How to Market Your Company Culture
When Starbucks first started selling coffee, paying $4 for a cup of coffee was unheard of. Not only did Starbucks turn a $4 coffee into the norm, but they became a global leader in the process. They did that by creating a dedicated coffee culture. Steve Jobs did the same with Apple, just as Phil Knight did with Nike.
These companies don’t just create great products — they have created a culture that people identify with so strongly that their products become a smooth, seamless and natural extensions of their lives.
What is company culture?
A company consists of a group of people working together to achieve a common goal, and culture is how they do it. Company culture defines how they get it done. Google has a culture of taking great care of their employees. From free food in their many gourmet cafeterias, on-site doctors to a flat management structure, Google attracts some of the best talent in the world.
Because they know they will be well cared for.
Apple is well known for their secrecy, a passion for the environment and a zealous love of precision wrapped in a laid-back, casual vibe. While you may have a hard time putting their culture into precise words, there is absolutely no doubt that it is well-defined.
Why market a company culture?
People do not identify with products, they identify with brands. Marketing your culture helps people identify with your ideas and values – with you. Conversely, however, products that come from well-defined brands help people to know exactly what to expect.
Whenever Starbucks rolls out a new drink, people flock to try it because they know that there’s a good chance they will like it. When Apple rolls out a new product, thousands of people pre-order it because it’s made by Apple, and that’s enough.
The second advantage of having and marketing a well-defined company culture is that it significantly aids the hiring process and reduces turnover. If potential employees know exactly what your company is about and what you stand for, they have a far better idea of whether they want to work for your or not.
While Google may be a dream job for some, it is not for everyone. Most applicants will be a good fit for them, however, because Google has such a strong, clearly defined culture, so applicants know what is expected of them.
Define your values
By 2020, nearly half the working population will be Millennials and Millennials value corporate culture much more than any generation that has come before them. If you don’t find you are attracting the caliber of talent that you believe you should be, or if the turnover of good talent is high, the first place to look is at your corporate culture.
Just having values and mission statement is a great start, but it is not nearly enough. If your company is not actually being guided by those values, then they are essentially worthless – some might even say false. In fact, making company values public that you are not actually being guided by may be worse than not having them at all.
Just having a good benefits package is no longer enough. People care very little about having good medical and health benefits, retirement plans or paid vacations if they dread going to work every day. Conversely, when people love their jobs, then bonuses, stock options, and 501K plans are just gravy. Not all the best benefits are financial either.
Some of the best benefits that employers offer have more to do with the quality of life than salary.
For instance, being able to work remotely is what many employees are looking for. For telecommuting to work well, you will need proper preparation and setup, which should include the needed equipment, software, and onboarding too. Often combined with telecommuting are flexible work hours so that employees can decide their daily priorities and how to finish a project on time.
Other things a growing number of companies offers today is paid time for creativity and innovation, with a focus on employee happiness and well-being. This is what sets them apart from the rest and makes them the best companies to work for.
How to market your culture
You can’t market your company culture if you yourself are unsure of what it is. You also can’t be guided by something that isn’t tangible, concrete and set in stone. Your values need to be your compass – and you have to follow it even during biggest storms. If you have a concrete mission and values statement that you can genuinely live by, then here are 5 steps on how to market it.
1. Define Your Target Audience Specifically
Apple does not appeal to a particular gender or age range, but rather to people of all cultures that align with the same set of values. While your target market might be more age or gender specific, even within those demographics, they are going to be people who align with your values. Once you know what those values are, you will know exactly who your target audience is.
2. Learn Their Habits
Your target audience uses a specific social media outlet.
They read roughly the same newspapers and watch basically the same types of TV shows.
They are either hard partiers by night and hard workers by day or they are hard working early-to-bed, early-to-rise kind of people.
They might be blue bloods or blue-collar workers.
Regardless, they will often be found in all the same places and take their news and information from all the same sources.
2. Use Social Media
Once you find the right platform that your target audience uses, become an avid student of how to use that platform effectively. Then do it. Use analytics to tweak, tease, tune and hone your social media presence to perfection and ensure you are reaching your target audience.
3. Clearly Communicate Your Culture and Act in Accordance with It
If you are a business that cares about the environment, you need to show you are environmentally active. This means actively participating in some way in helping to clean it up, keep it clean or make the planet a better place to live. You also can’t claim to be living up to your corporate values if you offer no recycling programs or aren’t actively working to cut down on business waste.
4. Create Key Words and Phrases That Communicate Your Values
Communicating your values to your clients and consumers is great, but you also need to be highlighting and reinforcing your values internally as well. This means regularly using keywords and phrases in internal communications and highlight and emphasize these values. Your employees can become the best brand ambassadors you have.
5. Choose Your Visuals Wisely
If your company claims to be environmentally conscious, it’s not a good idea to post a pic of your CEO getting out of their Hummer in the morning. Similarly, whether your business loves animals, the environment, extreme sports or just a darn good cup of coffee, your visuals should all reflect that.
Your company culture is essentially the personality of your company. If your business were a person, what kind of person would it be? When you figure that out, then you will also know what kind of people would like to work for you and what kind of person would most love your products. When you figure all that out, then find them and introduce yourself.