advertisement
advertisement
The Fast Company Executive Board is a private, fee-based network of influential leaders, experts, executives, and entrepreneurs who share their insights with our audience.

15 ways to manage your company’s image from the inside out

Here’s why cultivating a brand is more than just advertising.

15 ways to manage your company’s image from the inside out
Members of Fast Company Executive Board share their expert insights. [Image: Courtesy of the individual members.]

With the internet in our hands, there’s so much at stake when it comes to attracting and retaining clientele. Today’s consumers are bold and savvy about researching the specific products they intend to purchase and they don’t have a problem calling a brand name out over social media regarding its lack of transparency about its merchandise, services, or a timely topic that could affect the bottom line.

advertisement
advertisement

At the end of the day, If a company falls short on delivering a marketing promise, seems out of touch with its target audience, or strays away from its original core values, chances are it runs the risk of losing the respect and loyalty of its major stakeholders.

Below, 15 members of Fast Company Executive Board offer tips on how to walk your talk—internally and externally—and why it’s so important.

1. TELL THE TRUTH.

advertisement

Always remain honest. No matter what advertising platform you choose, it’s important to comply with the required laws concerning any deceptive practices or false advertising statements. Make sure the message you are promoting about your business is ethical and truthful. – Manan Shah, Avalance Global Solutions

2. ALIGN MISSION, VISION, AND STRATEGY.

Managing the brand and culture of your startup business comes with the responsibility of aligning the mission, vision, and strategy. It is at the center of these vital elements in an organization that the advertising message is born and created. Maintaining vigilance and oversight to ensure alignment between the organizational mission and action is paramount to managing the brand and culture. Authentic actions matter most. – Leigh Burgess, Bold Industries Group, Inc.

advertisement

3. AMPLIFY CUSTOMER SERVICE.

Happy customers become your brand’s biggest cheerleaders, so it’s important to offer the best customer experience possible. When clients are passionate about your product, they are more likely to recommend it to their friends and family, which has a huge influence on consumer purchasing behavior. Without customers, you don’t have a brand! – Kelley Higney, Bug Bite Thing

4. STAY AUTHENTIC.

advertisement

Staying true to your DNA outside of the campaign and communicating the reasoning behind decisions to your team is crucial. Having an informed and educated team on new products or services translates to better sales and better communication. Develop internal promotional items that focus on the same campaign objectives. Your coworkers will become your proud ambassadors – Brandon Pena, BrandON Media Group

5. START INTERNALLY.

It’s imperative to manage a company’s brand and culture internally prior to doing so externally. Once done right within the team, each member of the team will push the right brand forward externally through their work with product, marketing, sales, customer success, and more. – Suchit Tuli, Quantime

advertisement

6. ESTABLISH CORE VALUES.

It’s all about value alignment. It starts with leaders reflecting on their values and then sharing these values with everyone on their team and in their organization. This type of value alignment is incredibly powerful. It’s one thing to build a brand people recognize, but it is much more impactful to build a brand aligned with a strong set of core values. – Camille Preston, AIM Leadership, LLC

7. IDENTIFY YOUR COMPANY’S UNIQUENESS.

advertisement

A company’s culture is usually created during its formative years and it’s all about the people or employees. It’s how you do what you do that creates a unique experience for the employees of the company and the customers that it serves. It’s a unique experience that differentiates the company from its peers and gives it a brand that needs to be preserved. – Avik Pal, CliniOps, Inc.

8. SHOW EMPATHY.

Develop a sense of community and compassion for the people behind the work. No matter if you’re selling cars, vacations, or technology, the mission and focus should always come back to the ones putting in the work and effort. A strong sense of community will keep good people in place and attract others. Find value in your people, learn what gets them excited, and build on it for ultimate success. – Josh Perlstein, Response Media

advertisement

9. MAKE A LASTING GOOD IMPRESSION.

Managing both brand and culture requires internal discipline. It’s more than just PR. The strength of a brand is often held in the impression of the experience customers have had—both good or bad. People may recognize a brand from its ads, but what they associate with the brand is more important. Similarly, a strong culture is best maintained by constant internal reinforcement of “this is who we are.” – Tyrone Foster, InvestNet, LLC

10. HONE IN ON YOUR PUBLICITY.

advertisement

While advertising is immediate, public relations (PR) is far more enduring. PR is critical to being perceived as a category leader. – Curtis Sparrer, Bospar

11. DON’T FAKE YOUR VALUES.

Authenticity is the best way to build a brand. You can try to fake it, but customers will see straight through that. Start internally by understanding what your values are, then amplify that publicly. – Lyndon Brown, Pondurance

advertisement

12. EXECUTE ON EXPECTATIONS.

Execute the expectations put forth to the client. Underpromise and overdeliver. Say what you mean and mean what you say. People are always dumbfounded when I’m asked what piece of advice I would give on what has allowed me to create and manage a successful brand in today’s business world. It’s simple: Do what you said you were going to do! Because the truth is that very few actually do. – Kevin Neff, Kevin Makes Sense Media

13. STATE YOUR PURPOSE CLEARLY.

advertisement

Have a clear, inspiring purpose and mission that every stakeholder understands and champions. The best way to do this is to craft a brand story that defines not only who you are but who you are not. Everything meaningful starts from within. In an age of ultra transparency and accountability, it is important to live your story before telling it. – Padmini Sharma, Jester&Genius

14. PROMOTE POSITIVITY.

The best way to manage brand and culture is with messages that create a “positive emotional root,” per the science of behavioral communications. Ask what messages make your audience feel heard, excited, appreciated, respected, and more? Then nurture your top root emotions with authenticity. Our collective societal BS meters are off the charts right now. Get real about what matters and do only that. – Elizabeth Edwards, Volume PR & Engagement Science Lab

advertisement

15. CREATE A HAPPY WORK ENVIRONMENT.

While a company’s brand is its external appearance and reputation, organizational culture is a company’s internal workings. The two are directly linked, so it’s imperative that both are managed effectively. For example, if a company’s culture is toxic, this will trickle down through employees and directly impact how they interact with customers. Simply put, happy employees mean happy customers. – Kristin Marquet, Marquet Media, LLC

advertisement
advertisement
advertisement