How Do You Uncover Your Company’s Cultural Charisma?

People often struggle in finding the right words to describe how they feel about something. We use words like ‘cool’ and ‘awesome’—words that don’t differentiate one situation from the next. Then, our left-brain kicks in and we revert to words that are very rational descriptors like ‘light bulbs’ or ‘great coffee’—a descriptive comfort zone.

The fact is, as humans, we lack the innate ability to really express our feelings, so we give up and start listing descriptive facts. However, when it comes to brands, we usually feel something first, even for a nanosecond, before we have had time to think about it. It is how we are wired. From a marketer’s perspective, what we feel is very powerful, yet challenging.

How Do Emotions Relate to Employment Branding?

Welcome to the world of branding—where emotions are just as important as facts. It does not matter if we are talking about consumer branding or employment branding; the same rules apply. The fact is, whether it is a trip to the grocery store or the purchase of a car, we, as consumers, usually purchase brands near to our heart, while rationalizing them in our head. So, is it any different when someone decides to go to work for a company? No, it is not.

Job candidates buy into a company the same way they buy into a car. In addition, current employees are just repeat brand customers. What I have learned from working with some very talented people is that insightful brand managers know which elements make up the facts, the truths and the personality of a brand. Applying that knowledge to employment branding shows very similar results. Each company has its own culture—a brand that makes it unique. Within that culture, a certain number of facts and truths exist. Facts are found in the employee handbook—policies, benefits, company history and even a mission statement. These are very important, but rarely are they the things that compel us as employees to buy into an organization.

Truths, on the other hand, stir our imaginations, make our hearts pound and make us go beyond the call of duty. Knowing a company’s cultural truths has the potential to unlock powerful secrets that can create a good relationship between an employee and employer—a relationship that is fruitful and long-lasting from the very beginning. After all, isn’t that the ultimate win we try to achieve as talent acquisition professionals?

Getting to the Heart of Your Cultural Brand

Many people struggle to articulate their cultural brand because it is not easily defined. Once defined, it is important to understand it. This enables employees to easily communicate it to other employees and candidates. Clarity is at the heart of successfully communicating a powerful brand, and we should strive to achieve it. Powerful brands seem surprisingly simple and easy to understand. We get them, and sometimes we do not even know why.

To understand the heart of your cultural brand, explore its elements, including:

  • Looking at secondary data to sculpt your brand. Diving into data from previous research studies and interviews, and understanding who your competitors are, can yield great insights.
  • Conducting in-depth, one-on-one interviews with your company’s top performers and management team, with the intent to understand the beliefs they foster about your organization.
  • Conducting a segmented quantitative study across the organization to understand its personality traits. Include customers. Their outside perspective can yield great insights into the truths of your company.

Drawing upon these three data points enables you to create a successful method for articulating the truths, facts and personality of your employer brand. And I promise, it will help you accurately—and appropriately—pinpoint the cultural charisma of your company.

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