THE PROCESS CORNER – Cultural Brands Exported

It is difficult to think of any company without assigning positive or negative “labels” that reflect your perceptions of the company. Some labels are promoted by the company through marketing and advertising efforts; others are experienced by how you interacted with the company, through its website, store and its employees.

Maybe the website isn’t user-friendly, the store isn’t clean and orderly, or maybe the employees you interact with aren’t friendly, knowledgeable or are just plain missing. As addressed in a prior issue of this newsletter, these labels or impressions are important. They define your company, your culture and your brand.

Although employee behaviors are critical to these impressions, company processes or the absence of them are also critical. Citing two recent instances where I experienced culture writ quite large – one exceedingly negative and the other exceedingly positive – I know which company will be favored with my business in the future. In this newsletter, I will not share the company names, but many of us have spent dollars in these companies.

In one company, I spent nearly a $1000 on a major product and supportive service; it was a negative experience. The company’s culture wasn’t customer-friendly, the employees were ill-informed about their products and they didn’t listen. In the future, I will go elsewhere.

In another company, I spent about $10 and no less than 7 employees in the store – only 2 were involved in the transaction – greeted me with smiles and thanked me for coming into the store. I was shocked and quite impressed!

Although I am talking about customer-facing behaviors in both instances, the underlying cultural component is that one store valued their customers enough to create engagement processes and train their employees to implement them. The other one didn’t.

The companion “Return on Culture” article talks about “hard side” and “soft side” issues. Both are important. Set up company success by setting up processes that support the behaviors you want. Those efforts will have measurable impact on desired performance metrics.