Companies establish contact with the outside world according to their particular vision of the world, their values and beliefs, and their own culture. The latter is a factor directly linked to the way of being and doing the Organization, which must be shared by all its members. This translates into a set of unique facts perceived internally and externally, which differentiate one company from another and serve, on the one hand, to unite it internally and, on the other, to position it in its environment. Organizational culture contributes greatly to defining the personality of the organization and, in turn, personality is one of the drivers that contribute to the definition of strategic positioning.

Positioning and perceptions

The positioning of a company, and ultimately of its brand, seeks to identify and differentiate it from its competitors. The essence of this difference translates into certain patterns of behavior throughout the organization. It is something that reflects the corporate culture and reaches the customer before, during and after every business transaction. For this reason, today more than ever, brands need to build dialogues with citizens. It should be considered that Companies may be valued in economic terms by their shareholders, but citizens value them based on their perceptions. The company is built by the ideals it conveys and by the set of interactions with them, whether at the corporate level or transferred to its products or services. These perceptions translate into what shapes the brand’s reality, which identifies the difference between what it thinks it is and what it is, based on what citizens think.

It is clear that while the functional or material aspects of any product or service are easily copied, the knowledge, experience, and talent of the people who make up the organization are much more difficult to copy. The behaviors developed by a company, as a result of its personality, competencies, and capabilities, are in themselves an extension of the strategic positioning adopted by the company or transferred to its brands.

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Corporate culture management

Poor management of corporate culture can have serious consequences, in addition to jeopardizing the cohesion of the positioning. Think of it as a fantastic tool to build commitment, agree on a management philosophy, motivate staff, and facilitate socialization. If internal messages about beliefs are unclear or misinterpreted by employees, then the Company’s positioning will also be confused and misunderstood by customers. Strategic positioning is inevitably linked to culture, which emanates from values and purpose. It should therefore be able to evolve to reflect any change that affects its environment, although this is not as simple as we saw here. There is therefore a great paradox: it is difficult to change the culture of an organization, while the flexibility and speed of adaptation to new environments is essential for the survival of any company.

To manage this change, it will be necessary to:

1- Identify what type of culture the organization needs.

2- Measure the existing culture to identify the gaps between the current and the desired culture

3- Decide how to close these gaps

and repeat the process periodically.

Culture is learned, shared, and transmitted. The customer may not be aware of the corporate or brand strategy, but he will certainly be aware of the behaviors derived from it. This is how positioning arrives directly to the customer’s mind; seasoned perhaps by the inputs received through communication, which is a means and not a tool in itself for the construction of a positioning. Positioning and culture have a direct impact on the final purchase decision, and when faced with the question “Why do they buy from us? the teacher Kevin L. Keller has a great answer: “Not because of product attributes, but because those attributes, along with brand image, service, and many other factors, create an attractive whole. In some cases, that whole is not even something customers know or can say they want.” In short, it is an intangible whole.

Branding is a discipline that, aligned with the business strategy, must support the set of strategies and tactics of the entire organization. It should not at all be considered as the end of a process. Positioning, as the basis of any brand-building strategy, must consider the brand’s tangible and intangible strengths and, in these, culture is the reflection of its core values and attitudes.

 

Carlos Puig Falcó

CEO of Branward®