Brand Culture: The benefits of focusing on your internal branding

Isabelle Debnam
Orange Digital
Published in
6 min readFeb 16, 2021


Your brand culture not only impacts your external results but also plays a huge part in attracting the right people as part of your recruitment strategy. This is the beginning of a new year, and the perfect opportunity to do a bit of a reset and reflect on whether you are falling victim to the 6 reasons brands typically fail…

Whether your customers know it or not, brand culture is what they buy into when they do business with you. Now, I’m not talking about what you say you do. I’m talking about how you operate at your core — your company values, attitude, and brand promise that’s communicated both internally and externally.

Here’s a nice little definition…

“Brand culture is the culture that a company cultivates in order to powerfully, consistently and competitively deliver its brand to market”
Branding Strategy Insider

At Orange Digital, we communicate our company culture through a lot of visual mediums (as you’d only expect from a creative agency). If you’re familiar with our brand, you may have noticed that we feature our people, or “Creatures”, in our photography, social content, and a lovely little video series called the “Creatures of Orange”. We celebrate our company values and team culture through team dress-up days, foosball tournaments, and regular in-house events.

Just some of the Orange Digital team in all their stylish glory

Our brand culture is at the core of everything we do. So much so, we even have our very own Culture Book — ft the history, our values, and wonderfully custom illustrations. Not only does every team member have their own copy, but it’s also an excellent tool for us to share our culture with clients and friends of Orange. After all, we’re a service-based business — aka people working with people.

Some of the Orange Digital values brought to life

Now that you know a bit more about our brand culture, I’m going to share 6 reasons that brands typically fail and some things to keep in mind if your culture is needing a bit of rebuilding.

1. Breaking your brand promise

The more that your company can deliver on your promise, the stronger your brand value will be perceived in the eyes of both customers and employees. A prime example of this is BMW vs Volvo:

BMW’s brand promise is; “The Ultimate Driving Machine”
Volvo promises; “Safety”

BMW promise to produce only the most efficient and elegant vehicles, while Volvo pledges that their cars give you a better chance of surviving an accident than any other model. Both brands own their promise and more importantly, deliver on it! If your promise is undefined or unclear, this is a great place to start.

2. Being inauthentic

We live in a world where people click on pretty quickly if you’re feeding them BS. Consumers are more educated than ever and are craving genuine, authentic interactions, services, and experiences. You know who you are, and you know what you do best. So own it. Don’t cover it in sprinkles and pretend your brand is something that it’s not.

3. Losing touch with customer perception

Customer perception is an ever-changing and evolving thing. This is why it’s super important for you to keep your finger on the pulse of your customers’ needs, motivations, and personal values. Take the COVID pandemic, for example, consumers are more than ever preferring brands that consider cleanliness, a sense of community, and care for the environment.

If you’re not surveying or speaking with your customers regularly, consider this the gentle reminder you needed.

4. Telling ineffectual brand stories

Do you know that old saying, “better safe than sorry”? In this scenario, do the exact opposite. If you’re blending into a sea of ‘sameness’ with no clear, compelling or unique differentiation from your competitors, then it’s probably time to pump the brakes and do a bit of brand soul searching to figure out what makes you special.

On this note, Simon Sinek has a great quote if you need a little boost of inspiration:

“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it and what you do simply proves what you believe.”

I’ll leave you to ponder on that for a moment…

5. Having a chaotic brand architecture

Brand architecture refers to how the brands within a group are organised — they help audiences access and relate to a brand. A successful brand architecture allows a consumer to form an opinion for the entire brand family, based on the interactions with only one brand.

Take the Google ‘Alphabet’ for example. It was a slightly controversial move in the eyes of many, but it has allowed the group to define clear goals and structures for each of the subsidiaries, while still focusing on the core business in the software, internet, and online advertising realms.

Google Alphabet — image source Pinterest

6. Being internally misaligned
Even though it’s number 6 on this list, it’s actually the MOST critical element of building a strong company culture. If your internal stakeholders (from frontline staff to leadership) don’t align with your company values or purpose… well basically you can’t be authentic, you can’t keep your brand promise and you can’t tell effective brand stories.

Now that you understand the theory behind it all, I want to share a couple of examples that put it into practice.

Orange Digital Culture Book — who we are

Example 1: Customers buy your culture

Ethos Orthodontics is one of Australia’s most respected and experienced Orthodontics brands and a long-term client of Orange Digital. They have an incredibly rich brand culture, quality of service, and professionalism. We worked with them to ‘humanise’ their brand while demonstrating their expertise through a video series called “A Day In The Life”.

Example 2: Culture first recruiting

Often when you’re recruiting, it can be challenging to convey the daily responsibilities of a role, let alone the company culture, values, career opportunities, and benefits. We (Orange Digital) worked with Panthera Finance Group to produce a recruitment video that communicated inclusivity, diversity, career opportunities, and the genuine pride their employees have in being part of PFG. You can watch the video here.

So, there you have it. I hope that has inspired you to take a minute and analyse whether you are falling victim to any of the 6 reasons that brands can typically fail.

Once you build the foundations of strong brand culture, you are more likely to outperform your competitors over time, drive customer advocacy and attract the ‘right’ type of employees.

If you want to learn more about how to strengthen your brand culture, the Orange Digital team is always keen for a coffee and a chat.

You can also keep an eye on our Orange Events page for upcoming events where you have the opportunity to learn from our specialists on a range of topics.

I recently presented on this topic at an Orange Digital ‘Breakfast with Orange’ event alongside Brendan Pearce and Petrus Pommé.

Originally published at on February 16, 2021.