Category Design Case Study V: Reflect The CULTURE.

Today’s category design case study is about seeking out the true brand story hidden deep in the organization – and allowing those people to see themselves reflected in the brand. This is how we charge the culture with electric energy.

Here are the other case studies: Intro – case I: TRUST – case II: FLOW – case III: SCALE – case IV: TRANSPARENCY.

Here is the case study V PDF version.

The enduring challenges: (what is…)

  1. Underpowered: “a public company with a private mindset” means brand strengths are under-represented in the marketplace.
  2. Men in suits: the rich, diverse, global workforce is not reflected in the brand story.

The point of view (what if…)

  • Let’s unlock brand power by giving visibility to the rich culture and values alignment.
  • Let the rich culture drive brand outcomes that are greater than the sum of the parts.
  • Let’s enable all colleagues to see themselves in the brand.

The sell-ution (what wows…)

80% of employees are field workers, remote from offices. They are the day-to-day stakeholder face of the brand. Tales of yore speak to the founder’s passion for, and focus on, their success. However, we are a hierarchical, top-down company! Instead of executive ‘suits’ in headshot photos and videos sharing corporatespeak downloads, we wanted to invert the process, leveraging the social age appetite for authentic, first-person storytelling.

The company’s values spelt out an acronym, SPIRIT. In our research we discovered that no matter the level of corporate insight and strategic alignment, everyone oriented around our SPIRIT. It had become shorthand for our purpose and stakeholder approach. It was something every colleague could speak to authentically. We had found our cultural North Star, that connected our stakeholder groups together in a way a corporate update could never accomplish. We decided to orient all our external branding around the concept and its component parts.

The Mobilization (what works…)

We got ourselves invited to the annual conferences of front line workers, and set to a massive gathering of stories around strategic and values themes, sometimes totalling 50+ video interstitials and stories. These formed the bedrock of our brand storytelling, reaching stakeholders ‘corporate’ content could not.

The content was shared on social by these proud colleagues; such that their families and communities could see themselves represented in a global brand. The most common comment on these posts became “I want to work for that company one day.” We were able to quickly produce podcasts, culture walls, culture decks, recruitment and onboarding collateral from single source material, because of its alignment to the essence of the company.

The culture of the organization is not the strategic plan or the CEO goals, yet that is where the communications focus had been previously. It is ‘people like us who do things like this.’ The culture content programs drove resonance to a common purpose. We were all on the same page. For a global company, we could all speak the same language, fluently.

Dis!Organize resources: Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantueveryone anytime everywhere anyonebe FRESH

This Much We Know.

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