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In today’s extremely competitive business environment, it’s crucial that companies identify points of differentiation from which to gain marketplace advantage. An underutilized but potentially lethal weapon in a business’ arsenal can be found within: its culture.
Every company has a culture, including yours. That culture is made up of many intangibles, both spoken and unspoken—from your company’s values and beliefs to its character and experience. It’s who your company is. It’s what your company is about.
When done right, it’s the place from which your brand naturally emerges—creating a brand story that helps your business rise above market challenges and connect with employees and customers alike. In fact, when people buy into your brand—meaning that your culture is understood, trusted and embraced by your audience—it then becomes a vital part of their identity, a statement about who they are.
The impact of this can’t be undersold. On one hand, it generates long-term devotion—just look at customer-loyal brands like Apple or Harley-Davidson. On the other, it can attract a highly skilled, passionate and engaged workforce—Google, for instance, averages 5 applications per minute thanks to their dynamic, creative and innovative internal culture. When a brand reaches its target market in this way, it can grow your business quicker and more effectively than any other catalyst.
So how can you begin to harness your culture for maximum results?
Look to employees.
Passionate employees can be influential in proclaiming your brand’s story. And today they also have an incredible range of media that they can utilize—particularly social media—in order to amplify that message.
Identify brand ambassadors.
Ask clients and early adopters of your products or services to promote your brand to related audiences. Having such devotees rate and promote the value of their user experience can speak louder than any marketing campaign.
Lastly, keep in mind that your competition can reproduce almost anything you do. The only thing they can’t? Your unique culture—the one thing that truly sets your business apart.