Why regional firms must focus on culture
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Why regional firms must focus on culture

Why regional firms must focus on culture

The secret to business success lies in building the right culture which in turn will build your brand


If anything, the pandemic made it clear for all business leaders, regardless of the industry, that it will not be enough to just sell good products and services moving forward. In the current world of immense competition, with easy access to information and technology, it’s really challenging to differentiate on the product benefits or solely rely on a clever business strategy.

Consumers and clients require brands which have a purpose and which deliver on brand experience.

Connecting brand and culture

The secret formula that we all might be looking for is indeed in front of us. Extraordinary success starts from within: it starts from the culture. But how?

Let me start with a simple question: Does 2+2 equal 4?

In the context of organisational culture and group behaviour, I believe this question’s correct answers vary.

Think about the times that a team added up to be much greater than the sum of their individual parts, while in other cases just the opposite.

For instance, we have seen all-star teams that are created with extremely well-paid and world-famous players, only to fail together as a team. They technically had everything needed to deliver the brand experience they promised to their fans – a great game to watch and a win – but the outcome was just the opposite.

Most of us in the corporate world have all seen this in our organisations.

What was different or missing?

It’s the secret sauce: the transparent interaction and force within every business – the unspoken dynamics that lead boosting or diminishing performances and results. The culture.

Culture is a very powerful force in business success. We sense its powerful presence inside and out, but it’s transparent. It’s like the climate; you can’t touch it or hold it but it manifests in every touchpoint of the business. It’s a make-or-break kind of matter. Extraordinary success comes from an aligned brand experience which is built through its culture.

Luckily, we now can measure it’s impact on the bottomline. Research was conducted by Harvard Business School over a 11-year period found that organisations that focused on shaping their culture outperformed their competitors: revenues were 4.1 times higher, stock price was 12.2 times higher and return on investment was 15 times higher.

We know that it works. But very often it’s overlooked due its very complex nature.

How to build the culture that will build your brand?

While there is no simple answer to that question, there are three key points that need to be addressed by any business.

  1. There is no one size fits all solution

In the movie Miracle, US Olympic team coach Herb Brooks (played by actor Kurt Russell) says, “I am not looking for the best players. I am looking for the right players.” The same goes in the game of culture. There is no one definition of what is the best culture. It needs to be designed bespoke to each and every brand, true to its own nature and dynamics. This why copying stand alone culture initiatives of one company will most probably not serve another company.

This is why it is very important for the leadership to do the work, aligning the brand positioning and values to the employee experience.

  1. Placing purpose and people at the heart

It all starts with purpose – why does your brand exist beyond making money? I cannot underline the importance of having an overarching purpose which addresses brand and culture.

And people are the key resource to manifest that purpose, hence their personal purpose should be in line with the company’s overarching purpose.

I strongly believe the hiring and interviewing process is a great place to start thinking about culture. Hiring the right people is the best shortcut to building the right culture for your brand. We need to change the “employer and employee” mindset to “finding the right match” mindset, from a one-way decision maker to two-way mutual agreements.

Most importantly, we should not be looking for the ‘culture fit’ but rather beyond, to ‘culture enablers’ as culture is a living thing that is ever evolving, just like the brand.

  1. Brand is culture and vice versa

One of the key mistakes that even big organisations make is to think of brand and culture as two separate concepts. Brand is culture and culture is brand. They build the experience together. If the purpose is not aligned, there is a huge gap between the outcome planned and what the organisation is building.

It is about time leaders acknowledge that assigning culture to HR and marketing will not support them in achieving extraordinary success. The magic will happen when brand meets culture.

Nurcin Erdogan is a brand culture consultant and executive coach



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