Companies use marketing to attract new customers, retain current customers and to study what works and what doesn’t. There seems to be a new marketing strategy popping up: the idea that a business needs to market themselves and their company culture.
Company culture, as defined by Andrew Hartley, director of alternative board at Bradford West, is “…not just your personal values and the values of those around you at work. It’s how those values interact with the challenges and experience of your market, the values and pressures added by your customers and suppliers and other stakeholders. This highly complex mix is your company’s culture.”
Others, including Casey Lakey, general manager at Trainers Club, a gym and wellness center, defined company culture as “…the translation of the business owner’s vision and values.”
Now that we’ve defined what company culture is, we need to understand why it is important to communicate your company’s culture to the outside world.
Company culture as a tool
As author Simon Sinek says, “Customers don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” The idea behind this is that customers choose your business over another if it fits their views or interests.
Experts say today, more customers are deciding against making purchases with companies they do not trust, no matter how excellent the marketing for the actual product is. In a survey of 80 leaders conducted by executive tech firm Egon Zehnder, 95 percent of the leaders believed a company’s culture affects customer decisions. Sixty percent of those surveyed said they think their business culture supports their company’s brand.
Several survey respondents also said they believed chief marketing officers need to have more of a role in communicating company culture to the public.
Using company culture as a tool starts with creating a great company culture for both mid-level managers and senior executives. When employees are happy, customers feed off that and are more likely to make a purchase.
How to communicate company culture
From creating an excellent company culture from the lowest-paid employee to the highest, you then have to figure out how to communicate that positive culture to the outside world. To do this, you must ensure your company has a very clear message. Once the message is established, it is crucial that every employee understands and works toward enforcing the message or mission.
Writer Jacob Morgan defined company culture by giving an example of two previous jobs. He said he worked at a zoo that gave employees a purpose by explaining the company’s message and allowing the employees to have a role in contributing to the mission of the company. He also worked at a movie theater that did not give its employees a purpose — they just came into work to earn a paycheck, and left at the end of their shift.
Morgan also recommended businesses should often tell their employees about the role they have in the community and in making people’s lives better.
Another way marketers can communicate the company’s culture to their customers is through public stories that explain the purpose of the company and what positive impacts it has on the community.
One way of creating that communication is through social media. Marketers could potentially post interviews with each employee on their experiences working for the company, what they enjoy about it and how their work benefits them and others. We’ll discuss some companies using social media to their advantage below.
Companies using social media well
Many brands are using social media, specifically Instagram, to showcase and communicate to the public about what their company is about and how positive their company culture is. Why is communication important? A positive company culture gives them a competitive advantage. In Deloitte’s 2016 Global Human Capital Trends survey, they found 82 percent of those who responded believe culture is a potential competitive advantage.
One company using Instagram well to communicate their culture is Hootsuite, a social media dashboard, which uses its Instagram account to give a “look inside” the company. The company uses a hashtag to share images of its employees having fun in meetings and group events.
Another company using it well is eBay News. The newsroom uses its Instagram account to share company news, tech and company culture. They document their employees going to volunteer events or company social events. These photos allow customers to see how their employees are dedicated to upholding the company’s mission.
Is culture a huge part of your company? Then don’t be afraid to show it off. Not only will current employees feel more connected to the company but potential customers will enjoy the inside look into who they’re doing business with.
Keep in Touch
Want fresh perspective on communications trends & strategy? Sign up for the SHIFT/ahead newsletter.