News & thinking

The importance of culture within brand.

February 17, 2021
February 17, 2021 Affinity Team

There’s always been a time in our lives when we wished we had that special superpower to get us out of those awkward situations. Like the times when you wish you could simply vanish. Or the times when you’re in a hurry and wish you could fly. Or that time when you first watched Back To The Future and thought, how great it would be to visit yourself in 20 years?

Yet all businesses, large or small, are able to have one superpower. A superpower that gives them the opportunity to be great. The opportunity to be loved. The opportunity to succeed.

That superpower is brand-led culture.

“A brand is not what it says it is. A brand is what it does. Its own unique superpower.

Not surprisingly, many businesses mismanage it and you can see the telltale signs. People hate their jobs. They think their contribution is meaningless. They don’t have a shared belief. They don’t have that kindred spirit with colleagues. They’re simply not together. The culture has failed.

Disengaged, demotivated employees form an organisation of blank, confused and dispirited faces. There is no alignment in how things get done and the best talent move on.

With strong brand-led culture comes alignment, engagement and a hunger to succeed. Collaboration and innovation become more natural and prevalent. New ideas pop up continually. And those blank, confused, dispirited faces are replaced by purpose-driven looks of determination and a sense of achieving something.

You retain the best talent and they truly live and breathe the brand. Your customers become, and continue to be loyalists. Your business thrives.

Strong brand-led culture creates internal alignment, which filters through the organisation and is reflected in how you’re perceived externally. Authenticity is not an image you create – it is being what you say you are.

To develop a brand-led culture, businesses need to do three things brilliantly.

First, the brand strategy needs to be aligned with the business strategy. A brand needs to be able to help deliver on the business ambition, now and in the future. It’s our core belief here at Affinity and has driven our successful brand programmes for the likes of CBRE, Exterion Media and…

Second, you need to define and build a culture that delivers on the brand. It should translate the brand from words and concepts into clear behaviours. These behaviours should be present at every level of the business, with leaders setting an example from the top.

Third, it’s vital to protect and nurture that culture. It will become the protector and guardian of the brand. This means empowering employees to own and reinforce the brand in their own personal way. This has become increasingly important now that the workplace dynamics has been dispersed towards remote working with questions being asked around motivation and productivity.

A culture that is not carefully nurtured risks running away and creating a workplace that is no longer aligned to the brand. Once this happens, the culture cannot successfully deliver on the business ambition. A business with a misaligned culture will set itself up for years of frustrations and decreasing morale. Add this to the multiple brand refreshes and repositioning programs which just paper over the cracks and you have a recipe for disaster.

Strong brand-led culture activates the brand across the business. Without it, brands become an insignificant grouping of words, a set of values painted on walls, pretty pictures and logos that don’t amount to anything.

Strong brand-led culture delivers confidence and pride through its people. It generates increased efficiency. It drives brand loyalty and desirability.

A brand is not what it says it is. A brand is what it does. Its own unique superpower.