How Company Culture Strengthens a Brand

By Rochelle Joseph.

This is part of a series on col­or, brand­ing and reflect­ing it not just through­out col­lat­er­al but with­in the total com­pa­ny cul­ture, writ­ten by NCD’s Mar­ket­ing Con­sul­tant Rochelle Joseph.

 

When a client comes to NCD for brand­ing, they are ini­tial­ly inter­est­ed in what we cre­ate visu­al­ly. But we approach it holis­ti­cal­ly know­ing that brand build­ing is not only about logos, web­site and col­lat­er­al. Those are very impor­tant ele­ments of mar­ket­ing the brand, but the brand itself is all about the mis­sion, vision and val­ues, and how the com­pa­ny — its employ­ees and the cul­ture with­in it, as well as its ser­vices or prod­ucts — reflects it.  Let’s look at a few exam­ples.

McDon­alds is one of the world’s most rec­og­nized brands, and just about the biggest fast food chain in the US. And what’s the first thing that comes to mind at its men­tion? The gold­en arch­es (if not their gold­en fries)! Their mis­sion is to make their restau­rant people’s favorite place to eat, and McDon­alds accom­plish­es this in sev­er­al ways.

 

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It’s a cheery place with employ­ees dressed in red, yel­low and white uni­forms — includ­ing the smi­ley char­ac­ter Ronald McDon­ald. Those col­ors, car­ried through­out their din­ing and play areas, com­mu­ni­cate that McDon­alds is bright and friend­ly  — and that’s backed by employ­ee-client inter­ac­tions. Cus­tomers are greet­ed with enthu­si­asm when tak­ing orders — even if it’s late, even if they bring in lots of kids, antsy from car trav­el. It’s also afford­able, and the addi­tion of their play areas, 24-hour loca­tions, and easy acces­si­bil­i­ty makes it a wel­come place for the hun­gry look­ing to quick­ly refu­el and the weary need­ing cof­fee or a place to sit. It’s all there when you see the gold­en arch­es. The con­ti­nu­ity McDon­alds offers is depen­dent upon the employ­ees not just main­tain­ing their qual­i­ty stan­dards across the globe, but shar­ing their val­ue sys­tem to bring a cer­tain expe­ri­ence to their cus­tomers.

When you vis­it an Apple store, it’s often so crowd­ed you’d think you were at a night club. But employ­ees are eas­i­ly iden­ti­fied by their bright sol­id tee shirt, and head­sets — if they don’t imme­di­ate­ly approach you first, ask­ing how they can help. They wear head­sets and have the lat­est and coolest tablet in their hands to aid in you quick­ly being direct­ed to a per­son or a part of the store that you need. So you feel like there is lit­tle wait — and if there is, you have mul­ti­ples of their lat­est prod­ucts to try (which cre­ates a desire to own them).

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It’s as if you have been pro­ject­ed to a very effi­cient future world, and the mes­sage is that you too can be as cur­rent and cool and effi­cient if you equip your­self with every­thing they sell. It clear­ly makes you feel that by using their tools, your busy life can be stream­lined like their clean logo and their sleek stuff — all in sig­na­ture sil­ver or white.

Steve Jobs led that cul­ture by liv­ing his own min­i­mal­ist image in a black tur­tle neck, wire rimmed glass­es and neat jeans. On a blank stage with a huge screen he paced back and forth once a year to unveil his newest prod­uct that would change the way the world works. Peo­ple would wait breath­less­ly for it. And if you were an Apple employ­ee, you felt belong­ing being in on the secret before the pub­lic. And every day at work in the Apple cul­ture, there is the pride in know they equip their cus­tomer with prod­ucts on the cut­ting edge of tech­nol­o­gy.

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Air­lines are a strong case of com­pa­ny cul­ture reflect­ing the brand­ing, which trick­les down through every­thing from the tail on the plane, to the tick­ets and cock­tail nap­kins. It’s so com­pre­hen­sive, you can usu­al­ly iden­ti­fy which air­line an employ­ee works for sim­ply by what they are wear­ing. And, their uni­forms con­vey author­i­ty while their atti­tude makes them approach­able. And because they are deal­ing with the pub­lic first hand, whether sell­ing tick­ets or see­ing to your safe­ty on the plane, they must col­lab­o­rate based on the com­pa­ny val­ues… because in this mod­el, they are actu­al­ly the ones in charge! Because they deal with the pub­lic in a con­tained envi­ron­ment fraught with poten­tial com­pli­ca­tions and emer­gency sit­u­a­tions, they are high­ly trained in codes of ethics and con­duct set forth by their com­pa­ny and the indus­try.

As cus­tomers, we each have been on the receiv­ing end of these three com­pa­nies, and are so used to our response to their brand that, per­haps with­out even real­iz­ing it, we too are on board! And that is effec­tive brand­ing, it’s total­ly trig­gered by the graph­ics and mar­ket­ing you see.

Build­ing a com­pa­ny cul­ture that instills pride in how your employ­ees feel about your brand is essen­tial. Because that will con­vey itself to your cus­tomer — as well as your investors or share­hold­ers. And that is how your com­pa­ny thrives and grows.

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Rochelle Joseph
As Marketing Consultant, Rochelle brings the element of written media to NCD’s branding process, creating the link between the design that connects emotionally with your clients and the message that embodies the intention. Her extensive background in entertainment and media, working with all the major television, cable and radio stations across the country for over 20 years, fuels her ability to craft messages that appeal to each unique market.

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