In the initial stages of setting up a business, senior executives often spend time determining what type of work culture they want to create. Every person employed in that business contributes to the creation of that culture, and it can influence every aspect.
In fact, more than 50% of companies say corporate culture influences profitability, firm value and growth rates.
Something also needs considering is how this culture will impact your brand’s reputation. After all, the two are very closely linked. It’s important to understand how the two are connected to ensure that your brand has the best possible online reputation.
How do I look online?
The people in your company and the culture they create are a key component of your brand, and therefore impact heavily on the perception and reputation of that brand.
In terms of online reputation, promoting, advertising and selling your brand benefits can only go so far, and culture can pick up the slack. With information just one search away, prospective clients can quickly discover just what kind of brand you are. Are you trusted? Do you give back? Treat employees well? Are your teams responsive to customers? Or more? If you’ve built a good culture, you’ll see a discussion of it, and therefore your brand, online.
Brands such as Royal Bank of Scotland and QHotels run an Employee Motivation Day – and you’ll find plenty of coverage of this online. These show your brand cares about and is invested in its people and promote a positive and inclusive culture. They’ll also help promote brand loyalty among your people.
What are we showing the online world?
Aside from online discussions, your culture can impact your brand’s reputation every time someone lands on your website. If your potential clients are seeing reflections of a happy atmosphere with a good work environment, they’ll be more likely to want to work with you.
Similarly, they may be more inclined to work with you if you show you care about the communities in which you operate, by supporting charities or causes they relate to. Alexander Chernev, a professor of marketing at the Kellogg School of Management, and Sean Blair, at Georgetown University, show that knowing that evidence of a brand behaving ethically can cause customers to perceive that company’s product or service as performing better. They call this effect a “benevolent halo.”
You only have to look at the troubles taxi firm Uber have had over the past couple of years, to understand just how company culture affects reputation. The most recent event in the turbulent saga came last month, when ex-employee Susan Fowler published a blog post on her ‘very strange year at Uber’. Fowler tells us how she was let down by Uber’s HR team, gives insights into the political wars of higher management and how out of over 150 engineers, only 3% were women.
Brands such as Uber will be forever tainted in terms of online reputation because of content like this. It’s becoming increasingly easier for prospective clients to see what goes on internally at a company, with platforms such as personal blogs and social media. This makes it more important than ever to make sure there’s nothing negative to be found. By looking inwards and fostering a culture that puts employees first (after all they can be your biggest brand advocates), you’ll see the impact of it on your journey to creating a positive online reputation.