At Madison, we’ve been discussing the interrelated connection between a company’s culture, its brand and the impact both can have within the marketplace for some time now. But a new book by author Denise Lee Yohn goes even further.
In the book, "Fusion: How Integrating Brand and Culture Powers the World’s Greatest Companies," Denise outlines why cultural forces and brand attributes must be closely aligned if either is to have any real meaning or impact. It states that when both are driven by the same purpose (not to mention the same principles) culture and brand become “a single guiding force for the company; one that fuels growth and future-proofs the business.” The book encourages business to “deliberately cultivate their culture and build their brand from the same foundation,” an overarching purpose and a single set of core values. She argues that, when everyone is operating from a common position, the clarity and alignment that follows positively impacts the customer’s experience.
I couldn’t agree more. When employees understand what’s expected of them and are applauded for behaving in a manner that supports the organization’s mission and culture, good things are bound to follow. In fact, employee–brand alignment increases customer-loyalty and positions the company for sustained growth.
There are real implications to the business here, both positive and potentially negative that must be addressed. When employees don’t feel connected to the brand, they are more likely to undermine the expectations set by your marketing department. In some cases, brand alignment falters because employees don’t understand what you have promised consumers, or their role in delivering it. Worse, they may not actually believe in the brand. They don’t see themselves as part of it or they feel that too many employees operate in a manner that’s contrary to its spirit. That disconnect discourages them; make them disengaged, or worse, hostile toward the company.
Clarity, purpose and alignment are common byproducts of timely and consistent recognition. Social recognition, in particular, helps to create more fusion between the company’s brand, its culture and the employees that make up both. Here’s how:
1 | By creating advocates for the brand and constituents for the culture
A brand’s promise (its credibility if you will) is linked to the actions and attitudes of its employees. Social recognition reinforces the commitment they have for the company’s reputation, while strengthening its integrity in the eyes of customers.
Maestro helps organizations translate the brand’s promise into behaviors that employees can understand, relate to and put into action. The social construct of recognition encourages all employees to play an active role in recognizing one another, as they promote the brand’s spirit through their actions with colleagues or customers.
2 | By illustrating the brand in action
Only 4 out of every 10 employees have a clear sense of what their company’s mission is all about. How can they possibly embrace its big picture, let alone relate it to what they do every day?
Through program communications and goal setting (that’s both targeted and relevant) our platform bridges any divide. Maestro helps employees understand their roles in delivering the brand’s promise. With our system for social recognition, managers and employees alike can send or receive acknowledgements when someone’s work reflects both the company’s purpose and its values.
The ample exchanges within social recognition create actionable examples of the “brand in action.” It fuses culture, brand, customer expectations and employee behavior together.