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Brand And Culture: Why You Can’T Do One Without The Other

Like the proverbial chicken and egg, brand and culture are inseparable and must lead to each other. In fairness, they were so idealized it would have been tough for any culture to measure up, but they faced the unique problem of a near-toxic culture on the inside of a glimmering brand. Brand and culture are inextricably linked-and each should enhance the other-and the relationship between brand and culture is a critical dynamic to manage. Rather than managing brand and culture separately, you must manage them in tandem because brand is the outside-in and culture is the inside-out view of the same set of characteristics[ii]. If a brand is a promise to your market, culture is “The way things get done around here”-the accumulation of behaviors, norms, assumptions, and values that results in “What people do when no one is looking.” How the work proceeds internally influence the external experience, and how employees are treated is mirrored in how they treat customers. A brand that promises high quality must be supported by a culture of excellence, rigor and constructive feedback-otherwise, how will you deliver quality? A brand that sets the expectation for cutting edge innovation must be matched by a culture of psychological safety in which people feel free to take risks, test new ideas and try novel approaches. Place is the most visible artifact of culture and it sends messages about your culture and your brand that are both implicit and explicit.

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