Guidelines to building a strong Brand-Culture Connection at your organisation

by | Aug 15, 2023 | Brand Expression, Business planning, Corporate culture

In this series on Brand Culture Strategy, we break down the basics over 3 articles:

  1. Why your Organisation needs a strong Brand-Culture Connection
  2. How to assess your current Brand-Culture Connection strengths and gaps
  3. Guidelines to building a better Brand-Culture Connection at your organisation

#2: Guidelines to building a strong Brand-Culture Connection at your organisation

In Article 1 of the Brand Culture Strategy Series, you’ve understood the need for a strong brand-culture connection as the foundation of everything you do at your organisation. In Article 2, you started to assess the strength of your current brand-culture connection.

In the third and final article of the series, we offer some high-level guidelines to building a Brand-Culture Connection Strategy.

1. Assess and (plan to) Address.

Our method starts with taking clients through the Brand Culture Connection Discovery, which typically involves our Brand Culture Strategy Checklist based on the 3 Pillars outlined in article 2 of this series. When we look at the results from the checklist, we can quickly start to see which pillars represent a current roadblock (very often, it’s all 3) and delving deeper in conversation or running through a secondary exercise we call the ‘Brand Expression Quadrant’, we start to understand the priorities for the organisation.

That’s how we build out a plan, which usually involves:

  • stakeholder research and engagement to identify perceptions, challenges and priorities;
  • leadership strategy facilitations to arrive at decisions about brand and culture messaging;
  • internal communication guidance to get all stakeholders involved efficiently and meaningfully; and
  • team development to support learning and growth.

But let’s break these steps down a bit…

2. Engage your people and uncover the gems!

Your people working on-the-ground, at every level and in every role, have incredible insights into the brand and culture, if you ask them. They can reveal how the brand and culture are perceived and engaged with (or not engaged with!), where are the gaps, challenges and blind spots, and what needs to be the priority to improve team motivation, effectiveness and culture… to ultimately look after your customers.

Focus groups, town halls, surveys and interviews can be structured to engage your people meaningfully in this conversation. Great communication and question-design are needed here to ensure you engage your staff meaningfully, towards a clear outcome.

3. Bring what you’ve found to your strategy and facilitate efficient and meaningful leadership conversations to arrive at results. 

You should involve everyone in the journey, but your brand and culture direction must be led from the top. It’s well worthwhile gathering your leaders into one room for even one day to tackle brand and culture goals and messaging – if effectively designed, this is time well spent that will create exponential value in all areas of the business in the future.

Review your purpose, vision and values, your culture characteristics, your market positioning and your brand promise… and link all of this to your strategy.

4. Connect everything and everyone!

No siloes here! The messaging and decisions you arrive at from your strategic sessions should now be linked to everything you do and everyone they affect… where does this need to inform your strategy, your business plans and KPIs, your People and Culture programs,  your marketing and communications plan, your sales processes, your project management processes, etc. etc.?

Where does it need to connect for your departments, locations and teams… your customers, your wider stakeholders and audiences?

How to create these connections between messaging, people and planning requires a well-thought-out approach and some careful and timely communications, to bring everyone along for the journey and to create clarity and trust in the change process.

5. Upskill, review, refresh, refocus.

Are your leadership and management ready to lead your clarified brand and culture? Are your teams ready to implement the changes you are putting into place? In steering the organisation’s direction, you must look at where your staff may have gaps in their knowledge and skills and be ready to invest further in them. Where are they being called to stretch? How will you need to provide support to set them up for success? If you are not sure – ask them! They will be able to identify some of the starting points.

Brand-Culture Connection Strategy is not a one-and-done! Revisit and review everything your brand and culture touch, at regular intervals, asking what still works and what needs a refresh.

While business conditions, internal factors and strategy change over time, a strong brand and culture identity should be the constant, guiding light to base future decisions upon.