Jan 1, 2013
Begin with this question:Does your marketing plan contain strategies to create a strong company culture?
Within your business niche, competitive advantage doesn’t just show up on your doorstep knocking. Rather, it requires a cohesive, strategic, marketing plan which is creative in its design and successful in its implementation. Strategic marketing must first be fostered inside of your company utilizing the strength of leaders who have core competencies both in their leadership role and in the fundamentals of business culture.
Consider how the following might impact the marketing of your business:
- Thriving employees
- Creativity rewarded
- Ethical business practices
Thriving EmployeesTypically, we think of marketing as it relates to engaging the customer, fulfilling customer wants and needs, or compelling long-term client relationships. As part of your new strategy, try flipping that thinking to your employees. Ask instead “Does our marketing engage our employees? Are we as a company fulfilling our employee wants and needs? Do we compel long-term employee relationships?”
Gretchen Spreitzer and Christine Porath, researchers of employee empowerment and leadership development, report that “If you give your employees the chance to learn and grow, they’ll thrive – and so will your organization” (January-February 2012 issue of Harvard Business Review).
Tip: Never assume that payroll and benefits make up the total package eliminating attrition and creating a robust culture. People enjoy learning and expanding their talents. Find ways to provide and promote a learning environment. In fact, take part in one.
Creativity RewardedThe notion of providing cash incentive to foster creativity is NOT what I would call best practice. Creativity, in my opinion, must be spontaneous, innovative, and uninhibited. Instead of tethering financial outcomes to an employee’s creativity, promote creativity by allowing people to create just because they can: good, great, or indifferent.
When employees contribute their creative ideas, culture enlivens, and the success of the group increases. Reward such creativity by placing ideas and results into your marketing, product development, or by announcing categorical winners along with how the company intends to utilize the creativity.
Ethical Business PracticesNothing stings a client like over promising and under delivering. Such tactics must be eliminated if your company is to validate its brand. Never confuse your logo with your brand. A logo is a recognizable print symbol that identifies your company. Your brand is the culmination of your ethics, standards of quality, and your people. Your brand is the power to consistently deliver your product reliably. Your brand is more than how you are in business, it is why.
CultureEmployees feel encouraged when they readily recognize that their employer is conducting business responsibly and ethically. They know that such business practices are part of a larger culture. Too, they know that such a culture is in the best interest of the company and the future sustainability of employment.
Culture mirrors executive leadership. I am often puzzled by the typical approach some company leaders take to improving their culture. They hire a training firm to implement culture directives. “Teach my employees to improve their culture.” Wouldn’t it be better if the executives themselves attended or even facilitated the cultural trainings. Better yet, it would be best practice to model daily the desired culture in every aspect of employer-employee interaction. Lead a culture, lead a company.