Do you believe that organizational culture is an ambiguous term bandied about only by idealistic MBA students? If so, you’re not alone.
Business owners — particularly entrepreneurs and those who run small-to-medium-sized companies — often feel they have too much on their plates as it is without worrying about a buzzword that seems more appropriate in an academic setting than in the real world.
What we have come to realize, however, is that organizational culture does matter. And if you create the right culture within your company, it can help your business succeed in ways you might never have imagined.
In fact, your company’s culture can even influence the success of your digital marketing efforts.
First, let’s consider what this term means generally, and what it means in your company.
Organizational culture arises from the shared assumptions of everyone in your company and the way those beliefs influence behavior. Shared values and beliefs form the basis of a company’s culture, along with rituals and physical elements such as your office facility, your logo and the actual work product or service you produce.
Good or bad, company culture influences everything that happens in your company — but it doesn’t stop there. Your company’s shared values, beliefs and practices define you in the eyes of your customers, prospects and members of your community.
Culture influences everything your employees do and say, from the documents they produce to the phone calls they have with customers. It influences the way they view the company as well as how they talk about their job and their employer.
Decades of research proves that a positive organizational culture enhances employees’ motivation and commitment and improves the efficiency of both group and individual work. A positive culture facilitates productive communication and reduces conflict. It also minimizes errors, because when your company culture is evident throughout the organization, employees understand what is expected of them and act accordingly.
A positive culture engages employees. It makes them eager to come to work every day and even more eager to do their very best work. It helps ensure they speak well of your company to friends and family and motivates them to behave in ways that reflect positively on the organization.
A strong culture will also help you attract the top talent in your industry and retain them, reducing the costs and headaches associated with turnover.
If you’ve ever patronized a business where the employees were surly, irritable and generally unhelpful, you were likely viewing the fallout of a negative organizational culture. And you probably made the decision to avoid patronizing that business in the future, if possible.
Scientific research shows us that an ethical organizational culture improves both customer satisfaction and the financial performance of the company. This factor is also highly influential in establishing a positive brand identity and differentiating yourself from the competition.
If you compete with dozens (or hundreds) of businesses that do what you do at approximately the same price point, how can you make your company stand out?
When you focus on developing a strong organizational culture based on ethics, innovation, passion, excellence, integrity, service — or whatever your driving passions may be — you will demonstrate the true value of doing business with your company.
It makes sense that a company’s culture influences employees as well as prospects and customers. But how can it possibly influence your digital marketing efforts?
The reality is that every stakeholder your company has — including owners, officers, shareholders, customers, employees, vendors, consultants and your community — is affected by your organizational culture. If you aren’t committed to a marketing strategy that aligns with your core values and beliefs, you won’t enjoy the success you otherwise might.
For example, if your company culture emphasizes quality and attention to detail, you shouldn’t have misspelled words on your website or a blurry, low-resolution logo on your marketing materials. If you declare your commitment to innovation and cutting-edge technologies, your website should load quickly and work equally well across desktop and mobile platforms. If you’re committed to ethics and honesty, you wouldn’t want to buy phony reviews or fake customer testimonials.
If you’re committed to using SEO and other digital marketing technologies to meet your company’s revenue goals, you have to reflect that commitment in your corporate culture. This means addressing any doubts about whether your website and social posts influence your brand identity or whether SEO actually drives site visits, conversions and sales.
Culture develops from the top down. That means you must define your values and decide what kind of environment you want to create within your company. You must hold every member of your organization to the high standards you set — including yourself and every member of your leadership team.
You can publish aspirational mission statements and hang motivational posters throughout the office, but unless you personally embody these concepts yourself, all day every day, your team will know you’re trying to sell them a bill of goods.
Establish rituals, give rewards and use a workplace language that nurtures your culture and keeps it at the forefront of everyone’s mind.
A popular example of how to create an organizational culture that drives success is the discount warehouse pioneer Costco. Likewise, Netflix, outdoor outfitter REI, Whole Foods and Southwest Airlines have all made a name for themselves by forging strong corporate cultures.
Here at Be Locally SEO, we have built our organizational culture around a commitment to helping our clients succeed, whatever their goals may be. Innovation and a truly customized approach mean that we design a digital marketing strategy around your needs, wants and objectives — as well as your budget.
Contact us today to learn more about our comprehensive suite of online marketing services, including website design, SEO, PPC, social media and content marketing. We are standing by to help you succeed in creating a dynamic and highly effective digital marketing culture for your organization.