Marketing’s Role in Corporate Culture

As today’s firms grow and the pursuit of both projects AND talent becomes increasingly more competitive, firm culture has become a bigger differentiator than ever before. And though we’ve all heard the phrase “culture eats strategy for breakfast,” sustaining a successful firm culture is, in fact, a strategic effort.

Today, we’ll be talking with Dana Galvin Lancour, FSMPS, CPSM and Corporate Communications Director at Barton Malow Company about investing in corporate culture and how internal marketing and communications contribute to defining, shaping, and reinforcing it.

Find the people within your organization that care, and want to make your company better.

 

CQ: “The need for an engaged workforce creates an opportunity for marketing and communications to partner with human resources to identify, support, and most importantly, communicate a company’s unique culture internally and externally.”  What do you think has changed the most since 2013?

DGL: Culture is even more important today than it was just two years ago, and the talent war is upon us. What differentiates firms in this competitive market is culture. Being able to clearly communicate your culture, both internally and externally, is very beneficial. It gives potential employees the chance to decide if your culture is something they want to be a part of.

CQ: Traditionally, when someone thinks of culture, they often think this is an HR function. So why do you think this is something that should matter to marketers?

DGL: The beauty of marketing and communications is that we have the ability to tell a really great story. For example – with the right skills, a marketer can really make a job description to attract the type of talent you need. While HR is very connected to the human side, their storytelling abilities are sometimes limited. Blending the two functions allows each to bring their respective skillsets together to create something special.

CQ:  Why do you think so many firms find it difficult to clearly communicate their culture?

DGL: A few reasons. First, we are so focused on clearly communicating what we do (services, markets, past accomplishments) that we forget to communicate who we are. And some firms just aren’t comfortable talking about their culture. Knowing what it means to be an employee at your firm takes introspection to realize what is good about your culture, and what is not so good about your culture (and what can be done to address it).

CQ: How do you measure culture within a firm?

DGL: We’ve done three different surveys in the past five years at Barton Malow. We first did a Denison survey, which measures organizational culture againt thousands of other companies across the country. We’ve also done an employee opinion survey, and we recently switched to a new survey that was used for the Forbes Best Places to Work list. Bottom line – you need to find what is best for your firm, and which approach covers what you’re trying to address.

CQ: What are some examples of strategies to address gaps in firm culture?

DGL: After our first suvey, we found that our employees had a complete disconnect with our strategic vision. So we spent a year communicating that vision through various platforms –  regular updates from our president, multiple employee meetings, aligning our performance evaluations, and various employee activities that brought employees together. But remember that these things take time – you’re turning a ship and you won’t see an immediate change.

CQ: What channels are you using to communicate?

DGL: We’re always looking for new ways to communicate, and make things more mobile. Lately, we’ve used:

  • video updates sent out via email
  • weekly safety toolbox talks
  • intranet
  • good ol’ fashioned email
  • employee meetings via webcast
  • internal newsletters
  • writing talking points for our leaders

 

CQ: CQ: How does your message change for external distribution?

DGL: Initially, we did not intend to put anything out externally. But our leaders were so proud of what our culture has become that they want to share it! It’s now something that has been intertwined into our overall messaging, proposals and presenations.

CQ: How do you recommend a marketer start this process at their firm?

DGL: Start small, and find the people within your organization that care and want to make your company better. Highlight those folks to the rest of the company. It takes time, but people will start to see you are doing something that is different, unique and really all about the people.

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST

Want to hear more from Dana? Listen to the full podcast:

Music by SONGO 21 – Studio sessions 2003 by SONGO 21 is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 International License.

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ABOUT Dana

dana galvin lancour

With a bachelors degree in marketing communications, Dana began her career at a national construction firm in 2001 where she learned about professional service industries and how to communicate effectively within the unique A/E/C environment. Currently she is the Director of Communications at Barton Malow Company where she develops and manages communication activities including internal messaging, employee engagement, video production, company events, employee development, strategic initiatives, social media engagement, public relations, internal branding and other written materials. Prior to my current position I developed Barton Malow’s social media strategy and implementation.

Have questions or want to chat more with Dana? Post your comments below or connect with her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

DOUBLE DIP WITH Dana

Join us Thursday on the podcast where catch back up with Dana about her career path and who’s had the biggest influence on who she’s become.

Music by SONGO 21 – Studio sessions 2003 by SONGO 21 is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 International License.

NEXT ON COMMUNIQUESO

Next week, we’ll welcome Josh Miles, principal of branding and design firm MilesHerndon, to talk about what you should do, discuss, and know before starting your website redesign.