Service culture affects the bottom line. A company’s internal culture must be aligned with external culture. A product or service may be innovative for a couple months or even years, but eventually it will be copied. What then distinguishes a brand? Service.
A brand’s service culture may be one of its only remaining differentiators in a market of ever-consolidating, commoditized products and services. Brands that compete on price alone are racing to the bottom. They must stand out through culture.
Corporate culture, once defined by free food, weekly yoga and foosball tables, is something much more. It’s about how a company engages with its employees and its clients. The C-suite is starting to understand that corporate culture must be purposely created. No longer viewed as frivolous; it’s a key part of any brand’s authentic DNA, and if structured and nurtured correctly, it can become one of a brand’s most unique and powerful tools in its marketing toolbox.
Whether you know it or not, your company has a culture. Culture happens, good or bad, with or without active participation from leadership. Corporate culture can be determined by identifying, sharing and building a culture on a company’s guiding values — and yes, every brand should have clear guiding values. Corporate culture can foster creativity and free ideation or fear and stifling introversion. Either way, you will never know unless you examine and take an active part in structuring the culture your brand deserves and assure it is aligned with the values of your leadership and your brand.
Getting Executive Buy-In
If leadership doesn’t buy in, company culture will be a free-for-all, no matter how many motivational posters you hang of people in a row boat or holding hands while jumping from an airplane. Your culture has to resonate with your leadership, and it has to be authentic. Hiring practices follow suit: The people you hire must not only have the skills you need, but they must also have the personality, demeanor and value system that aligns with your brand. Hiring for cultural fit is another way culture design can clearly hit your bottom line. Attracting and retaining great talent aligned with your culture and goals makes for more productive people, more in-sync departments and a culture where failure and success are equally important.
Develop a Service Culture
At Bigbuzz Marketing Group, where I work, we discovered one of top priorities for future improvement was to add more structure to our culture. We needed to improve internal service to one another on our team and external service to our client partners. This factor is often overlooked by companies, but it can mean the difference between having people and projects that fail or succeed.
Work with a trusted agency partner to help structure, articulate and implement your brand’s service culture. Create a purpose statement or common goal for all members of your organization, stated as simply and accurately as possible. Articulate service standards, a few words outlining the priorities that define your culture. Finally, define performance behaviors, a list of observable behaviors for which people can be held accountable, such as having a positive attitude, curiosity and integrity.
Advertising is just one tool in the marketing toolbox. Brands need a 360-degree holistic approach to their brand building. Service culture affects all aspects of the brand, which is why it’s so important to get it right.
About the Author | Kevin Kelly
Kevin Kelly is President and Founder of Bigbuzz Marketing Group, having launched the firm in his Long Island garage in 1995. Today, he oversees the agency’s client relationships, develops and innovates its suite of services and provides the creative vision for long-term growth from the firm’s office in Manhattan.