Cultural Strength Can Help Resolve an Identity Crisis

Article excerpt

What's the best assurance of marketing success?

The leadership of a brilliant, charismatic marketing director? A strong marketing department? An inspired strategy, with all the financial and human resources to carry it through? Or is it the sheer good fortune of possessing a corporate or brand image which gives an (unfair) advantage in the success stakes?

All of these things, of course, do their bit in the battle, but there's one overriding factor which is the spark that gets the engine running. It's the corporate culture.

You know it - if the culture is soft, so will be the results. If the culture is sharp, things happen. If the culture is rigid, try making changes! If it's flexible, then you'll have more luck.

We know that culture is a front-of-mind issue for most organisations. We know it from research we've been doing with MORI since 1989, we know it from conversations we've had with marketers over that time and we know it from the media. And most times when it's mentioned hands are raised in the air in a clear 'Yes, but that's how the world is' expression.

But that's not how the world needs to be, because a culture can be pinpointed and steered, then used to marketing advantage.

The prerequisite is that it is recognised as an element of an organisation's corporate identity, that it's not less real for not being visible (like a logo), and that its effects span the internal/external divide, beginning with how insiders identify with their company's aims and aspirations, and stretching to how those same people treat customers - and all points between. …