Why it's important to be the same on the inside as on the outside
People meet your brand everywhere. They buy something from a salesperson, visit your stand at an exhibition, read an article about you in a magazine, chat to one of your staff at a party. And the internet has opened up even more meeting places. Now they can follow you on Twitter, read your blog or check out what happy (or unhappy) customers are saying about you. They need to get the right impression – and the same impression - every time.
People on the outside will only get a coherent idea about what a brand stands for when people on the inside have formed a cohesive culture. That's why it's important to be clear about what kind of culture you want to create, and what values will make that culture a reality. Take a look at Disney's and Diageo's values.
A cohesive culture starts with having the right people on the team. People's fit with the culture is as important as their talent and experience. When attracting people to your organisation, what you say and how you say it influences the type of person who applies. When you hire, make sure every interviewer is judging on the same cultural criteria. Look at the difference between what Google and top law firm, Linklaters, are saying implicitly about their cultures on their careers pages.
The next step is to help your people understand the values, and what they mean in practical terms. Zappos, for example, uses a character called Core Values Frog to explain them to its people. Brilliant!
A brand comes to life through its people, its culture, and the values that determine how we do our jobs. When everyone is living the values on a day-to-day basis, the culture is cohesive. And that means wherever and whenever the customer meets you, whether formally or informally, in a buying situation or in a bar, they have the same experience of your brand. What it boils down to is, whatever goes on inside a company, that's what people on the outside see.