Culture is the heart of your business – it’s a singular expression of who you are, what you believe in and how you plan to treat others and succeed. For brands, culture poses a strategic opportunity that goes further than demographic and psychographic insights and plays an elemental role in building brand identity and customer loyalty.
Start with People
Culture is your way of doing things and it supports the environment in which your business grows and develops relationships. From top-level management to entry-level employees, your brand culture should be something everyone can share.
In branding, it starts with thinking about more than customers, but thinking about the people and culture with which those customers will interact. Memorable, impressionable brand cultures have the right people.
At MESH, it’s the people who define our culture. We believe that inspiring work is the result of the best creative minds coming together, not to all think alike, but to use their differences to produce unique work that makes an impression.
Within your company, you want to employ empowered people who will apply all their talent and energy to inspire those around them. As a result, that collective passion and vivacity will come to define your brand and entice customers to experience your culture for themselves.
Make it a Lifestyle
We naturally gravitate to people who share our interests, right? Well the same concept applies to how your brand culture should attract customers. It’s as easy making your brand culture a lifestyle.
Consider how Patagonia, an outdoors lifestyle brand, affiliates itself with an environmentally conscious way of life, or how Coca-Cola promotes a culture of “happiness” to develop a direct, emotional affiliation with a happy way of life.
What makes these brands so recognizable and successful is that they have merged their products with a lifestyle that resonates with their customers. Consumers love a brand that feels familiar, and when your brand culture aligns with their personalities, values and lifestyles, you will earn their trust and loyalty.
Different is Best
If your brand doesn’t stand out from the competition, then how do you expect it to stand out in the minds of consumers? Forgettable brands blend in with their competition and often times fear doing something different.
Consumers are attracted to brands that know themselves, so find what makes your company unique and own it.
Now, I’m not saying that you should be a noisemaker out there, because it’s not enough to just get a conversation started. To win over customers, you need to communicate something of value. Focus on the “why” behind your brand; the reason for a consumer to choose your brand over another.
Standing out from the competition and in the minds of consumers is the result of your company proclaiming its authentic, unequivocal and possibly unusual values to the world without fear and without compromise.
When we created the brand for Lit Pizza, we brought ideas to the table that were bold, rebellious and even a little irreverent. Since Lit Pizza was an entirely new, fast-casual concept in Baton Rouge we were able to put a new spin on the pizza experience by applying a brand culture that embodies its unique identity and positions the pizza restaurant above and beyond its competition.
When developing your brand culture, remember this: brand and culture have a mutual effect on customers and each other, and when each of those elements merge together, your brand will take on a life of its own and win the loyalty of customers.