Which Comes First – Culture Or Brand?

ChickenLike the proverbial chicken and the egg, it’s impossible to put brand and culture in a linear order.

And that makes perfect sense. Because they are not separate, discrete entities – they are one and the same.  In today’s connected world, culture and brand are mirror reflections of each other.

Brand is truth

Your brand isn’t just a logo or an advertising campaign – things that can be seen and touched. And it isn’t a one-way story that you direct and control from the inside out.  Brand is truth. It’s a promise, an inspiration, a powerful motivator and a source of pride. And that truth evolves from the full experience your stakeholders – most especially your own people – have with your organization.

Experiences influence beliefs

Think about the positive emotional connection that you have with certain organizations – maybe even your own. You don’t feel that way because you’re being told what to believe. Instead, you feel a sense of shared values, a common purpose. A synergy.

Why did Google place first on LinkedIn’s Most In Demand Employers and rank as the second-most-admired company in the world by Fortune?  Because they get it. They know that to build an innovative brand, you need to have a culture that supports innovation.

Or, think about the fanatical customer base that brands like BMW, Disney, Apple and LEGO command. They know that brand is more than products or services. It’s the sum of their actions. And that’s one reason they rank among the world’s top-10 most reputable companies.

Now think about those organizations that you don’t feel a connection with.

How does a negative customer service experience color your feelings about a brand? What about high-profile public incidents? How they treat their employees? When the culture is broken, the brand has no truth.

No brand is an island

Executives often think of branding as an external effort and culture as an internal effort. Not true.

Everything you do affects your brand – the way you lead, the culture you foster, the product you make, the value you bring to your customers and to the world. Brand – like culture — is a dynamic, living energy.  And – good or bad – your people are your brand’s most powerful voice.

That’s why smart re-brands and brand evolution can’t happen in a marketing communications silo or be viewed as just another expense. Rather, a much more strategic and holistic approach is required to express the true and powerful essence of your organization.

If you’d like to learn more about the connection between culture and brand, reach out to us at Harmony Crew. It’s what we do, and we’d love to hear from you!

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