Written by Canon Wing

I teach entrepreneurs and organizations the proven action steps to stand out within their market, improve the perceived value of their business, and better connect with their audience through naming, branding, storytelling, and communication platforms.

August 12, 2021

Why Brand Culture Must Change in 2021 and Beyond

Today we are answering the question on every entrepreneur’s mind: How Can My Brand Come Out of Nowhere in 2021?

Productivity is actually not the number one driver behind any brand’s success. Focusing solely or even hyper-vigilantly on productivity often costs more than it’s worth.

Marketing experts have known for years that most of today’s ultra-discerning consumers want to align their purchases with brands that have similar values and ethics to their own. But if you ever had a doubt about whether or not brands matter to their communities, new data has revealed that consumers are not only expecting brands to step up, but in some parts of the world, the pandemic has left entire communities relying on brands to help them survive.

In today’s episode, I’m going to release some statistics that will blow your mind when you see how MUCH consumer expectations of the brands they choose to support have skyrocketed since the pandemic. I mean, it’s ASTRONOMICAL. I want you to have this information NOW because every dollar your brand makes is going to be the direct result of listening to your Ideal Individuals, and right now they are speaking loud and clear!

Are you ready for these breaking statistics? Here we go!

In a recent Edelman report released in March of 2021, based on marketing research from 12 different countries across the globe, 62% of responders reported that their country wouldn’t have been able to recover from the pandemic without brands helping their communities pull through. And 55% said that brands responded more quickly than the government in terms of getting people the assistance and additional support they needed to care for their families.

The name of the game is no longer to outsell the competition, but to outcare.

What’s more, is that a whopping 71% agree that if a brand appears to be putting profits over people in 2021, they will lose trust in that brand FOREVER.

And this brings us to brand culture…as if these stats aren’t stunning enough, and clearly illuminating the true purpose and importance of a brand in the eyes of the consumer but—This study also recorded Unanimity – a 90% global recognition— that people want brands to do everything they can to protect the well-being and financial security of their employees and suppliers, even if that means taking a financial loss until the pandemic is over.

What is a Brand Culture?

Brand culture can be defined in many ways, but because today we are looking to avoid the biggest and most common mistakes in branding, I’m going to give it to you like this—a little ‘tough love’ definition of brand culture: At the end of the day, the reality of your brand culture is defined by way your shareholders feel about your brand. It won’t be your playful messaging. It won’t be your snazzy packaging. It won’t be your upbeat social media presence. Instead, the level of collective pride, trust, and overall happiness that your employees and suppliers feel in regards to your brand will be the true tell-all—the truth of the truth— that defines your brand culture. And whatever that brand culture amounts to, for better or worse—it’s going to get telegraphed “as is” to your customers.

Richard Branson says, “There is no magic formula for great company culture. The key is just to treat your staff how you would want to be treated.”

When people trust your brand, then and only then can lasting relationships be formed—Always remember, no matter what business you are in, Brand Loyalty is your business plan.

Why a Brand Can No Longer Survive Without a Great Brand Culture

The Edelman research study speaks for itself: People want less brands who market perfect self-imagery, and unrealistic lifestyle standards, and more brands who are for the people—actively seeking solutions to make life better, ease human suffering, and forge new paths toward a greater future.

Your brand culture is the beating heart of your brand. It is the most human, most vulnerable, most relatable aspect of your brand—And it’s where the love comes through to touch the beating hearts of your Ideal Individuals. A brand without a thriving brand culture isn’t alive. It is a machine, going through the motions, reading from the script, and playing the numbers game—existing only to facilitate one sale to the next, and that is not what inspires people in 2021. That is not what wins Brand Loyalty, and whatever business you are in—Brand Loyalty is your business plan.

Today, 66% of consumers WORLDWIDE consider company culture and the welfare of employees to be deciding factors that determine whether they buy from your brand or your competitor’s brand. But that is only half the story of why a brand can no longer survive without a great brand culture.

Brand Culture is now a MAJOR differentiator for attracting the diversity, talent, and experience that is now necessary to drive a brand’s long-term success in 2021.

In today’s digital marketplace, the internal affairs are now external, and discrepancies between your brand’s messaging and your brand culture can no longer be kept behind closed doors. In a study of 5,00 respondents by the aptly named site—Glassdoor, 77% of people consider a brand’s culture before applying for a job. And this is the kind of talent money can’t always buy. Over half of the respondents consider a thriving brand culture to be more important than salary when it comes to job satisfaction.

Great Brands Invest Greatly in People

Okay, so as an entrepreneur, you’ve created a something-special that is going to make people’s lives better. Entrepreneurs are experts in human happiness. They fuel their passions by locating common sources of human unhappiness and then providing the world with a solution. This higher purpose of serving the greater good of humanity is at the foundation of every great brand culture.

Simon Mainwaring says, “Brands must become architects of community.”

So why are entrepreneurs still hiring “talent” for $5? At that price-point, you already know that— to some extent, you’re only going to get what you pay for— either someone who is inexperienced and learning on your own time, or someone who doesn’t know how to communicate their own value, yet. How can they effectively communicate the value of your brand at $5 an hour, how motivated will they be to do that?  And at the end of the transaction, neither their lives, nor the life of your brand is made better for it.

Yes, having a sound financial plan is— of course, very important to the life of your brand, and yes—you should have a budget that is sustainable. But before you cut costs by reducing your brand’s investment in people, consider investing in a consultation from a great financial planner instead!

So many Entrepreneurs, so many—will make the mistake of prioritizing cost and time of productivity over brand culture, not realizing that a brand’s investment in people will determine the people’s investment in the brand.

When it comes to knowing how to prioritize your brand culture over cost and time of productivity, just do what you do best as an entrepreneur—Be an expert in human happiness. Build a community, and fortify that community with the love and support of your brand.

Thank you so much for joining me! If you enjoyed this article, follow me on YouTube and Facebook. I release new videos every Tuesday and Thursday, so keep treating these episodes as a masterclass for becoming an Inspiration to Millions with Branding. And as always the way to becoming an Inspiration to Millions starts with our motto: Love What You Do and Love How You Do It.