Brand Builders - Key to Success

Brand Culture - Ep 03

"Happy staff equals happy customers. Happy customers equals more profit," A simple formula that makes a lot of sense, right? Let’s talk about getting the first part of this equation right, happy staff, so that they in turn can willingly go that extra mile for your customer. Brand culture exists to serve staff in the best way possible and equip them to really get behind the brand and what it stands for.

Marius: 00:00 Good morning Kyle.

Kyle: 00:01 Morning Marius.

Marius: 00:02 Thank you for joining us again. Now, the last few weeks we've discussed how do you establish a brand, why it's important. And let's kick off today by saying we've got it now. People on the outside are trusting the brand. They've come to know it. And as we said the previous time trust is very very important. But now we've got it in the company and everybody's proud of it and everybody wants to do their bit. Do we just leave it there? Will it grow by itself now or do we have to nurture the thing like growing a garden?

Kyle: 00:37 Ja, I think that's a good analogy to use. So once you've established awareness for your brand and you are starting to garner trust from the market. You do need to make sure that you're nurturing that. So the first place you would look at, I guess would be your customer experience. But the process that we do, is we actually look at your culture of your company, your brand culture first before we look at that customer experience. So if you don't have the culture correct then your customer experience won't work.

Marius: 01:13 That's so easy to fall into that little hole. It's unbelievable. Kyle, let me pose a question and perhaps you can answer this for us. I'm the manager. I'm the owner of my company of the brands being established and quite some money has been spent on it and energy has been spent on it, time’s being spent on it. Do we need the entire company, entire firm whether it's 2, 3, 10 people, a hundred people to also fit into this picture or is it up to me as the owner to carry it forward?

Kyle: 01:46 The simple answer is that you know you as the owner will not be able to carry the entire brand going forward if your vision for your brand is growth. And I think that at the end of the day why you want to have a brand. So if you don't have your team behind you, you're delivering on those really bold promises you're making to the market you're going to become very difficult.

Marius: 02:08 If I'm the only person that does it and I get 100 people to, as you say, engage with me, what do we do next? Is it a thing that, as I said in the first question, grows by itself or do we have to do this on an ongoing basis, daily and make sure that things go right. And isn't that a bit of a trap? People get tired of this. It was all in well getting this thing done and everybody's proud of it. How do we get the whole firm to fit into the picture and say let's do this on a daily basis? Is there a specific program to follow or does it depend on the business itself?

Kyle: 02:51 The process is the same. You know, the way that you go about is the same for every organisation. The simple truth of it is that you have a culture in your company whether you choose to actually manage that or not. It will still exist and the danger the risk of not actively managing it means that you're not 100% sure if your culture is in alignment to your brand. So a nice analogy that I've seen people use is they say if you picture a coin, the head and the tail. The head of the coin is the brand, that's what people are seeing and the culture is the tail.

You will often feel our news is very prevalent. There's a lot of new stories of organisations that are undergoing lots of investigation around fraud and mismanagement and all that kind of thing. And I would put a proper bet down that if you went and you looked at those organisational cultures, you will find that that is where it began, the culture was created that we don't do things correctly, we kind of cut corners and all that kind of stuff. That culture was created and now that's actually affecting those companies' brands because it's now getting out into the public space. So that's the main thing in terms of a culture why you need one is because if you don't actively manage it and you don't make sure it's in line with your brand, the danger is that it will eventually kill off your brand and erode it.

The way of going about it is, I would say it's pretty simplified in terms of the way you do it. It requires work and requires constant management thereof. The process that I like to do with the client is I say to them, well within your organisation, identify the people that are the key influencers. Now, how do you identify a key influencer? It's really simple. Who are the people that people keep asking them, how do we do things around here? You know, who those sources of information, people that we ask for advice from. Who are the people that you know if you get the buy in of that person then the people around them. So the obvious thing is you're going to go to all your managers and your executives and that's fine. But that's not always true. So I always, like for example I had a client that was in a space where they had a range of everything from an executive to blue collar kind of worker and they invited some of those blue collar workers to the process and to be a part of it because they knew they were key influencers. So that's the first step, is to identify those key influencers.

The second step is then to sit and define your culture. So what is it that at the core of your organisation do you believe in and are your values. And that can take a bit of time but you work through it. And once you've identified that, then you go and you take those values and your beliefs and you look at in your day to day operations of your business, how do we make those things a reality. There's a very simplified summary of the process but it takes constant management. But my point today is to understand that there is a way of doing it first of all and second all, that it's really critical that you go about managing your brand culture.

