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Workplace Behavior, Culture, and Brand — Winning with an Inside Out Approach

When we set out to build our methodology for brand strategy, we had two bold objectives in mind:

1. Reduce the emotional distance between people and brands, to make lives more meaningful, and brands more successful.

2. Go beyond simply stating a meaningful ambition for brands, by showing the executive team, the management, and every employee how their behavior influences the brand’s future.

Workplace behavior has become an interesting and powerful differentiator for us. Clients see it as a welcome road map to greater success. Here we explain what we mean by workplace behavior, what it comprises, and why it is so important to successful brand transformation.

What is workplace behavior?

Think for a moment about another person who works in your company. It can be anyone, for example, someone in the C-suite, a product designer, a customer service rep, a sales person, someone in marketing, or a recent recruit. What role will they play in the shaping the brand’s meaningful connections? How does their attitude, ambition, and sense of purpose add to, or distract from, the brand’s success?

We believe everyone within an enterprise plays a role in transforming the brand. Clearly, there are many individuals who play significant and critical roles. These are the people who lead the firm and those who interface directly with customers, partners, suppliers, community leaders, the press, etc.

But meaning isn’t exclusively created by these highly visible individuals. Indeed, meaningful connections grow out of the intent and nature of every interaction within the organization. It is a function of the collective behavior of the organization to create meaning. As such, meaning is realized when the brand’s ambition filters into every conversation, decision, product design, customer service experience, etc., etc.

Indeed, a meaningful workplace culture is self-propagating. Every ounce of energy an individual adds to the shift toward meaning is multiplied as it resonates through the many people the brand touches. Over time, meaningful behavior becomes infectious as meaningful actions, gestures, and messages permeate the culture. Each exposure builds upon the last, causing people across the organization to react through new meaning-shaped behavior.

What comprises brand behavior?

The brand behavior document that we create aims to generate this collective energy by helping people across the organization see the role they can play in bringing the brand’s meaningful ambition to life. It does not tell people what they should do, but rather aims to inspire them to modify their own approach to their daily work.

By showing people how to change their attitudes and mindsets, we are able to help them find their own place within the brand’s meaningful ambition. By knowing how they want to make people feel about that ambition, they better understand how to tailor their individual attitudes and actions in ways that they find comfortable, are happy to do, and which leaves them feeling gratified.

This human and empowering approach helps employees more readily internalize and embody the brand’s meaningful ambition. Rather than seeing it as more work they “have to do”, they feel it’s a way of working that they “want to do”. When leaders regularly and actively recognize and reward meaningful shifts, employees feel more aligned to, and gratified by, their work culture.

What are the business benefits of meaningful workplace behavior?

The return on meaning can be very significant. Meaningful connections are all about reducing the emotional distance between the business, and the people important to the success. By dramatically increasing their personal relevance and emotional importance, meaningful brands change the way people think, feel, and act.

This change in dynamic operates on two levels. First, internally the advent of meaning in the workplace culture leads to greater employee engagement, collaboration, and innovation. People see more reasons to be engaged, because they feel that they’re a part of something bigger than before. Meaningful workplace cultures are, by definition, platforms for collaborative working, as all levels of employees better understand their big objectives. A meaningful ambition is the ideal trigger for new thinking, ideas, processes, and innovative products.

Second, externally customers and prospects quickly perceive a shift in the experience they have dealing with the brand. Because this shift reflects an intention of the brand to play a more important and valuable part in their lives, they are naturally drawn to it. They see the brand in this new light and allocate greater levels of preference for the brand. They also are more likely to recommend the brand, and defend it when others question its value.

Beyond customers and prospects, the external effect of a meaningful ambition, actuated through workplace behavior, extends to partners, suppliers, communities, the press, and so on. All these parties are more interested in, have affinity with, and hold respect for the brand.

Great brands make people feel something unique and special

There are many reasons to set a meaningful ambition and to create workplace behavior that makes it a reality in every moment. Brand strategies that do not go as deep will not address the underlying problems that your brand faces in the 21st century.

By focusing on a single idea, and helping everyone inside and outside the organization see it as personally relevant, individually actionable, and emotionally important, an emotive branding strategy will help your brand make the important shifts and transitions it needs in order to thrive in our fast-changing world.

Of course, just getting our workplace behavior recommendations is only the start. The benefits of a meaningful workplace culture will only flow once senior leadership, management, and employees all embrace its ideas and ideals.

Meaning doesn’t come automatically, but when it comes, it pays back handsomely.

Emotive Brand is a San Francisco brand strategy firm

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