Stop Marketing Products and Services. Your Company Culture Will Attract the Ideal Customers

Company CultureA good product or service practically sold itself in the past, but not anymore. Today, customers put their money in businesses that demonstrate a strong company culture with values that match their own.

A savvy entrepreneur puts the development of an attractive company culture at the forefront of their growth plans; it's not an afterthought. Your customers want to be a part of your brand; they want to support companies that represent their own global views or satisfy them beyond a typical purchase. They want their purchase to be an experience, not a transaction.

For services like my own, clients want to work with someone who has experienced similar challenges and demonstrates empathy, understanding, and the expertise to conquer those challenges. Appropriately crafted, your brand story hits home with your ideal prospect and helps them to know they are in good hands.

Of course, Apple and Nike are the kings of brand storytelling. Nike's Just Do It and Equality campaigns are iconic. In the Equality campaign,  the sportswear giant positions the company as a force for positive social change. A consumer's Nike purchases represent more than just a pair of sneakers and branded workout gear. Buyers want to become a part of a collective movement by wearing Nike products. And their campaigns create brand loyalists who engage on social media by sharing and commenting about their own experiences.

One of my favorite Apple ads aired way back in 2013, but it still sticks in my mind. It's about a misunderstood teen and how he ends up creating a very touching family holiday video. This ad holds an aha moment because it teaches us that we don't have to talk about the product or service to inspire our audiences. You wouldn't even know this is an Apple ad until the very end. If you've never seen this one, check it out.

Here's what you need to know about building and marketing your culture and brand story.

Your company culture is the cake.

Company culture is just the icing on the cake to some business owners, but those entrepreneurs are way off base. Your culture is not the icing; it is the cake. Savvy consumers and decision-makers look for the story behind the company before they buy. Like the cake, your culture has many carefully measured ingredients: values, happy team members who represent the values, work environment, brand image, voice, and story, world views, product quality, and proper procedures. There's more, of course, and it's a lot to manage, but without the cake, there is no icing to entice your ideal consumer.

Your brand needs a voice.

Storytelling is a powerful marketing technique. A compelling story will build a network of brand loyalists who connect with your company because of what it stands for. It's worth hiring a content writer or marketing agency to help you identify your story. It's not enough to put a cool story on your website; it must become an integral part of your marketing collateral. Spread the news on the various marketing channels available to you. Make sure your brand is cohesive across all channels. Talk about the “why” behind your business so that people can identify with it and feel eager to support you.

You and your team members should tell the same story.

Storytelling is memorable and persuasive–statistics are not. Make sure that anyone who represents your business uses your story, not boring stats. Teach them to tell the same story; one that it's truthful and compelling. This goal means spending time with your team. Familiarize them with your values and mission statement and what they mean. Do role-reversal exercises to practice their responses to consumer questions and objections. Allow your team members to contribute to the culture with suggestions and insights.

Trust is one of the top influencers of purchasing decisions. The integrity that's woven into the fabric of your culture is demonstrated through the behavior of those in the field. You and your sales team should be armed with the same answers to challenging questions. The way you handle objections tells a story about your company; make sure it's favorable.

If you work solo, do these exercises on your own. Many coaches and consultants stumble over the tough questions. If you feel your values to the core, you will speak truthfully and passionately about your services, and that's what your future client is seeking.

Many entrepreneurs argue that they have no time to build an intentional culture. As my quote at the top of this article implies, the results of a neglected culture are often catastrophic. Begin by identifying your personal values, then what your company stands for. Think big, beyond the scope of money-making activities. Reach deep within yourself to develop your “why” and the story and actions to bring your dreams to fruition.

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