Employee Activation
To Reach Today’s Buyers, Market Your Culture (Not Your Product)

To Reach Today’s Buyers, Market Your Culture (Not Your Product)

November 6, 2019
5 min read

The attitudes and motivations of today’s consumers are a world apart from previous generations. While it used to be enough to have a great product and a solid marketing plan in place to achieve success, these days it’s more about how your brand is seen to the world.

The Millennial generation and Generation Z care as much about getting a good product as any other that went before them. The difference is that they’re significantly choosier when it comes to who they buy from.

And this isn’t just a case of brand reputation in terms of perceived product quality. Today’s consumers expect more from brands than being a supplier of goods or services. They also expect companies to have a mission and values that align with their own beliefs, and to ensure that their environmental and social impact on the world is a positive one.

In other words, you should be putting more effort into developing an attractive company culture and marketing it to the outside world. Make your brand something that people want to be a part of, and strive to build real connections with your audience rather than just a buyer/seller relationship.

Quick Takeaways:

  • Focusing on positive brand values and culture can drive sales and build customer loyalty, as well as being attractive to employees.
  • Build your company culture around your mission statement.
  • Use the power of storytelling, employee advocacy, and events to market your culture to the outside world.

Why Company Culture is So Important

Developing an attractive company culture has always been important for attracting and retaining the best talent. But now it’s an essential part of attracting consumers too.

Millennials and the younger “Generation Z” account for the largest proportion of today’s consumer base, as they include all people in their early 20s to late 30s.

These younger generations put huge importance on brand identity and corporate responsibility. It’s no longer enough for brands to support good causes and give to charity – they have to truly believe in a cause and have genuine purpose and meaning.

Consumers will see through superficial “cause marketing” right away. Today’s brands must deliver more authentic marketing messages by putting their values and causes they support at the heart of their mission statement and backing that up with their company culture and the way they do business on a day-to-day basis.

And company culture isn’t just about supporting charities and having environmentally friendly policies. It’s also about supporting your people and being a positive force for good in your community.

Millennials are notoriously distrustful of large corporations and are keen to support small businesses. But this doesn’t mean that big brands are doomed. The key is to humanize your brand. Just look at what a great job Nike is doing on it’s “about” page, starting with its mission statement to “Bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.” A disclaimer points out that, in this case, “athlete” means anyone with a body, underlining Nike’s customer base of regular people, as well as pro athletes.

Today’s generations are highly brand loyal, with 60% claiming to stay loyal to brands they’ve purchased from before, and tend to put their money where their mouth is. If they feel they align with your brand values and culture, they’ll reward you with a long-term customer relationship. So how do you convince them that your brand is worth following?

Creating a Value-Based Mission and Building a Positive Culture

Your mission statement should form the core of your company culture, so it’s worth going back to basics and making sure that yours really represents the values your company stands for.

Defining these values and beliefs is not just a box-ticking exercise, and the aim isn’t just to have a mission statement to stick on your website. Remember this is your why – the reason for your company existing and what drives you and your employees to stay motivated and work hard. Make sure it’s a good one.

Giving employees meaning behind their roles will help give them purpose and show how they’re having a positive impact on the business and the wider world.

One great example of a purpose-driven business is shoe brand Toms. The company was started with the mission of providing one pair of shoes for every pair sold. Toms uses their core values to create a positive and inspiring culture, promising interns to “make a difference in your life and someone else’s”, and promoting a diverse, yet close-knit team.

Beyond nailing down your company mission statement, focusing on how you can create a great workplace culture for your employees is key. When your employees are engaged at work and know that the company they work for is invested in their happiness and wellbeing, a positive culture will naturally follow

How to Promote Your Brand Culture

In order to market your company culture, you must first find your brand “voice” and personality. When your brand has a unique and likable voice that your audience can relate to, they’ll be more likely to engage with and trust your brand.

Harness the power of storytelling

The next step is to use various marketing channels to tell your brand’s story. It’s not enough to say what you do – you have to explain the “why” behind your business.

Storytelling can be an incredibly effective marketing technique, as it helps your customers to believe in your mission and to actually become invested in the story of your business.

Every company has a story to tell. It doesn’t necessarily have to be emotionally charged or unusual. A skilled copywriter can help you to craft your brand story, and use it across all your marketing channels. Your company culture should be an integral part of all your content, not just your mission statement.

Going back to the Nike example, they go on to explain how they achieve their mission by “creating groundbreaking sport innovations, by making our products more sustainably, by building a creative and diverse global team and by making a positive impact in communities where we live and work.” Are you ready to go out and buy a pair of Nike sneakers yet?

Letting your audience in on the story behind your company makes your brand more relatable and likable, and helps you to forge relationships with potential customers.

Transform your employees into advocates

Employee advocacy can also be a highly effective tool for promoting your company culture on social media. Who else knows your culture better than your very own employees?

Before you do this, make sure you have a tangible grip on what exactly your culture looks like. Many companies pride themselves on having a great culture but have trouble defining what sets them apart from others. You need to have a clear idea of what your company culture is internally before you start trying to market it to the outside world.

Chatting with your employees about why they’re proud to work for your company, and how they think your brand is seen by the community can be helpful for narrowing this down.

Invest in events

Face-to-face events are another great way to let your customers get a real taste of your company culture, and be more active in the community.

Planning an event can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be a grand affair with a budget to match. Winning over the hearts and minds of your customers is the aim here, so smaller, more intimate events can be just as effective, if not more so.

Need Help with Crafting Your Brand Story and Marketing Your Brand Culture?

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Michael Brenner

Michael Brenner is an international keynote speaker, author of "Mean People Suck" and "The Content Formula", and Founder of Marketing Insider Group. Recognized as a Top Content Marketing expert and Digital Marketing Leader, Michael leverages his experience from roles in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as his leadership in leading teams and driving growth for thriving startups. Today, Michael delivers empowering keynotes on marketing and leadership, and facilitates actionable workshops on content marketing strategy. Connect with Michael today.

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