People only want to work for—and with—brands they relate to and trust. That’s why it’s important to communicate more than just what you do in your content. You need to show people who you are and what you stand for if you want to build a true relationship. How do you do that? Through culture marketing.
What Is Culture Marketing?
Think of culture marketing as an opportunity to introduce yourself to people through content. It’s an organic way to give a human face to your brand and cultivate a more genuine relationship with not just the people who need your product/service but potential employees and collaborators.
In practice, it’s celebrating your company culture through content, offering a behind-the-scenes look at the people, places, and values that make your brand what it is.
How to Do Culture Marketing the Right Way
There are many ways to translate your culture into interesting content, as we’ve seen with brands of all sizes, in all industries. From blog posts to video, culture marketing can be done through every medium and every touchpoint—and it doesn’t take much to do it. If you’re already actively content marketing, here are five ways to incorporate culture marketing into the mix, easily and authentically.
1) Tell Your Origin Story
There’s a reason your company started, and probably an interesting story behind it. Did your cofounders meet as college roommates? Did your founder start her business with only $100? Sharing your story helps people get to know your brand more intimately. It even makes them a part of it, as your story is ever-evolving.
Pro tip: The more honest you are about both your struggles and successes related to building your business, the more people can empathize with you.
Example: Adventure gear retailer Huckberry does a fantastic job of sharing their origin story. Written by their cofounders, it details humble beginnings, along with photos of their journey.
2) Put Your Values Front and Center
People don’t just want to know how your brand started; they want to know why you exist. No matter what product you sell or service you provide, you do have a larger goal. If you sell security software, you want people to feel safe. If you create sugar-free snacks, it’s because you want people to enjoy a healthier life. These are the things that drive you, and they should be spotlighted.
Look for opportunities to share your purpose, vision, mission, and values through content. There are many creative ways to do this. For example, a sustainable clothing company might create an infographic detailing their supply chain. A dog-walking service might feature dogs for adoption on their Instagram.
Example: Lululemon is a yoga apparel brand that believes in the power of yoga. As such, they partner with Exhale to Inhale, an organization that helps people affected by domestic violence and sexual assault transform their lives through trauma-informed yoga. In this brand video, they offer a glimpse of what the organization does, spotlighting a cause they care deeply about.
3) Spotlight Your People
Brands aren’t nameless corporations. They are groups of people who work for and with people. Culture marketing is a great way to spotlight the people behind your brand in a way that benefits everyone. Employees feel appreciated, and the people who support your brand get to form a stronger bond with the people behind the curtain. Additionally, it can also help recruitment, as potential employees get to “meet” the people they might be working with.
To feature your community successfully, look for opportunities to share the stories of employees or the people who benefit from your work, through things like employee profiles, partner testimonials, or Q&As with leadership.
Example: Zendesk does a fantastic job of spotlighting both their employees and their commitment to diversity through their Diversity & Inclusion page, which details the various programs they have, alongside the stories of participants.
4) Show Off Your Workspace
Your headquarters, warehouses, and other workspaces are, effectively, your home—and they have a significant effect on your community and culture. (No one wants to work in a depressing space, and no one wants to envision their customer service rep trapped in a gray cubicle.) As such, you should be happy and eager to welcome people into your space.
Social media is a great way to show off your day-to-day environment, whether it’s a behind-the-scenes look at a brainstorming session, your lunch room, headquarters, factory, or other relevant space.
Side note: If you’re not comfortable showing people your office space, that might be a symptom of a larger problem.
Example: Dropbox is all about encouraging creativity and collaboration. On Instagram, they provide snapshots of their offices, designed to encourage those values.
View this post on Instagram
View this post on Instagram
5) Feature What Makes You Unique
Culture marketing is an effective way to recruit like-minded people who are committed to your vision and values, whatever they may be. Through content, you can share the ways in which you cultivate your unique culture, whether it’s through employee volunteer trips, hack days, retreats, or other interesting events, traditions, or daily interactions.
Example: Squarespace empowers people with creative ideas to succeed, so it’s no surprise that they go to great lengths to cultivate creativity and explore new ideas in their office. Thus, they used Instagram to document their #MakeItMindful event, featuring meditation tents and sound baths.
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Flashing back to our #MakeItMindful event last week, which focused on mindfulness, meditation, and relaxation ahead of #GHC2018. Phones were checked at the door, and attendees enjoyed meditation tents, a swing set, healthy snacks and a tea bar, a panel discussion, as well as a guided sound bath meditation session led by #Squarespace customer @saraauster. Swipe through for all the action. #ThisIsSquarespace #FBF
Warning: Keep Your Culture Marketing Authentic
Remember that good culture marketing is only possible when you actually have a good company culture. You can’t fake or force culture-based content if it doesn’t feel honest.
If you’re struggling to incorporate culture marketing naturally, it may be a symptom of a larger problem: that your core identity is weak. In this case, your leadership needs to revisit your purpose, vision, mission, and values to help realign and recenter your brand. Only then can you build a culture worth celebrating.