In our previous post we introduced you to culture marketing and shared insights from some of Indy’s top marketing and business minds. Miss out? Head here to catch up.
Adding culture marketing to your content plan is a winning strategy for all your audiences. But how do you actually do culture marketing effectively? While each company’s marketing strategy is unique to them, the following steps are a tried and true starting place to begin building your culture marketing plan.
Start with your brand
Revisiting your company’s key brand building blocks—your mission and purpose, values, and vision—is the best place to start building a culture marketing strategy.
If you’re a high-growth company that’s experienced some internal pivots, you might also discover these have shifted. That’s okay! Brands are fluid, and it’s always good to revisit these guiding principles to make sure you’re still in tune with them or assess if they need tweaking to better fit your new mission.
Talk to your employees
Once you have your brand reviewed, it’s time to talk culture with employees.
Employees are the best way to get a culture check-up and make sure the culture you want to create is the culture that’s actually happening. It also might give you insight into new, positive ways the culture has grown. Some questions to consider asking them:
- How would you describe the culture to a friend? To a potential new employee? To a potential customer/client?
- What do you see as unique about the company and its culture?
- What are some highlights of the employee experience?
- Who do you think is a great champion of the company culture?
- Are there any special things the company does to build team morale and make employees feel appreciated?
Develop content pillars
Culture marketing might fit into one of your existing content pillars (especially if many of them are values-based), but it also might need its own content system.
First, identify your key audiences. This is probably going to look like your existing audiences plus the addition of your employees.
Second, look at your insights from the team. What themes are recurring? Which characteristics of your culture are people most passionate about? What events, activities, or part of their day-to-day work do they mention? Make a list, then pick approximately three key themes from the responses to guide you as you make plans.
From there, start developing ideas for each of the pillars and start matching them to the ideal audience. Maybe an idea is great for every audience but the way it’s packaged changes. Maybe some ideas are better suited for existing and potential new clients, showing you’re great people to work with. Or maybe a piece is geared toward recruiting new talent, allowing people to picture themselves on your team.
No matter your idea, the main goal is to make sure everything has a purpose and place.
For example: That infamous picture of a ping pong table you posted on Instagram with a “Hooray for the ping pong table!” caption doesn’t really have a purpose. But if you post a picture of a ping pong table with two employees playing a game and explain that the creative team has a regular 30 minute meeting over ping pong while brainstorming their goals for the week? Bingo. Culture marketing. It shows existing and potential clients how things get done and makes your team feel approachable, while also giving potential new employees a feel for what to expect.
Culture marketing in the wild
If you’re still feeling a little fuzzy on what culture marketing actually looks like in play, here are some of our favorite examples of brands doing it well.
Our friends at KSMC have one of the most thoughtful culture marketing initiatives we’ve seen. The company and team have a deep connection to their core values. Those, along with their passion for design thinking, touch everything they do, including shaping and promoting their story. Some of their standout culture marketing includes:
- An internal weekly fireside chat video from the CEO, which is sometimes shared externally when covering topics that might be of interest to existing and potential clients
- A robust employer brand for recruitment and hiring, including an email series sharing the employee experience through the words of employees and an onboarding email series that helps new hires learn the lingo and culture
- Regular blog and social content that thoughtfully shares their community initiatives, gives insight into the employee experience for various roles, and regularly highlights the people who make up their team
Another standout from the Indy market, Lessonly’s marketing and branding oozes fun, so much so that you can’t help but smile when you look at their website and social feeds. Things they do well include:
- Ollie the llama mascot, a silly, lighthearted icon that’s also a serious sign of their culture Its use as a brand fundamental tells you this isn’t your ordinary buttoned up company, especially since they call their team members llamas and their customers the LlamaNation!
- The Practice First podcast, which features in-depth conversions with everyone from Olympians to hypnotists to musicians to Lessonly team members and gives a human-to-human voice around their mission to do better work
- A bright and fun social media presence that frequently puts their people first, from introducing new employees, sharing peeks at their office life, celebrating current employees, and offering inspiration that aligns with their values
And some players outside the Circle City:
- Netflix is riding a wave of everyone’s favorite 2020 pastime—binging way too many shows—but behind the scenes they’re a company dedicated to culture. The company has a robust culture blog on their corporate site, the We are Netflix podcast, and video content highlighting employee experiences as well as public-facing celebrations of things they value and support.
- Patagonia’s stance on conservation, climate change, and other environmental-related issues is no secret. The brand regularly produces content to discuss their stances and beliefs, including a feature-length film called Public Trust.
- Mailchimp also walks the talk of their values, including the promotion and support of small businesses, a podcast putting the stories of black women front and center, and fostering a community of creativity among their employees both in the office and remote.
The bottom line? Human-centered marketing isn’t going away anytime soon, and your own company culture is a fantastic source for cutting through the noise and making a splash.
Whose culture marketing are you loving? We’d love to hear! Share in the comments below or drop us a tweet @greenloopmktg.