Marius: 06:13 Kyle, here's a bit of a harsh question. Maybe it's uncalled for but in any organisation you will always get that one person, that one employee who in his or her heart doesn't believe in what the company's actually doing. It's more a burden than anything else. If you get that weak link in your chain and this is now specifically to do with the brand to do it. What do you do then? Do you take that person aside and say rather stay out of this. How would you approach that weak link in the chain?

Kyle: 06:49 Well, the first thing is obviously, you have to have the culture defined. So assuming that you've now defined the culture because once you've, let's look at it from two ways, if the problem exists, this normally exists because you haven't defined your culture, which means that you haven't hired people to that culture. So within our organisation, we have a statement: I hire equally for talent, skill and ability as we do for culture. So even if you're a rock star and what you do, whatever that may be - sales, account management, design, copyright - within our organisation and you can think of that for your own.

You might have someone that's the best salesman in the organisation. But the problem is no one likes to work with them. And what the actual research that has been done that led me onto believing that culture is critical to building a great brand, is that that negative spin off on everyone else's performance is, if you take the net effect of it, it completely overwhelms what that one person brings to their role. So let's take it back your question. Once you've created the culture and you really follow through on it, what I say to a client is, you'll see that these people that don't fit, they become increasingly increasingly uncomfortable within the organisation, so they start to act out. So, then an opportunity presents itself almost naturally for them to exit the organisation in some kind of way.

Unfortunately in South Africa, well fortunately or unfortunately depending on your story you can go about firing anyone. But what I have noticed with clients during the process and I say to them, [expect people] there will be, I am hoping an excess of 70% of your organization to be exceptionally excited about this and really getting behind everything - but expect those ones that will be against it. If you don't define a culture; it's like supporting a sports team, you can't support every sports team. You have to support some of them and others and that. So if you create a really strong culture that's going in a certain direction, there will be people that disagree with you. If there aren't then you haven't actually done the job properly.

Marius: 09:14 It makes sense. Another quick question would be and I was thinking about this while you were talking. Can you overdo this? If you've established the culture, everybody believes in it; being over friendly, being over-committed. It's like theatrics but the customer sometimes sees this as they're not genuine, they're overdoing this. What's it all about. So my question that I'm asking, can you actually overdo this?

Kyle: 09:44 Well the answer to your question is no because the key in our processes is defining values and belief that you can actually live out. So one of the rules we'll state is, you don't create the one word value like "perseverance". You've got to come up with the sentence, a statement that you can see living out in your day-to-day organisation. So, for example with an Idea Power, one of our main values is "there's no space for ego only respect which means that's fundamentally; where that came from was the behavior of too much competitiveness within the team to the point at which, people were actually trying to derail or sabotage other people within the team. And what we said was well, if everyone respects that everyone's here and they've got their own talents and they bring their own thing to the team, then we win as a team or we lose team. So when I say that statement; there's no space for ego, only respect. You can already see how that value could be lived out in your day to day. I don't just make the value "respect". I hope I’m making sense in my answer.

Marius: 11:00 You are. And the final question this morning would be this and I'm comparing this unfortunately because that's the reality of the so-called "platteland". If you have to establish the brand and you've done it and now the other culture has to move forward. Not everybody is accustomed to that, not everybody is comfortable with that. They're not used to it, they're getting used to this whole thing now. Brand mentoring; does Kyle Rolfe with Idea Power stay with you in this process? In actually, establishing a culture where none exists.

Kyle: 11:36 Correct. Yes. I have a very defined process that we go through and I've done it with many different companies in different industries and spaces. And understand that defining your culture, defining your brand culture is a fairly new business concept. The data that comes out of your bigger economies is fairly recent. Like 5, really maybe 10 years old at the max. So every client that I'm engaging with around this culture in the smaller to medium business spaces, it's the first time they're doing it. So I'm quite experienced at that. I understand people coming from different spaces and we're in South Africa. So when you're dealing with an organisation there are multiple cultures within that organisation because people come from multiple backgrounds.

So it's about creating a culture that unifies the team to get them behind you. If there's one little statement that from today's discussion I think everyone can think about - "Happy staff equals happy customers. Happy customers equals more profit". It's a fairly simplified formula but if you really think of it in that sense it makes a lot of sense. So the culture serves to serve staff in the best way possible and equip them and get them really behind the brand so that they deliver that extra bit. That In a discretionary effort that makes you have the edge over your competitor. That would be, I would say in terms of the business output, why you want to create a culture.

Marius: 13:22 That sums it up quite nicely. Thank you so much for your time this morning and next week we will continue with the next segment on brand mentoring. Kyle, many thanks. We look forward in discussing yet another topic with you next week. That's Kyle Rolfe, Idea Power. Thank you Kyle. Talk to you soon.

Kyle: 13:39 Great. Thanks Marius.