While we got used to chats on Zoom and even met with new clients this way, what is missing from these types of meetings is often a feel for a business’ culture, which you would usually acquire by visiting its premises.
A company’s ‘space’ can tell you a lot about its culture. In the 1980s, the City was characterised by shiny, minimalist offices, full of people in suits who were hailed as working hard and playing hard. Then there was a shift and, particularly in more creative industries, such as design, you’d start to see offices where staff were able to relax with table tennis and bean bags!
The culture of a company can also be felt through the attitude and behaviour of that organisation and the feeling customers and, indeed, employees, get from that business.
It is how a business makes potential customers feel that creates sales. Businesses across the world might be selling basically the same products – but their cultures can feel very different. Customers, for example, can be drawn to a company by its mission, values and ethics. It’s important though that employees also feel engaged with these and buy into them.
Customers of the cosmetics company Lush aren’t just drawn to the brand because of its colourful bath bombs, its long-held environmental stance will also attract customers. It also talks a lot about how values its people and that’s attractive.
If an employee is happy at work and confident that their values match those of their employer, then their productivity will most probably increase and staff turnover could also be reduced. It’s likely too that they will interact in a more positive way with potential customers, as well as giving friends and family – and posts on social media - the impression that they work somewhere good.
Some businesses are nervous about sharing their culture – but customers today value authenticity and want to see the human side of a company and what it stands for.
If we are spending less time physically visiting businesses, then companies need to reflect their culture in other ways – primarily through their social media channels and website. Your culture or ‘brand personality’ should come over loud and clear in the messaging on your website. You could add your company’s mission and values to the ‘about us’ section of your website, as well as including case studies from happy customers and ‘meet the team’ articles, where staff members talk about the best thing about working where they do.
Articles like this make your business seem approachable, friendly and trustworthy - all very good reasons why somebody would want to buy from you. They are also a great way of engaging with potential new employees, particularly at a time when attracting and retaining good staff is hard.
On the ‘our team’ section of your website, it’s good to introduce team members and include photographs. If you want to be seen as current and friendly, then make sure the images represent that. On the other hand, if your business is more formal, then reflect that.
Talking about your CSR policy and community engagement is another way to emphasise the culture at your business, as well as sharing photographs of charity fundraisers on your news pages and in your social media streams.