Branding’s Little Brother, Culture

This post closely follows one of the last posts I made about branding. In that post we talked about a what branding was, how to see it, how to think about it.

The idea behind this post is how to think about company culture. If branding is the right hand of a company culture is the left hand. You cannot have one without the other.

For all of you who are thinking about stepping out on your journey of starting and building something, take a moment and read this post. Just like branding, culture is an intangible mythical beast that most people don’t understand simply because it is not something you can see or touch. It’s something that you experience.

In my experience at FaHT, most companies don’t even think about their culture, much less learn about it. A lot of companies just let things happen organically and they have no strategy in mind to build their culture.

As a result, the culture is hit or miss and is unstable. It can change in a heartbeat simply because a new manager was brought on. Their personality and mindset then totally changed the existing culture.

Your culture can change with or without you knowing it.

I am saying all of this, because company culture is something you create, it is something you build.

Let’s talk about what culture is:

Culture is the personality of the company. This personality is what your customers experience. What your company is like internally will dictate who you hire, what your processes are, and how customers will interact with your brand.

Stop and take a moment to think about your personality. You personality attracts certain people, helps create a circle of friends. Culture does the exact same thing for a company.

Let me start by letting you know that basically there are two ideas concerning culture:

The first idea is the old school corporate world, where the culture is based on the idea of professionalism. Suites, ties, and buttons ups all day every day.

But professionalism is not culture, it is an idea or belief you hold that will shape your culture. Everyone has an idea that a company must look, act, and be professional, but what is professionalism? Is it clothing? Is it the quality of work? Is starting the workday at 9:00 am and ending at 5:00 pm?

I don’t know, all I know is that professional is not a universal standard. Professionalism is how you define it, and what you define it to be. I also know that professionalism is not culture, it is a result of culture.

The second idea is that working at a company in the corporate world should not be stiff. Think about Google, Pandora, and other tech startups that put more of a focus on taking care of the people working for them. The belief that working for a company should be fun and creative. This is not culture either, this is a by-product of culture.

Let’s boil it down further:

Culture is the set of principles and beliefs that you instill in your company. These principles and beliefs are what the company stands for, and how the company treats its people, both inside and outside. These principles dictate company’s processes for work, dress code, all the work the company does and why it does it.

When it comes to culture, most people just copy who they worked for, they don’t stop and take the time to build and create something. They just take what they know and recreate it. There’s no plan and no new ideas. Here are a few ways to improve company culture.

It is always easier to copy something you know than to create something that you don’t know. Most people just take the easy way out.

That can work great for the people who create and build something because it makes them stand out. However, the people who just build copies of their last employee blend in with everyone else.

That’s why across the board you will find a lot of companies that have the same look, feel, and personality. My advice to you is to go out and build something.

If you are starting a company it means you believe something, it means that you are creative, either left brain or right brain creative.

That means you can create something. You can build something and create a culture. You just have to be comfortable with the unknown. You have to face what you don’t know and don’t understand, and then you have to find a way to understand it.

Most of us are only comfortable working with what we know. We want to stay as far away from what we don’t know simply because we don’t like to tell people, “I don’t know.”

Everything is always changing and it will always change. Only working with what you are comfortable with will eventually lead to the downfall of your company, your brand, and your culture.