Sunday 26 October 2008

Culture and brands

There is a big difference between building a brand and building a culture. While both are very important things, they are indeed quite different.

The one is generally considered an external thing and the other is characteristically an internal thing. But both do rub off on the other. They definitely both have an effect on the other.

I feel that most people who want to make money talk about building brands. Whereas, people who talk about their staff and the inspiration in the company talk about building a culture. I think this is why partnerships, or groups of people working towards a common goal, can be a very effective vehicle.

The one thing that stands out for me is the attitude of most when it comes to brands and cultures. I hear the majority of people talk about how they need money for these endeavours. One can't build a brand without money or one can't create a culture without money. While I agree a company needs some money to do just about anything, building a brand or a culture has less to do with money than it has to do with hard work, inspiration and just plain risk taking. Yes, a guerrilla style campaign, for example, is about taking risks, and a cultural event with the desire to align a group of people is also about taking a risk.

I have met many financially successful people (I need to qualify this) who have built big companies and go on about their brands. But when I talk to their management no one seems to be happy. Perhaps they should have spent an equal amount of time growing people, aligning them, in an effort to create an exciting company culture. And conversely, you meet just as many people who are so excited about their company culture, but they just wish they could get more momentum in the area of sales and marketing.

I think you get my point this fine Sunday. As the old saying goes, it is all about balance!

Posted by Ronnie Apteker