Is your business brand under your complete control? You may have spent days, weeks or months defining your brand and the emotions it tries to convey. Yet there are some things that may be outside your awareness. For example company culture – in many ways, your culture is your brand.
Branding is usually presented as a perception-shaping activity. Companies construct their brand strategy, have a branding specialist or team and continuously work on integrating brand elements across all communication. What is often brushed over, however, is how the company’s team and identity impacts the brand. In other words, how individual identities and the team’s collective identity shapes the formation of their brand.
In a previous article, Your Guide to Brand Development, we explored the basic components of your brand, especially in digital space. According to the Cyberpower Brand Framework, identity impacts brand outcomes in both the physical and virtual world.
In this article, we delve deeper into how your company’s individual and collective identities interact with company values and your brand communication. For example, how identity impacts the well-informed selection of your audience, determines the right choice of social media channels, and shapes your brand voice.
Uncovering Identity and Values
Your brand starts with your core identity. Brand identity is most often used to refer to the visual aspects of your business – logo, colour scheme, fonts, and other visual elements. Although these are important, at Cyberconnecting we draw attention to the identity of the individuals that make your business what it is.
Why? Company values are an important part of the organisation’s brand. Ultimately, it is not only your industry or line of business that determines these values. A significant source is in fact the company leadership and the team. All these elements are in constant interaction, starting from the hiring and onboarding process all the way through to daily collaboration.
As illustrated above, identity is the core of your business. Individual identities – within leadership and the team – form the foundation for further layers of communication.
As such, whether you are aware of it or not, your core identity impacts your company values. For this reason, it is important to uncover what components make up your identity and that of your team. The process of doing so will provide insight into the existing foundation of your business. You can then leverage this in further brand development.
For example, what are the common motivators in your team? Why were they drawn to your company? If you work in the health and care industry, a common value may be related to wellbeing. Or if your line of work is connected to the environment, values may be tied to environmental wellbeing. You can uncover elements such as these with the methods described in this article.
Culture is Formed not Built
Leadership and individual values also feed into your company culture. This is another layer in your brand development. As mentioned above, in many ways, your culture is your brand. At Cyberconnecting, we believe in a privacy-first culture. In the age of remote and distributed teams, where most collaboration is digital, this culture is based on a strong foundation of trust. This applies in both internal and external communication, and is enacted through people’s identities and behaviours.
Company culture is not mechanically built. Leaders can provide guidance, but ultimately culture forms naturally and is determined by your team. Individual and collective identities once again play a role here.
As illustrated above, individual identities – in leadership and within the team – inform values. Combined, these identity elements and values impact the formation of company culture. And this culture is in a constant state of change. For example, when start-ups grow and hire new people, new values and/or identity elements may be activated or existing ones reinforced. Both options have an effect on culture.
When applying theory to practice, you can leverage this as follows:
- The Cyberpower Brand development process starts with uncovering the identity components of the team. For this, we use the research-based Brand Identity Tool (BIT) questionnaire.
- Each individual team member fills out the questionnaire and receives their results.
- The BIT then enables compiling an accumulated identity profile of the team. This represents the summary of their values, which translate into your company culture.
Informing Your Brand Development
Having uncovered and mapped out the identity profile of your company, you can then leverage this newfound awareness in your brand development and communication.
As illustrated above, all elements are connected and in constant interaction with one another. Identity – that of the leadership and the individual identities within the team – informs values. Accumulated values, in turn, impact culture. And all of this combined manifests in your brand and how it is communicated.
Ultimately, these interactions impact the whole value system of your business. Leveraging the foundational elements of your company values and culture, starts with awareness. Once you have achieved this, branding teams can then strategically leverage these foundational dynamics in external communication.
To see what the Cyberpower Brand development process looks like in practice, check out the case study on our collaboration with IKM.
Uncovering The YOU in Your Brand Success is also the topic of our upcoming webinar on October 06, 2021. Join us to find out how you can turn your unique identity into your brand superpower.
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