Picture this. Your marketing campaigns captivate your customers. Your sales team seals the deal. Your post-sales teams believe they have delivered their best. And you believe all is well.
But then, your customers come back indicating they are unhappy. They say you fell short. And did not meet expectations and deliver as promised.
This starts off an internal debate amongst your employees. Your support team assures customers they would escalate the matter and get it resolved. Delivery teams find fault with the sales team for setting incorrect expectations. The sales team points to the product team and argues that other teams do not understand the struggles of selling. The marketing team says the beautiful campaigns dished out were based on the briefing they received.
Meanwhile, having kept waiting for a resolution, some customers have almost given up hope of getting the issues attended to. The result: customer dissatisfaction and churn. They form a strong opinion: it’s just fancy marketing and hype; your organization does not deliver as promised. In spite of your organisation’s intent to delight customers, your brand perception is severely diluted.
Salvaging these situations may seem obvious. But customer issues are just one part of the problem. The issues run deep and are most often a result of the operating climate within the organization. That climate is what we commonly refer to as the ‘culture’ of the organization.
CULTURE IS WHERE BRAND BUILDING STARTS
Many organisations operate with a narrow understanding that anything brand-related is the marketing team’s playfield. They fail to recognize that the entire organisation carries this responsibility of building and nurturing the brand through the experiences they deliver. Customer experience is how companies engage with customers through the entire course of the relationship.
A positive experience can result in lasting relationships and loyalty. While a poor experience means loss of trust, brand dilution, and will even mark the end of a customer relationship with that brand.
Your organisation’s culture is the top factor that defines the quality of brand experiences delivered by your employees. The environment in which your people operate and contribute is what makes culture a key driver of performance.
Employees are constantly communicating, either through their direct interactions with customers or through the design of your products, processes, and procedures.
All of us have personal experiences of brand marketing campaigns being impressive, while the actual delivery being riddled with gross inconsistencies on other fronts. This is a clear indicator of employee misalignment, and that organisation culture and brand building efforts are driven by different sets of values.
So, what can you as a leader do to build a culture that enables your brand?
As a business leader, your communication conveys the values that are important for your employees to operate and perform. These values originate from a core story that set the tone for your organisation’s culture.
You, as a leader, own the responsibility of enabling the right environment by communicating and aligning your managers and employees to your brand’s core story.
A simple way to get to know if your culture is enabling your brand is to find your answers to two questions:
- What stories are customers and employees telling about your brand?
- How do these stories measure up compared to the core purpose of your business?
The experiences your organisation delivers is an indicator of the operating culture and the degree of alignment to the core purpose of your business.