Your brand identity may be the most valuable asset your company owns, and with it, the culture that supports everything you do and represent.
In a globally accessible marketplace, the reach of even the corner bakery is wider than ever: and with it, the opportunity to extend your culture beyond your walls.
Extend Your Culture Step by Step
Your culture is expressed by a vision and demonstrated with action. It’s important to start with a well-defined mission that’s executable. “We want to save the world” is lofty and noble, but how do you plan to do it, and how can others be excited and interested in your meeting the goal? Promote a vision that’s actionable, a culture that supports it, and position everything you do to its furtherance.
With every communication you post – from the smallest help wanted ad to the longest press release, link to your core values and mission – your corporate culture. The more you reinforce your culture in the marketplace, the more it will become a part of your brand identity.
The benefits of a positive corporate culture are legion. Look at the media attention companies with an inclusive, customer-oriented, globally conscious, or any other type of positive corporate culture, receive. Southwest Airlines treats employees like family; Newman’s Own is a charity trailblazer, and the list goes on. That type of recognition translates to:
- Brand recognition
- Brand loyalty
- Attracting and retaining talent
- Building strong relationships with vendors, suppliers, and partners
So how do you spread the news about your company and its values beyond your physical footprint?
Toot Your Own Horn
Craft an online presence that spreads the word, humbly but powerfully, about the things you do advance your company’s vision and the internal culture that supports it. Your corporate culture should be as identifiable as your logo to remind the marketplace what you stand for. A separate page on your website: Community Involvement, Issues We Care About, or Fulfilling Our Mission is a great place to outline your culture for all visitors to see.
Social Media Outreach
Create a social media presence. Whether it’s lauding outstanding employees, posting company-wide achievements, or showing where you’re commitment is being executed, more buzz about corporate culture is created in cyberspace than anywhere else these days.
Your Facebook page will likely garner more hits than your website, so populate it with a bit about your product or service, and a lot about your culture and vision.
The opportunity to tweet “we’re helping out in the neighborhood, stop by” or “kudos to our design team” opens your company to a community that might otherwise not know about you. Retweets are infectious – especially when you’re tweeting something positive.
Offer to Help
Be a resource for others. Work with community or volunteer groups, mentor students, or offer help to fledgling businesses in your area. Spreading the word about your culture means being an available resource whenever you can. Nothing spreads the word about your commitment more powerfully than action.
Can your local school or PTA use sponsors for events or initiatives? Is there a community organization that could use help or volunteers? A sponsorship commitment to the local 10K run could translate into hundreds of followers who participated in the event, and likely will have local media coverage – a win/win.
Blog It Out
A blog page on your website is another way to spread the word about your goals and accomplishments. You can use it to promote the good works you do, the fun things going on inside the company, or anything that illustrates your culture. You can even use it to inspire others to join in.
Create your own YouTube channel to spread the word. Dollar Shave Club crafted a fun video about their company, which hints about their commitment to the community and employment. It gives an insight into a fun place to work that has a social conscience. The slightly risqué, low-budget video has garnered the company over 24 million hits – you really can’t buy that kind of press.
To the Future
Job fairs and conferences on and off campus are a great way to spread your message beyond the consumer market and into the applicant pool. They can help boost your brand at the event and beyond, generating buzz about the great workplace you cultivate. Ask candidates to apply online, like your Facebook page, and follow you on Twitter for news about openings and company events.
In the internet age, it’s as important as it is accessible to promote your corporate culture in the marketplace. It’s more than building your customer base, it’s validating an environment people want to work for and with. Keep your messages positive and in line with your vision, but post frequently to stay current and extend your corporate culture far beyond your walls.
About the Author
Riia O’Donnell has over 20 year’s hands-on experience in all aspects of the Human Resource function. Beginning as a recruiter, she grew to lead in all areas of HR, including employee training and development, legal compliance, benefits administration, compensation evaluation, and staff management. She has been a contributing writer for a wealth of HR, training, and small business websites for the past 7 years.