Company culture is your brand - It's also the DNA and north star for success. What's your recipe for success?
Your DNA ‒ foster a culture where people will grow and thrive
A strong company culture directly impacts the bottom line
As a marketing specialist who’s passionate about working with entrepreneurs and SMEs, I’ve read many articles and spoken with several CEOs over the years about how they create competitive advantages for their business, particularly when they are working in a space where competition is rife. With rival business snapping at their heels and poaching staff and clients alike, the challenges are many.
Which begs the question ‒ what is the secret sauce for building competitive advantage in a crowded market? When there are many digital agencies like iCrossing, seemingly offering very similar services, how do we stand out?
For me, a defining factor is creating a company culture that builds a brand people not only want to work for, but clients want to work with. Historically, many business leaders have disregarded or overlooked investment in the culture of their company, while other businesses, such as Amazon, make it a priority. Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos, firmly believes fostering a culture that favours high standards drives business results ‒ and when you look at its global expansion since its launch in Washington, USA, in July 1994, who can argue?
There are many success stories of brands deploying strategies that align with their values to appear more attractive to new recruits and clients. Fashion and retail brand Burton organises Burton Snowboards & ‘Snow Days’, where staff receive a paid-for ski pass and access to free kit for some fun on the slopes; Starbucks offers employees ‘Further Education’, whereby they have the opportunity to earn a bachelor’s degree; Netflix offers ‘Flexibility’, allowing staff the freedom to decide where, when and how to tackle appointed tasks and deadlines, plus it provides its staff with the same benefits as its customers. All of these aligned activities go a long way to really foster a strong company culture.
In previous decades, shareholders would have been the central focus for a company, yet now, quite rightly, employees are at the heart of everything. This means company culture plays a central role in providing a supportive environment that fuels productivity and helps to attract and retain the right staff. A strong company culture also plays a key role in building a competitive advantage to attract and retain the right clients. When a client knows and feels that you personally care about the success of their business, trusted long-term relationships are formed. There are many strategies that will attract customers to your company, but a sustainable advantage, such as your company culture, will help to retain their loyalty over a longer period of time.
I have three guiding principles: moral compass, amazing people and company culture. A ‘moral compass’ because I enjoy working with people who share the same values; ‘amazing people’ because it’s great to work with people who are friends as well as colleagues; and ‘company culture’ as this means living your brand values, in everything you do ‒ internally and externally.
‘Culture is a thousand things, a thousand times. It’s living the core values when you hire; when you write an email; when you are working on a project; when you are walking in the hall.’ -
-Brian Chesky, CEO, Airbnb
Like a boomerang, I’m back! I first worked in-house with Mediablaze (the agency acquired by iCrossing) back in 2015, as a marketing and communications consultant, having left a business that ranked No.1 in the Sunday Times Tech Track, Deloitte Fast 50 and Deloitte Fast 500. In that company's epic trajectory of expansion, we scooped numerous specialist industry awards, whilst also investing in a company culture that fuelled growth year-on-year, attracting top talent from our competitors and interest from their clients too.
So, what drew me back into the fold? Simple ‒ the people, their passion for what they do, and the company culture that’s been created over the past 10 years. As we move forwards as a team, we’ll continue to celebrate success, create a healthy life/work balance, and have a lot of fun along the way. It feels fantastic to be back in the mix.
If you are looking for a digital agency that has a great company culture, that cares about what’s keeping its customers up at night, and will go the extra mile to deliver amazing results, then get in touch, we'd love to hear from you.
We believe that moving too slowly in digital is the biggest risk your business faces. If you are ready to move faster in digital, we are here to help.