If Your Brand
Promises Authenticity,
You Better Deliver

This article was originally published by the Harvard Business Review. Read the full Article here. 

 Your culture might be positive. Your brand messages might be powerful. But the greatest potential your organization has is the special case when culture and brand are completely aligned. The slightest divergence between them can undermine even the most brilliant (and expensive) marketing campaign.

It might be excellent customer service, but it would be nothing like my home. At home people are friendly and familiar, rather than polite, I use my laptop whenever I like for however long I like, and I certainly know where to get the milk. While before their campaign I would have been happy with great customer service, in this case I’d feel a lack of authenticity. I might even feel less attached to this chain that I did before they spent months and millions convincing me of something that wasn’t true… at least not according to my personal experience. On the other hand, if I have an experience that matches and reinforces the brand promise, my connection to this chain is stronger than ever. The leaders’ commitment to not just providing excellent customer service but to actually shaping their organizational culture decides which my experience will be.

People largely make decisions based on their experience. We know that if somebody’s body language is sending a different message to the words they’re saying (“I’m really happy to be here with you today,” said with a flat facial expression) their audience will typically believe their body language (“You are not”, concludes the audience, “Your boss made you come”).Equally, if an organization sends a message that is different from a customer’s experience, that customer tends to believe their experience – and they are likely to feel less positive about that organization than if they had just had a nice enough experience without any brand messages.

Across all industries, organizational authenticity is powerful, and it’s achieved by cultural architects: leaders who ensure alignment between culture and brand. The companies I’ve worked with who do this exceptionally well ensure they have a few simple keys in place: 

Recognize that culture can and should change.

To read the full article originally published by the Harvard Business Review. Read the full Article here. 

– Rebecca Newton 

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