Culture as the new marketing

Culture as the new marketing

September 28, 2011 by Ron Immink

The light bulb went off for me when I read Marketing 3.0 by Kottler. For a brand to be authentic there needs to be full alignment with the culture in the organisation. HR is the new marketing.

Almost as an extension of that is the increasing belief that passion is the ‘X-factor’ in culture. My friend, colleague and business partner Yanky Fachler wrote about the need for “fire in the belly” ten years ago. Since then books such as Mavericks At Work, Poke the Box and The Thank You Economy all agree that passion can and should be the driving force for your business. Their argument is that in a world where everything is commoditised and similar, the only way to differentiate yourself is with your passion.

Since Marketing 3.0, Bookbuzz has covered a wide range of books in the HR and marketing space all touching on that subject. They include:

The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk really hit it home for me. He would go as far to say that the next battleground for business after e-commerce and technology will be culture. The book is about extreme customer care (similar to “delivering happiness” and how to use social media. What do you think he thinks is most important for businesses, customers or staff? Giving his obsession with customer care you would suspect he would maintain that the customers are most important. Nope, he is adamant that your focus should be on your staff.

And he takes a leaf out of Why work sucks and how to fix it and applies ROWE (the results only work environment) approach. No rules; treat staff as adults. He talks about the need for a Chief Culture Officer, which is not to be confused with the Chief Curiosity Office that Little Bets and Egonomics would suggest. What else does he say?

  • It starts with you and you need to be authentic and set the tone (customers will smell BS a mile away).
  • Make sure you know all your staff and spend a lot of time with them (one-to-one management).
  • Empower your staff. He suggests giving every employee a personal £200 marketing budget.

As a start-up and as a small business, “culture as the new battle ground” is good news. This is where you can compete with big business. They can’t beat you on culture. If you don’t believe me, I suggest you read Killing Giants.

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