Why Culture is Marketing (and King)
Company Culture is everything, you might be asking why I’m talking about Company Culture on a Marketing Blog. Let me explain, every way that you present yourself to your customers is marketing. The way your employees talk about their boss over Friday night drinks to their friends. Marketing. The way the receptionist answers the phone. Marketing. How problems are solved. Marketing. How you respond to emails. Marketing. Any time you are interacting with your clients. Marketing. Now your marketing department is not going to have control over how your employees talk about you over Friday night drinks, but if you develop the right culture where your employees love your company – you now have control.
Your employees are your business. They are what your customers see, and who they interact with on a day to day basis; the only way to control (and I use that term lightly) how they react in situations is to make sure the company culture enforces that.
It starts at the top and at the beginning. How you respond to clients as a one-man band, and how you deal with problems as a small firm will eventually build the company culture, and if you aren’t careful – it will develop without intention. They will copy and embrace how other around them act.
Culture needs to fit with your business, you can’t just install a pool table and be the cool kids if that doesn’t work with your industy, nor can you start sending gift cards and quirky emails to all your best clients if that doesn’t fit either. You need to carefully consider the culture you present to the people. Perhaps your company culture is to go above and beyond to solve problems, or you invite clients for client meetings over fresh juice and raw vegan cheesecake, or you send thank you notes and flowers randomly, or you simply keep track of personal details and stay in touch with clients on a personal basis – whatever aspects you employ. Your company culture could be that you 110% professional, and on time, and reply to emails and calls within the hour… Whatever it is, make sure it fits!
I often hear that ‘culture’ doesn’t have a measurable ROI, you can’t track the results, you can’t see the profits change – and that is scary for so many people that have Marketing defined as a science. It isn’t an exact science, never has been, never will – But you also can’t track customer service, or what happens when your employees are having a bad day, or the downside spiral of sales when the air conditioner breaks… there are so many factors that are not measurable. Don’t rule something out just because you can’t analyse every aspect of it.
There are companies with terrible company culture that succeed, there are also con artist that make millions, I like to believe that people want to succeed and they want to do it in the right way (I could be living in a fairytale world, but I’m quite happy here) there is the opportunity for great success. Businesses like Google thrive on their company culture, boutique businesses with their fun, quirky staff become empires and a large part of that is due to having a great company culture, and firms with exceptional professionalism also excel.
Now changing company culture once you’re established isn’t easy, mega corporations spend thousands trying to change their company culture, and it takes months of change. But if you can get it right from the start you’ll be far better off, but it is never too late. Start making the changes yourself, and watch those around you follow. Changing company culture is an industry within itself.
What culture suits you? And what culture is going to make the biggest improvement for your business? That is something you need to figure out, or shoot me an email and we can chat about it.
One aspect that I think applies to everyone is a culture of customer service, as Gary Vaynerchuk says in his book, The Thank You Economy, “Solve problems as if you were going to have dinner with that person and their family tonight.” It will totally change your view on customer service, and you’ll become a business people look forward to working with.