Even without putting pen to paper, your company has had a culture since day one. It could be fantastic and a lovely place to be for both staff and clients alike, or it could be very different to the culture you had imagined when you took that leap of faith and started your business. But why is company culture important and how does it affect any content and marketing you produce?
Hang on, what is ‘company culture’?
Good question! The definitions are varied and a couple of the better descriptions I’ve stumbled upon of company culture, otherwise referred to as ‘organisational culture’ include:
‘The values and behaviours that contribute to the unique social and psychological environment of an organisation’
‘The personality of a company that defines the environment in which employees work, including work environment, company mission, value, ethics, expectations and goals’
‘The reflection of the beliefs, values and behaviours of everyone in your workforce’
To sum it up, if ‘culture’ is defined as the ideas, customs and social behaviour of a group or society, then your company culture describes the behaviours, beliefs and values that hold true within your company.
You experience company culture on a regular basis when you step into any business. As vague as it sounds, you can feel it - or at least learn to recognise it. You know when you’re in a place where the employees are genuinely happy to be there and the atmosphere is light-hearted, friendly and person-centred - you feel relaxed and content there. You also feel when you go into a business where employees are stressed, frantic, barely look up to acknowledge you and you know they’re counting down the minutes until business hours are over. They want to get out and so do you. Both of these scenarios are a reflection on the culture a company has cultivated.
Okay, so my company already has a culture. Why do I need to write down culture statements?
Culture is fluid. It is influenced and affected by those in it, whether it be positive and negative. Therefore, it can help you build the right team whose values reflect the culture that you seek to cultivate. These will be the people that will thrive in your working environment and importantly, when you leave them in charge and they have to make decisions, you know these decisions will be in the best interest of the company and aligned with your values. People that have consistent needs, values and goals are also likely to be more productive and develop better relationships with colleagues.
Having defined and reflective statements can then serve as everything from a guide to behaviour in the workplace to a recruitment and retainment tool to aiding in the decision making process of important company decisions. For example, if everyone is on board with the same vision, the question of "should we offer clients this new cost-effective but sub-standard product?" becomes "would offering this new product reflect what we believe if we know it’s a lower quality product and we stand by providing our clients with nothing below excellent?" - and the answer shouldn't require a great deal of thought.
Let's get to the content. How does my culture statement help my content and marketing?
Your content, whether it’s through your website or a form of advertising, is likely to be the first interaction a potential client has with your company and their first impression of you. You want any content to be as reflective of your culture and values as possible (while serving it’s primary purpose such as being informative about a service).
Having content that is truly reflective of your company and culture can set you apart from others offering a similar service in a similar area and even attract the types of clients you want. If your clinic is grounded in the health of families and children, then your content should reflect how family-friendly you are and the way you work with kids, teens, adults and the elderly alike. If there is nothing in your content that portrays how you enjoy working with kids and the effort you put in to making your clinic child-friendly, how do you expect to specifically attract young families?
It also produces a consistent feel throughout all of your content, from your website to marketing to information brochures and blogs that can be inferred to your products and services. Think of Apple products for example. Apple make their culture and beliefs about innovative products that enrich the lives of their users so clear that whether we like Apple or not, we know when we purchase their product it’s going to be filled with the latest high-quality technology. You can apply the same principles through your content to help your clients gain an idea of the kind of service they’re going to receive too. Just make sure it’s the right one!
Time to get writing!
If you haven’t already, write down your culture statements and importantly, ensure that anyone writing your content is familiar with these values and statements so they can produce content and marketing that is truly reflective of your company. Good luck!