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May 18, 2015

The Missing Ingredient in Brand and Marketing

May 18, 2015

Good news, gang: I’m pleased as punch to announce that I’ll be representing the Indy marketing community while speaking at the 2015 IABC World Conference in San Francisco. While it’s an honor to be included amongst amazing visionaries like Sally Hogshead and Aaron Dignan, I’ve quickly come to realize the importance of my talk: I get to share an amazing concept with a group of people for the very first time. Here’s a preview of my talk called “Creating a Culture that Markets Itself.”

The Recipe

Cultivating a meaningful brand experience is a lot like the artful craft of baking. A dash of content here, a sprinkle of customer service and just a whisper of language.. and you’ve got yourself a..

Mario Cake

Source: Flickr

But in reality, it’s not that easy, is it? The ingredients must be meticulously measured and combined for the cake to be able to even compete in a high stakes Mario-baking competition. We as marketers spend years testing and refining our messaging, websites, content and yet it never feels quite complete. Well, maybe there’s a reason! Dunh Dunh DUNH...

The Missing Ingredient

Here at SmallBox we talk a lot about culture. So, if you follow us you probably guessed the missing ingredient already. Yup, it’s culture.

But culture truly isn't missing in all modern brands because every organization has a culture. It’s not all ping pong tables and volunteer days either. I like to define culture as some combination of these things:

Culture is..

I’ll be speaking in-depth about each of these cultural elements during my talk, so I can’t give away all of the secret sauce, but let’s talk about what the brand cake can look and taste like when it’s made with culture, shall we?

So, How Does it Taste?

Consistent - When the foundational elements of organizational culture are present, such as core values, everything becomes more consistent. Content, customer service, messaging, even brand ambassadorship. People love talking about great experiences, especially interacting with or working for a great company!

Attractive - The race for top talent is reaching Olympic proportions and strong culture provides an incredibly unique edge. Not only are strong, fitting candidates attracted to open positions, but retention also becomes a challenge of the past.

Flavorful - Let’s face it, great brand experiences just feel good. My favorite recent example is Southwest, who embraces a “Fun-Luving Attitude” as a core value. This influences everything from their hiring practices to the pre-flight checklist. It’s just fun, and all stemming from company culture.

We often call culture the “umami” of an organization: it’s the flavor profile that is most elusive, but when present it will leave you craving more.

Mouth watering? If you’re attending the IABC World Conference, let’s hang out! I can talk about Mario cakes for days.

Want to put your culture to the test? Take our quiz: How Culture Powered is Your Marketing?

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