Do you know what became all the rage during Covid lockdown? Sourdough and Kombucha culture growing. And I’m a fan. I had friends and neighbours drop loaves they had baked and jugs they had nurtured on my Covid-safe doorstep weekly. What sparked this generosity were two ingredients that Covid lockdown provided – time and love. Friends now had the time and care to invest in growing these little mouldy friends that would produce some of the finest homegrown goodies I have ever had.
And this what we already know about culture through all the books and podcasts we’ve digested. Good culture takes time and attention, and it has the power to produce great results for your organisation. But there are two things we may not have heard.
Haven’t read Part 1 in this series? Read it here
Culture is your content
For so long internal company/staff culture has been hidden away within the four walls of an office building, only to be truly seen if one happens to be an employee. But today we are seeing a common practise of showing internal culture to the outside audience. Companies are sharing weekly posts of their staff members engaging with the brand. Businesses are hosting events where all staff are leading the way in community connection. Encouragement to develop articles and thought-leadership pieces is shared across all levels of the company. This all is a bold move that enables an internal culture to be seen to outsiders with great transparency. Culture therefore is becoming content.
We may be fooled though to think that the cause of this are things like Google’s free staff lunches and games rooms, or Salesforces young workforce who have copious time and energy. You could assume that if one is to display culture, they just need to add perks and focus on a time-rich workforce. But what this simply produces is career FOMO, the reaction from others that says, ‘My work doesn’t do that, I want to work for them’.
The actual real cause behind culture becoming content is a deep work from leading organisations around their purpose. They see that if we understand our purpose and can articulate it with clarity, then we can grow a community around our brand, both internally and externally. This then moves companies to see their employees as genuine brand community members and ambassadors. To the point in my previous article, the greatest ‘perk’ a staff member can receive is to be up-close to the sense of belonging the brand provides. A belonging that is intrinsically linked to a purpose (not a vision).
No brand culture, no brand content
This is why companies that do not invest in understanding their purpose cannot expect exceptional content. If you are to see your customers engage with your content, then it starts with enabling those closest to you to generate it organically.
I remember consulting for a for-purpose clothing brand start-up that was seeking to grow its audience. Asking them who their current audience was, they replied like most start-ups that it was family and friends (the interim employees of a start-up). But then in asking them how they were enhancing the brand experience for that audience, there were blank stares. For your brand to grow, it must start with purpose clarity with those closest to you.
The goal is not to create career FOMO where others are wanting to work for you because they seek staff perks. The goal is to create an excitement in others that they too can connect with your brand. This starts internally.
How do you communicate purpose to build brand culture?
Start with communicating it. Businesses cannot assume that just because someone works for you that they understand and have adopted your purpose. Your employees are complex (in a good way) and each takes in things differently. You need to make a concerted, consistent, and repeated effort to help employees connect purpose and meaning to their role.
The other danger is that your purpose is hidden behind the perks. As already mentioned, I’m all into perks especially ones that support equity within the workplace. But it’s a little like trying to teach children the moral of sharing when you’ve already given them the present. Their focus is already elsewhere.
Here are a few tips about communicating purpose that might help…
- If purpose is a universal ideal that everyone can get on board with, then you don’t need management to always communicate it. Find the purpose-driven among you who are clear and relational communicators to lead.
- Celebrate purpose-driven actions from staff, especially when it leads to growth in the brand community.
- Communicate your purpose through immersive experiences where your staff are doing rather than listening.
- Communicate in different ways/times to early adopters as you would to late comers. Not everyone will come to live and breathe your brand purpose at the same time.
- Brands we love are often brands we wear. Ask yourself how can our staff ‘wear’ our brand in a way promotes our purpose?
New content ideas
All this discussion though is leading to the original point – great culture = great content. So, if you are investing in your culture by centering efforts around living and breathing your purpose, the next step is taking your employee’s experiences around the brand purpose and turning them into content.
A social media norm is emerging where a set weekly post is dedicated to celebrating company purpose through staff engagement. Even the use of this within ‘live’ posts provides a unique and flexible offering.
Creating content that profiles your staff as a collective body rather than individuals is also essential. For some industries that are heavy on sales teams, this can be a challenge as the individualistic mentality can erode purpose, as it is to be something universal. The outcome is far from group company photographs, but more a look at whether the individual is working towards the common good of the many.
One of the most viewed pages on any website is the ‘about us/team’ page. I’m often amazed at how little effort is given to the images and blurbs that accompany them. Have a look at your page and ask yourself, “what does this say about our purpose?”.
Time to grow
Are you investing in your purpose and its influence around your culture? Do you need a diagnostic that provides a true measurement of this? Can you see the fruit that would come if you helped your staff become true brand adopters and ambassadors? Needing help developing a purpose-driven content plan?
Our team are here to consult and guide you so that your brand continues to grow.