Branding through Cultural Differentiation
When teams meet to talk about how to brand their companies, they often speak of becoming the “Apple” of their industries. This desire to emulate Apple shows how much more complex business has become since the agricultural age.
People often miss the larger role brand plays in creating market value by narrowly defining brand as a mark or general corporate image.
Brand has evolved from something very specific—livestock with a rancher’s mark burned into the hindquarters—to the entire experience with a company. In Apple’s case, that means exceptionally designed, innovative products that seek to delight consumers at every touch point. While a lot of tech companies have changed the face of computing, Apple created massive demand for new industries within technology. In doing so, Apple became the most valuable company on the planet in August 2011.
Build A Loyal Base of Fans
So… just how does an organization ensure that employees deliver the experience it intends in a manner that establishes a loyal fan base and market leadership?
You can start by deliberately creating an employee user experience (EUX™) steeped in Corporate Emotional Intelligence (CEQ). This approach embeds meaningful purpose, core values, and other market winning attributes into the company’s DNA. The end result? Company culture becomes the secret sauce that no one else can duplicate. Few achieve cultural differentiation of this type. It takes discipline and constant attention to how you treat every stakeholder—from employees, to customers, to channel partners… You get the drift.
Relationship management is the focus of the fourth (and final) installment of CEQ. The process begins internally with disciplined hiring practices based on self-awareness combined with a strengths-based, situational leadership that enables people to tap into their potential and work in cross-functional, self managing teams.
Leadership within an organization of this nature cultivates a deep level of trust and the freedom to make and learn from mistakes. By carefully nurturing this type of culture, employees in every role behave consistently with what the company says is important. There is little to no deviation between brand promise and customer experience, and the relationships between the company and its employees feels like a community—as do the relationships between employees and customers.
Artificial Barriers? Not Here
Nearly barrier-free relationships enable functions to work without silos. Multi-directional communication occurs among product development, sales, and marketing to match relevant industry and customer inputs with future plans. In fact, a free flow of direct communications across all departments enable the company to behave consistently and as a ‘whole’ entity. The right hand and the left hand know what the other is doing.
The company establishes a cult-like following of advocates (like Apple and Zappos). People feel wildly successful at work, achieve kick-butt performance, and customers rave about the company. All together, employing the CEQ model can produce market leadership.
Formulating Your Secret Sauce
Theoretically, the above is easy… but perhaps not the first time time you try. If you want help differentiating your company through an experience that delights employees and customers, drop us a line.
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