When branding strategies and corporate culture collide

by | Oct 11, 2018 | Branding with impact, Strategically thinking through the design process

The mighty collision of brand strategies and corporate culture has led to the relative downfall of many giant names in the corporate world. How does this happen and why?

According to Hal King, in the collision of these two forces, the culture always comes out victorious. But if that culture is not in sync with the growth trends of the competitors and the rapidly evolving technology, the company, sooner or later, finds itself on the brink of extinction.

Your brand strategy cannot claim to be innovative and at par with the current market trends whilst your corporate culture keeps following your old ways; both need to find a way to co-exist harmoniously, otherwise, the results could be catastrophic.

Before I talk about it in details let’s quickly see what exactly we mean by brand strategy and corporate culture.

  • Brand strategy – brand strategy is what helps you build your brand and give it the identity you want your customers to perceive.
  • Corporate culture – it includes elements such as your organization’s physical environment, shared values, standards, employees’ behavior, your company’s attitude, internal communication and other such factors.

Here is why you need to carefully create a middle ground that aligns your corporate culture with your brand strategy.

The Alignment Determines How Well Your Business Runs

It is a common notion that aligning both the brand strategy and the corporate culture results in happy employees; yes, it is true but the magnitude of the consequences is even bigger. This collision can have an impact on how your business operates.

The Employee Factor

If you make drastic changes to your corporate culture to align it with your “modern and progressive” brand strategy, you may force many of your employees to embrace the changes they do not want or are not capable of embracing.

This could lead to the general feeling of not being valued, which will affect their productivity, may cause a lack of motivation and lead to a poor outcome. You need your employees to be happy because happy employees mean loyal employees.

Why do you need loyal employees? To ensure they put their heart and soul into your business and work towards its growth and prosperity. This can only be done when they feel the management is on their side and considers them a valuable asset.

Customers Should Get What They Are Promised

On the other hand, if you are sacrificing your brand strategy to give your employees the culture they want, you may not be able to keep your customers satisfied.

A corporate organisation that portrays itself as a progressive, technologically self-reliant and innovative brand has to deliver the services and products that are reflective of that strategy.

However, if your corporate culture continues to cling on to old traditions and values, your operations remain old school and your services do not show any advancement then your existing and potential customers will question your brand and corporate integrity and may lose their trust in you.

This will not only hamper your chances of securing your clients, but it may also force the existing ones to place their trust elsewhere.

The result will be a weak reputation of your business in the market.

Confused and Chaotic Business Operations – Stunted Growth

If I tell you to treat your neighbours kindly but I also tell you that it’s good to play pranks on them and hide their mail every day, what would you do? You will be confused; you will not be sure what is expected of you and how you should act.

This is exactly what a mismatched brand strategy and corporate culture do to your organisation. The employees will have no direction; their company values will tell them to behave a certain way but the brand will require them to communicate with the customers differently and offer services that justify your brand image.

This confusion can lead to frustration that will reflect on how your operations run. Your business operations will keep producing the same services and your business will see no growth.

And when the outcome isn’t what you want, you will hold your employees accountable who may eventually give up and look for a more balanced opportunity where their roles and expectations are more clearly defined.  

The result is a company that will keep spending money to replenish the same resources that stopped showing results a while back. You will lose capital, growth opportunities, the trust of your customers, the loyalty of your employees and your reputation in the market.

You Need to Find the Right Balance

You brand strategy and corporate culture need to support each other; there is no other way!

If your brand strategy is progressive and your culture isn’t, your production and outcome will suffer. The internal culture will fail to understand why your organisation needs to change and introduce innovation into operations.

If your culture is too advanced and the brand strategy isn’t, your employees will not be satisfied; their careers may become stagnant and they may not learn the new and improved innovative techniques; they will lose their place in the cutthroat corporate world, which may force them to find a place that will help them grow.

The Need of the Hour

So what do you need? A harmonious marriage of the two – brand strategy and corporate culture!

When you hit the right note, your operations will run seamlessly; your outcome and productivity will become better; you will be able to offer improved services/products, which will ensure your customers stay happy and loyal to your brand.

Guest Post Author’s Bio

Kym Wallis, the founding director of Higher Ranking has over 15 years of advertising sales, digital strategy, and business development experience. He is currently working as Digital Adviser for Integr8IT.