‘No matter how visionary, brilliant and far-reaching a leader’s strategy might be, it can, and frequently does, all go for naught if it is not fully supported by a healthy and spirited corporate culture. When people ask me what ‘secret sauce’ has made Virgin a success over the last 40+ years it’s that we have a people-first culture.’
Richard Branson summed it up pretty well when he said this statement.
Culture is one of the best kept secrets to business success. But rather than being an evolution of society like the industrial or technological revolutions, culture has always been with us.
Whole countries have a culture, football clubs have a culture, workplaces have a culture, families have a culture, even individuals have a culture.
So culture always exists. It’s just that the vast majority of us haven’t understood its power when it comes to business success.
So, what is culture?
Culture can be defined as the shared values and behaviours of humans within an organisation, the meaning they attribute to these values and behaviours and how this contributes to the unique social and psychological environment of the organisation.
Culture is often described as an ethos, an atmosphere, a climate, a feeling, a mood.
But although culture is intangible, it has structure. And anything with structure can be created.
It’s made up of a number of elements such as a vision, mission, core values, beliefs, standards of behaviour, language, attitudes, rituals and the like.
Like the foundations of a house, these elements of culture make up the pillars of an organisation. Their power lies in their emotional component that releases the potent energy of the people who make up the business, inspiring them to delight customers over and over.
There are many examples that show culture not only impacts staff morale, productivity and retention, it also influences the stickability of your brand and the growth of your bottom-line profit.
As a marketer, I know that culture and brand are inextricably linked. And together they work to create your reputation, which at the end of the day, is whatever people are saying about you.
Beloved brands are built on beloved cultures.
It just makes sense that if people wake every day and feel motivated to go to a workplace where they know they are valued and feel connected to a shared vision and values, they are going to give a great customer experience.
And a great customer experience, again and again, results in brand loyalty over time. This, in turn, builds a great reputation.
The more effort you put into developing a great culture, the more brand and reputation take care of themselves.