20 May How to Leverage Your Culture to Build a Community
The explosion of digital marketing efforts placed upon social media in recent years has created an unusual view of the role culture plays in driving sales. We employ Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the rest to build communities that are generally made up of those that are already consumers of our product or service. The hope is those consumers will exhibit (or be artificially portrayed to exhibit) a culture that is attractive to others. Those others will join the community and, we expect, become consumers themselves. Rinse and repeat.
Social media presence is necessary, but not sufficient to create these hypothetical consumers. In fact, you may be ignoring the real cultural wellspring right under your nose, one that leads to concrete, not aspirational, sales growth.
The culture of your own organization, that is, the entirety of social capital from management down to an entry-level employee, is crucial not just for productivity’s sake, but for marketing as well. And we aren’t just talking about the values you jot down in a company handbook and hope to espouse in your workforce, either. We’re also talking about the attitudes and behaviors that spring forth naturally and are unique to your organization.
|How to Get Internal Culture to Work for You|
|Requires:||Open, two-way communication between workforce and management (using web, apps, audio-visual)||Effective content that highlight the aspects of organizational culture you want to present to consumers (via video or web)||Once internal culture is united, broadcast your culture to consumers (facilitated by written or filmed examples)|
|Outcome:||Discover the practices, behaviors, and culture present throughout your organization worthy of emulation||Unify organization behind common goals; increase morale and visibility of exemplary staff||Consumers recognize organizational culture worthy of their interest; respond with increased brand loyalty/sales|
To play off an old, if still enlightening example: Think for a moment about Apple and IBM of yesteryear. Compare IBM’s perceived culture of stodgy suits and tradition to that of Apple’s free-wheeling hippies working out of a garage. Each characterization is certainly indicative of the companies’ origins, but aren’t necessarily accurate today. Yet Apple and IBM both continue to broadcast these cultural affectations because it plays well to their respective audiences— those most likely to repay their efforts with sales.
Aligning your company’s brand (at least in part) upon internal culture facilitates spreading that culture on to consumers. Consumers that buy into your organization’s culture are more likely to be enthusiastic buyers of your products and services, as well. Bringing this back around to your social-media efforts: This culture can and should be used as a template for any community-building in a social media and content marketing strategy. It is likely to be much more effective than any brand designed top-down to be foisted upon a fabricated community. Be genuine and let the consumer come to you.