Brand Research and Corporate Culture – Part 4

So far in the Brand Research and Corporate Culture series, you’ve learned why corporate culture matters to brand building and business growth as well as how to use internal and external brand research to develop a corporate culture that can coexist with your brand promise. Now, it’s time to learn how to implement your findings and put your new corporate culture and brand promise into action. Implementation isn’t a one-time thing, so get ready to commit to the long haul for maximum results and success.

corporate cultureInternal Brand Education

Your first step to implementing your brand research findings is brand education. Begin by educating your employees about your corporate culture and brand promise. If they don’t buy into either, no one else will. However, internal brand education is often overlooked. Your employees are strong brand advocates, so make sure they understand your brand promise and corporate culture and buy into both.

Keep in mind, internal brand education involves a lot more than mounting a poster on the wall with your core values printed on it. Sure, Zappos posts its core values on its office walls and website, but the environment that employees work in is a direct extension and living embodiment of those values.

Zappos continually recognizes its employees (called Zapponians and referred to as members of the Zappos family, not just employees) through a wide variety of events, awards, and fun activities. Employees could win the monthly Zappos Family HERO Award or have a wish granted by the Zappos Wishez Fairies. They participate in charity events together, Ugly Holiday Sweater Day, and even donut eating challenges. At Zappos, an employee birthday isn’t just a time to go eat another piece of cake in a conference room (remember that Seinfeld episode in the video below?) but rather a cause for celebration, marching bands, and parades.

Check out the video below, which was published on the Zappos Family Culture blog showing a local high school marching band surprising senior director of accounting, Mike A., on his 40th birthday.

Zappos is a great company to benchmark as you implement your own corporate culture. Even if your corporate culture isn’t fun and weird, you can help employees believe in it by creating opportunities to bring it to life again and again.

External Brand Education

The next step in implementing your corporate culture and brand promise is to educate external audiences. These audiences include more than just existing and prospective customers. You also need to educate vendors, suppliers, the media, and so on about your corporate culture and brand promise. That’s how it becomes not just a core component of your business but also a competitive differentiator and strategic advantage.

Educating external audiences is much easier and far less expensive today than it was just ten years ago. The social web is the place to communicate and demonstrate your corporate culture and brand promise. Of course, advertising, events, and other traditional marketing tactics shouldn’t be abandoned, but social media represents an opportunity to communicate with diverse audiences that should be a key component of your brand education process.

Again, Zappos is a great company to benchmark. Poke around the Zappos corporate website and you’ll find multiple ways to learn about the corporate culture and the company’s core values. You’ll learn how that culture and those values affect employees, consumers, and the community. This is a company that fully leverages the web to directly educate consumers, media organizations, and more about its culture and promise to consumers.

zappos tourThrough the Zappos website, anyone can see the Zappos culture in action. The company offers tours at each of its main offices, and unlike most boring corporate tours, the Zappos tour is fun and memorable! Just sign up through the company’s website to see for yourself. Even if you can’t make it to Nevada or Kentucky for an in-person tour, you can see the Zappos culture in action in a virtual tour.

Through social media and content marketing, Zappos has paved the way for companies that want to learn how to communicate an internal culture to the broader population. Your company can do it, too. Just follow the suggestions provided throughout the Brand Research and Corporate Culture series to create and implement your corporate culture and brand promise and be persistent in your efforts. Building a corporate culture is an ongoing strategic imperative, not a one-time tactical opportunity.

If you missed previous parts of the Brand Research and Corporate Culture series, you can follow the links below to read them now:

Image: Nick Cowie, Nan Palmero

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Susan Gunelius
Susan Gunelius brings over 20-year of marketing and branding experience as Contributing Editor for the AYTM.com blog. She is the author of numerous books about marketing, branding and social media, and her marketing-related articles appear on top media websites such as Entrepreneur.com and Forbes.com.