How Brand + Corporate Culture = The Right Foot
By Sue Borgeson, Director of Marketing
A few years ago, I decided I needed a career refresh— check out a different industry, learn some new skills, meet some new people. It wasn’t long before I had my first interview with a small company in an industry that I knew absolutely nothing about.
I was excited about the prospects, and, for the first time in my career, would experience the sheer volume of information available to job seekers—thanks to the exploding age of digital and social media in the corporate world. Oh. My. Gosh. Overwhelmed. Where to start? What to believe? Wow!
So as with most things, I began with the end in mind and scoured every inch of this company’s website. I micro-studied LinkedIn—who worked there? What made this place tick? What made their team show up every day? Why would their clients continue doing business with them? Facebook wasn’t corporate mainstream, yet. Glassdoor didn’t exist nor did Google Review. Even LinkedIn had yet to reach the momentum it has today. I called people that knew people that knew people. I was pumped! I couldn’t wait to get to this interview!
The interview didn’t go as swell as I thought it would. I recall watching the building disappear in my rear view mirror as I drove away. I blew it, and I knew it. I even knew the precise moment in time it all unraveled, and I don’t even wear a watch.
Halfway through the interview, our conversation segued into a discussion about corporate culture. In that moment, the owner began an address on the notion that company culture, “really is nothing more than a cover for rehashing the previous night’s episode of American Idol during the morning break with co- workers.” “Clients love all the marketing smoke and mirrors” but he would never allow it to cloud the thinking of the people who worked for him. No. Not a chance.I mentally reworked this company’s website all the way home. How could they be okay with displaying the Mission Statement. Core values. Company culture ad nauseum? And, all above the fold before anyone even knew about the fold. I had this stuff memorized. Forward. Backwards. I felt tricked and let down.
I bounced back quickly from the experience but viewed his short-sightedness as a gift. I also made my way to another company. One that understands how corporate culture equates to brand and brand equates to corporate culture. That its more than a logo or a mission statement with core values on the front page of a website. That it’s about engaging and connecting an entire organization through a brand that stands for something. A brand where everyone on board knows what it is and why it matters. It’s clear and consistent. It represents hard work. It takes time. And, yes, it can and will try your patience. But, at the end of the day, your brand, your culture is your promise. A promise to your team, to your clients, to your community that they can always count on you to start off on the right foot.