin then each must live in equal harmony with the other. How can we take opposing outward facing influences, and fuse them together to make one coin? I have looked to some of our recent clients for the answers and they have come up with these five top tips to ensure that brand and culture develop a mutual respect in our soon-to-be post pandemic time.
These core actions will allow for better real-time communication and will aim to keep the coin spinning. What these tips show is that whether it be pre or post pandemic the unity of brand and culture still remains a challenge and should be on the top of our radar.
1. Walk the shop floor: In a pre-pandemic world it was clear that management needed to get out of their offices more and spend more time engaging and talking to employees in their space. This was not not a formal meeting; it was an opportunity to informally chat about the business in real time. It was often recommended to spend a day in an employee’s life and have the management team venture out and pick up the tools of the trade and work alongside them. This concept remains the same and no matter the medium, be it face to face or virtual leaders must see the world through the eyes of their team. If your team is working virtual then find more creative solutions to make this happen.
2. Really listen to your people: If communication and active listening is key to our external customers’ experience, then it too must be the foundation of relationship building with our internal employees. By all means, continue with all the usual sources such as employee surveys, but be more creative and relevant with the questions that you ask. This needs to be complemented with live or virtual focus groups that allow opportunities for employees to give feedback and play a part in the solution-making process. The future of our employee wellness depends on their ability to share their vulnerability and concerns with peers and leaders alike.
3. Build an employee brand: During such turbulent times the culture needs to have structure and guidance to drive it forward. Create an internal brand that best reflects the employees as a personality and unites them as one team, one vision with one clear direction to the business. This need not be costly but can be creative, as this branded campaign will form the backdrop to all future development, internal communications and reflect the voice of the culture. It will become the bridge between the brand and culture, allowing the values of the brand to come alive in the actions of the culture. Reward and recognitions also needs to be prevalent to ensure that individuals see the success or their peers and self as a building block of the community.
4. Give power to your people: Give employees more responsibility for the development of the culture and how best they would like to communicate with each other. As hybrid working increases, leaders must endeavour to work with their teams on strategies to unit. Building a community of trust and openness will allow the culture to take on a supportive role and life of its own. Create a culture committee with representatives from all parts of the business to assist in focusing on team building initiatives. Give them the directive to ignite opportunities for employees to share time together; whether it be fun, educational, supportive or just free time. Ensure that the business supports this with allocated time and even put a small budget aside for them to access.
5. Create a brand story that gives rise to the culture: If the last two years has thought us anything it is that our people are more resilient than we could have imagined. Your people are the fabric of your post pandemic brand story and shine light on them. The brand journey must not only be understood by the people but also driven by them. Look at the story from both a historical and futuristic vantage point, pulling out great examples of how the people and the culture of the organisation have come together to overcome diversity and market challenges. Celebrate small stuff and let the team bask in the success of the big stuff.
Final thought: We can never go back, and this is your opportunity to redefine your USP
As a final thought, invest in including your people in the brand journey and make them an integral part of your USP and customer offering. Building great internal communities whether it be virtual or in person is a must and employee engagement is key to our new era success.
The brand comes with a promise and sets the expectations for those who engage with it; however, it is the people and culture that delivers on that promise. Their projected personality and the connection that they have to the brand, its values and the future vision will make all the difference as we move forward.
“Innovation’ is not just a value word – it is a spirit and driving force that fuses two opposing forces together – making them two sides of the same coin.”
As discussed above, it is essential to empower and engage to unleash the power of your people. This is one of the core strengths that Bridge brings to the table for its clients. Our work turns even the most resistant team members into brand advocates that propel your business forward.
The five Bridge values guide our team as individuals and Bridge as an agency. They are a testament to what makes our culture stand out – but we believe our values should be lived in all organisations.
Pushing creative boundaries, sharing knowledge openly, inspiring collaborative energy, celebrating uniqueness always and keeping it real and fun are the foundation stones for all successful businesses. At Bridge, interactions, relationships, work and projects are all driven by our values.
Our process starts by listening to the voice of your people and agreeing on a clear vision. Each step in our engagement path brings our clients closer to building a culture that creates memorable customer experiences. Are you all set to make things better?