It’s time to think about your brand and your culture. It’s of paramount importance because brand and culture are things your customers can see and feel. It’s how people talk about you when you’re not in the room. And if it’s not carefully defined and nurtured, your brand and your culture can work against you.

What’s at the core of your brand?

A brand is centered on a promise, your values and what you stand for. If these elements are not clearly defined – or do not exist at all – there is no brand. And by this definition, a lot of businesses simply have no brand.

The core of a brand draws from a lot of things. It’s not just about your product, pricing or logo design. According to an article by Stephen A. Greyser and Mats Urde published in the Harvard Business Review, as many as eight elements contribute to a strong brand core. Factors include identifying the human characteristics that form your corporate character, the nature of the relationships with your customers and key stakeholders and, of course, your culture.

What’s the difference between culture and brand?

Brand and culture go hand in hand. Culture is embodied by your attitude, how you work and your behaviors. And culture is an important bridge that connects the internal and external aspects of your brand. It shapes the interactions between your brand and the marketplace, and depending on the strength, it can either fortify or undermine your brand.

Where to start

As Simon Sinek said in his TED talk Start with the why, it’s essential to communicate from the inside out. When defining concepts like culture and brand, it’s important to take a step back from externally facing characteristics such as products and price. It’s time to look inward and ask the big question: What’s your purpose? In other words, why should anyone care?

By answering these questions, not only will you get to the core of your brand and create a valuable culture – you will elevate your organization from a commodity producer to a group of inspired people united with a purpose to achieve the collective mission. This mindset took Apple from being a just another computer company (commodity producer) to a global market leader that believes in challenging the status quo and thinking differently, which results in beautifully designed products and simple to use.

Warning signs: What to look out for

Beware of the uninspired. Creating a successful brand supported by a winning culture is not something that gets finished and is crossed off a To Do List.  It’s a mindset, an ongoing commitment, that needs to be omnipresent in every interaction.

Without constant reinforcement, lofty claims will turn into flimsy promises. For example, many brands give lip service to a culture based on integrity, but admirable characteristics such as trustworthiness are earned- not labeled. An offhand comment during a meeting or breakroom conversation can reveal deceptive sales practices or an office full of gossip or rumors. The “actions taken” are the culture. And while organizations can say all day long that they have integrity, but if people do not embody the values, it’s simply not true. You have to live it.

Ready to talk about your brand and your culture? We’re here to help facilitate that important conversation. The branding experts at id8 have experience asking the right questions that get to the core of the brand. And the inspiration to help you live it.  Give us a call today!