Brand culture is a relatively new term, which is now becoming a centerpiece of any branding campaign. This term is pretty multidimensional and includes various features such as:
- Communication with customers;
- The inner policy of the brand and interaction with employees;
- Establishing credible and fruitful relationships with investors and stakeholders;
- Brand expression and public image;
- Accumulation of the previous experience, analyzing history and development of competitors, predecessors, etc.
Some define brand culture as the unique DNA of each company, which in many ways determines the atmosphere within the brand itself and its image for customers, investors, business partners, and all the other contacts outside of the brand’s territory.
Above all, brand culture in many ways defines customer experience – the critical success factor in many ways. That is why more and more companies regroup or establish their brand culture, making the customer experience and impression from the product the starting point for development.
The principles of brand culture
Practice shows that companies that pay particular attention to their brand culture often instantly become the leaders of their market segment. There are several reasons for that:
- Company management makes strategic decisions based on the relevant live data about customers` responses. Therefore each step has a practical, functional foundation and is more likely to be efficient;
- Employees of companies with developed brand cultures actually see the progress and results of their work and get rewarded on many levels. Research shows that even the highest salaries cannot hold a prosperous employee at his workplace if he does not feel moral satisfaction from the job he does. Brand culture focuses on the social aspect of each job, making every employee feel a valuable and appreciated member of the team.
Eventually, brand culture helps to simultaneously regulate the intrinsic and extrinsic efficiency of each business. On the one hand, employees are motivated; they are proud to be a part of the brand and willingly participate in its development. At the same time, companies with developed brand culture are often much more attractive for investors, prosperous partners, vendors, and customers, who want to associate themselves with the brand’s reputation and image.
In many ways, brand culture may start creating a microclimate that becomes socially significant, accumulating around business people from different backgrounds and groups. In many ways, a particular brand becomes a uniting power and a distinguishing feature that determines people’s overall consumption behavior and social interaction. You can witness examples of such influence mainly in the world of gadgets, fashion and auto industries.
What is the formula of brand culture?
In many business processes, no matter what market segment or industry we are talking about, there are precise and direct recipes that determine the decision-making process and development strategies.
However, it is not entirely true once we talk about brand culture. Brand culture is all about “how things are getting done here” rather than “what to do next”. Although pretty tangible and manageable, a brand culture primarily deals with the atmosphere within the establishment and emotional attachment to the brand.
Therefore the principles and formulas of business cultures may differ according to the industry, the overall character of the business, age and social background of employees and prosperous customers, and many other factors.
Instead of trying to find common ground and work out universal principles of brand culture, it is much more efficient to analyze the most common types of this phenomena in the business world and determine which one is most appropriate for the given business.
After all, the idea of business culture works backward in many ways:
- It considers customers` demand before creation, instead of selling the created product;
- It recognizes employees as active participants rather than part of the ongoing process;
- It adopts the business and develops it rather than being born within its walls.
That said, it is much easier to understand why brand culture is such a many-faced concept. Let’s analyze its most common and versatile images.
A liberal brand culture
This type of brand culture has become most popular in recent times when the Pandemic of COVID-19 has changed the way many people and businesses see their work and its role in their lives.
Since the business world started to discover opportunities and features of teleworking, principles of the gig economy were often called the salvation and the most profitable way out of the building up crises on the job market. The idea of addressing freelancers and independent experts to fulfill particular projects is not new. However, during the Lockdown, it has become a common practice for more companies. Even today, in the post-coronavirus economy, a significant percentage of businesses claim that they recognize the benefits and perspectives of the gig economy and are determined to stick to it even after the quarantine restrictions are fully lifted.
So, technically, liberal brand culture is a pretty casual atmosphere that does not require any excessive personal involvement from employees but values their professional contribution. Although it has reached its peak of popularity during the past year, this working style has been pretty habitual and natural among certain professions. For example, IT has always been famous for its notably casual approach to the workforce. Another example of long-existing liberal brand culture is services like Uber or Airbnb, where various people are united by one brand and represent it but don’t really feel the restrictions and dependence from it, mainly remaining autonomous.
The big concern about liberal brand culture is that team members don’t really feel attached to the brand itself, which may result in a lack of emotional motivation. However, the adepts of this brand culture model claim that it provides the necessary freedom, allows experts to discover their potential fully, and reach maximum satisfaction from their work, not restricted by imposed standards.
