To me, it seems that alignment between a company’s brand and it’s culture – or the lack thereof – makes all the difference between getting the customer or employee experience you were expecting, or not getting it.
We’ve all had the experience of dealing with an organisation that doesn’t live up to its promises. They might claim to be innovative and then deliver only run of the mill solutions to your challenges. They may call their people ‘their greatest asset’ and yet fail to recognise them for their hard work.
Whether as a customer or an employee, we usually prefer to engage with companies that have a public persona matching our values – companies we identify some of ourselves with. But as HR professionals, we know that employee engagement levels are as low as 13% in some countries. And as marketers, we know that brand loyalty is more and more difficult to earn. I believe this is because of inauthentic experiences with both brands and employers. Too often, companies do not deliver the experiences they promise.
Consequences for lack of alignment
For example, we might choose an employer that markets its products as cutting edge because we want to be a part of that. We want to be allowed to generate and action creative ideas or be able to say we helped to deliver something new and exciting to our customers. If we then find our ideas being blocked by change-resistant managers, or we see innovative projects fail because there is no appetite for investment in them, we are likely to become disillusioned. This will lead to disengagement if it turns out to be the way things really work, rather than an exception to the rule.
Likewise, we might choose an investment company that markets itself as dependable and safe because we want to make sure our investments are secure. If it turns out that the fund managers are making risky investment decisions, we may well choose to change providers.
Employee and customer experience matter
But why does this matter? Why should organisations work to deliver on their promises to employees and customers? A 2016 Gallup study indicated that engaged teams can deliver up to 21% greater profitability. In a recent Yotpo survey, 90% of respondents said they are equally or more brand loyal than a year ago, and the quality of customer experience – getting what we expect or better – is one of the most important factors in achieving this loyalty.
Alignment between the brand – the public promise – and organisational culture – our actual experiences – is what makes the difference between companies that deliver on their promises and companies that don’t. And that’s just one good reason to actively manage both these components synergistically.