Imagine trying to cool your house in the middle of a tropical heat wave when you’ve left all the windows and door wide open. That’s brand management in many companies. Companies spend big dollars on research, marketing, and promotions to attract customers. But poor service experiences don’t match the brand promise. So customers drift away while marketing spends more money to attract more customers.
Brand management is an inside job. Disengaged servers don’t produce engaged customers. External brand management is multiplied or minimized by workplace culture. That culture ripples out from the leaders. They brand themselves and the workplace.
Leadership brand is built on a foundation of reciprocal trust. Twenty years of research by Great Places to Work found that “employees who trust their managers give their best work freely, and that extra effort goes directly to the company’s bottom line. Managers who trust their employees allow innovative ideas to bubble up from all levels of the company…together people working in high trust environments deliver far more value.” Russell Investment Group tracked the annualized stock returns of those high-trust cultures claiming: “Those companies performed more than three times better than the general market.”
Building a high trust, high energy, and higher performing culture has many moving parts. It can get pretty complex, but a few keys do stand out:
- Internal culture and leadership brand must be in alignment with the external brand — despite how marketing might try to position the company.
- An unfiltered feedback system keeps leaders from confusing their desired culture with their actual culture.
- Three to four core values are the bedrock of culture. These must be central to hiring, promotions, performance management, succession planning, HR systems, recognition, and mergers/acquisitions, to transform values from rhetoric to reality.
- It’s a virtuous circle — better leaders make better cultures and better cultures make better leaders. The opposite — vicious circle — is also true.
- Most companies with enduring greatness have a culture of both purposeful profits and profitable purpose.
- Most organizations believe they have communication problems. What they really have are leadership problems. Team members see the messages loud and clear.
Imagine your high-performance workplace with a powerful, high-trust culture aligned with brand management. “Imagine Your Workplace” is a conference set for June 5 – 6, 2019 at the Toronto Botanical Gardens. Culture and strengths-based management is one of four tracks available at this leading-edge conference. Tech company, Bambora, will share how their four values have made a huge difference in their company’s performance. Outdoor equipment company, Arc’teryx, will discuss their core values to develop people using the strengths of individuals to build a stronger team. The conference is packed with experts, facilitators, workshops, and networking opportunities. See the video to check it out. And as a blog reader, use discount code: Clemmer100 to save $100 when registering. June’s the perfect time of year to meet in the Botanical Gardens.
As Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos (now owned by Amazon) says, “your culture is your brand.” Are you the leader of your brand? Is your culture on your brand wagon?