Whether you realize it or not, we are at a crucial point in the marketing and advertising industry. This industry is (and always has been) at the point where information, entertainment, politics, technology, society and culture are converging. The last four items listed have become more common since the turn of the century. The by-products of this have influenced the way we operate as marketers and advertisers, as well as the ability of companies to maximize sales. Many business owners don’t know where to start and feel overwhelmed when they think about finding out for themselves. So I’m marking my return, inspired by an upcoming session at the Seattle Interactive Conference, fully armed with the answer: It all starts with Culture.
The word CultureWhen used in our industry it is very similar to the word brand. Both words are often used interchangeably with terms that are actually components that partially define each concept (i.e. Logo vs. brand or Customs versus culture). This type of abuse makes it difficult to do the best for your business when it comes to creating the best connections with your customers through clarity and effective communication. Since the controllable detail within communication is internal, this is as good a starting point as any other.
One of the first indications of corporate culture is that of Comfort or Convenience. Many companies – from startups to large conglomerates – offer their employees amenities to make an employee’s working day easier. These work amenities include snacks or meals, liquor and beer, fitness facilities, and of course distractions like ping pong, foosball, or console games. Please note: I’m not here for the smear of the amenities. I see each and every one of these improvements as wonderful and even functional additions to any workplace.
However, the problem that can arise occurs when the prospects stop at this stage. If companies describe the spread of these bells and whistles as corporate culture alone, the change in work quality is ultimately marginal. True culture in a business sense is more than just comfort or convenience. In order to address culture as a way to improve your business, it is best to address all aspects both individually and collectively. Identifying ways to improve internal corporate culture is beneficial to all businesses. However, this is just a brand improvement method. Comfort and convenience are good pillars on which to build your company’s culture. Next week I’m going to introduce another principle of culture that will help improve your business and your brand.