The Power of Culture in Inbound Marketing

June 09, 2014

Good news, gang: I have the pleasure of speaking at the 2014 Go Inbound Marketing conference with some pretty heavy hitters like the co founders of both Hubspot and Moz. Let’s preview my talk to spice things up and generate some major buzz for what looks to be a majorly fun time!

What is Culture?

This is a good question and be warned: there’s no truly correct answer that I’ve found, but here’s a start:

CULTURE = core values + organizational health + employee experience

Values define the philosophy of an organization. Many organizations have them, but to reap the benefits they must be truly embraced.

Organizational health is a fairly young concept pioneered by Patrick Lencioni that includes things like:

  • Cohesive leadership.
  • Organizational clarity.
  • Team alignment around clarity & values.
  • HR systems aligned around clarity & values.

In other words, an organizational operating system takes years to influence and is very difficult to measure!

The employee experience is the really fun stuff that most people call “culture” such as:

  • Unique & compelling benefits.
  • Ownership of cultural institutions (like office parties & sponsorships).
  • Shared belief.

These forms of culture are easier to recognize, such as when teams take fun group photos together at events, or when a company wins a "Best Place to Work" award. This is all great stuff, but doesn’t quite comprise an organization’s culture by itself. I believe it was Superman who once said, “With great freedom comes great responsibility,” hence the organizational health and values components.

Why is culture important?

[Dan steps up on his high tower] Because! Organizations are losing control of their brands!

Oftentimes, brands get mixed messages from employees and customers. Social media and the web have exacerbated this phenomena by offering quick platforms to channel both frustration and great experiences. It's easier than ever to influence the expectations of fellow customers with a nasty tweet or glowing review online.

How do we influence it then?

This means that we now have to embrace our organizational destiny and extend control of brands to those on the front lines. We call this building brand ambassadorship.

We have the power to influence the brand experience by extending ownership to employees in the form of social media, content marketing and customer service…all of which are informed by the employee experience. i.e. Marketing, sales and eventually profit are all informed by HR and organizational culture.

To sum it up:

Want to learn how this all works in practice? I guess you’ll just have to attend Go Inbound on Thursday, June 19th at the JW Marriott in downtown Indianapolis. See you there!

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