Goal-oriented brand culture
Just like liberal brand culture, this model is pretty individual and oriented on the personal satisfaction and performance of each employee. However, some might say that goal-oriented brand culture is a pretty predator approach to approaching the team’s relationships.
In this case, the career perspectives, salaries, bonuses, and many other moral and material reward features are based on the individual performance of each employee, which creates a pretty competitive atmosphere within the company. While some may say that goal-oriented business culture is rather pushy and stressful, others claim that it is the most efficient organizational principle that allows a company to achieve its goals faster, driven by the personal involvement and commitment of each employee.
Moreover, goal-oriented brand culture is also most beneficial for customers. Oriented on result and efficiency, salespeople are often much more responsive and active in the communication with a prosperous customer and provide a more comprehensive service that helps establish long-term relationships.The key to a successful adaption of goal-oriented brand culture is to plant into employees` minds an idea that the brand is as strong as each team member. At the same time, each individual within the company is an integral part of the brand and its identity. This principle of mutual dependence builds solid long-term relationships between a brand and its employees.
Development-oriented brand culture
Competition is the core of market development in every industry. Brands that adopt the development-oriented culture are often the ones that create that competitive atmosphere.
Unlike companies that are always in a race to take over the masked, development-orient brands usually take the observant position and spend most of their time accumulating and analyzing the data they get about the market leaders. Such companies are most successful and essential on the market as they popularize the new trends, make them available, adjust for a more expansive auditorium and stimulate the further growth of the market.
Employees of development-oriented brands are often stimulated with the urge to take the existing technology and find an innovative approach that would make it more versatile, available, and practical. The policy of such brands focuses on stimulating employees` ability to observe and analyze information and think out of the box, providing unconventional solutions.
Experts often refer to such brands as change-makers since they are primarily oriented on improvement rather than a reinvention of existing concepts or searching for untapped market segments.
Development-oriented brand culture is particularly significant for the economy as it eliminates the threat of market monopolization. Even if a specific industry gets dominated by a particular brand, development-oriented companies force it to move forward, offering competitive prices, services, and features that play into the hands of consumers.
Development-oriented brand culture stimulates local economies, preventing them from being stalled or suffocated by monopolists. Such brands often preach an ethical and fair approach to business, becoming the leaders of the modern economy.
Restless brand culture
Unlike the previous ones, restless brands are in a constant race for the big prize. They always want to be on the top of the game and tend to become monopolists of various industries and market segments. Those are the brands that managed to associate multiple products with their names. For example, in many countries, diapers are called Pampers everywhere, regardless of the brand of the given product. For many people, iPhone is the only name for a smartphone, while Tesla has become a common term for electric cars.
The atmosphere of restless brands is always pretty competitive but does not orient on individual performance like in the goal-oriented brand culture. On the contrary, employees of a restless company identify themselves with a brand, becoming its integral part.
Restless brands often support teamwork and separate their employees into groups or sectors, each responsible for a particular operation. While eliminating the inner competitiveness, restless brands translate the energy and ambition of their employees on the market competition, rewarding team members for the brand’s success like it was their own.
Restless brands are famous for their customer-oriented policies. User experience is the most critical decision-making factor for them. That is why they often create products based on customer’s demands and existing preferences, rather than introducing innovative solutions that may be misunderstood or can forestall the present.
Due to this customer-oriented policy, restless brands often become most successful despite the fact that they hardly offer any revolutionary solutions. However, unlike development-oriented brands, they don’t observe competitors adapting their technologies. On the contrary, restless brands focus on their own data, history of previous success, customers` response to updates, and feedback from regulars.
Restless brands are mainly concentrated on their public image, the name, and emotional attachment to it. In many cases, it is a winning strategy as both customers and investors base their decisions towards restless brands on the desire to be associated with a successful name.
Brand culture is not a kind of recipe that describes how we build a successful enterprise. It is more of a manner of speech, slang, than a brand can adopt to reach prosperous customers and establish trustworthy relationships within the company.
Despite the fact that some brand cultures are commonly recognized in particular industries and are considered to be unacceptable in others, unconventional approach and the ability to think out of the box are often the main success features that allow numerous companies success precisely due to their otherness.
If brand culture is a DNA code of the company, its idea not just to make an enterprise work and become livable but also give it unique features that would become attractive for qualified employees, prosperous customers, and investors.
Another essential thing to remember, that, unlike DNA, brand culture is a dynamic and adjustable matter. It can be changed and transferred almost instantly according to a company’s goals, expectations, or based on the current experience.