Most companies today are at least familiar with the importance of producing high-quality content. They’re aware of the impact content can have on establishing their brand, increasing sales, influencing buying decisions and building enduring relationships with consumers.
What they aren’t always aware of is how to create it.
One of the most powerful elements in developing this high-impact content lies in your brand’s ability to build an authentic culture among your employees. Surprisingly, a high number of employees are not aligned with their brands — in a Gallup survey of more than 3,000 U.S. workers, only 41 percent of employees “strongly agreed” with the statement, “I know what my company stands for, and what makes my brand(s) different from our competitors.”
In addition to brand alignment, a truly authentic culture includes trust, connection and reflection. When you’ve established an authentic culture, your people trust the brand, feel a personal connection to their team members and to the brand purpose, and can easily self-reflect to determine their impact on the brand and their role in successfully delivering on the brand promise.
Let’s break down how creating an authentic culture has everything to do with perfecting your brand’s content.
Trust is the key
The 2015 Trust Barometer findings show that customers are more likely to purchase from brands they trust, and companies with high levels of employee trust outperform businesses with low trust levels by 186 percent. When your people trust and believe in your brand, it reflects powerfully in the messaging and communication with consumers.
One of the direct results of increased trust is increased employee engagement. Escalated engagement, coupled with brand alignment, results in an increased ability to create an emotional connection with customers. Gallup’s Human Sigma approach demonstrates that organizations with engaged employees and customers experience a 240 percent boost in performance-related business outcomes.
Engaged people create engaging content
Don’t be the brand that is carried away by the tide of tactics. Fully embrace the power of content by developing a well-grounded strategy. Establishing an authentic culture will build a solid foundation for your brand’s content strategy, enabling you to rally your team around the same goals, support existing and new tactics and apply their individual strengths to developing certain topics that resonate with your audience.
How? Again, the goal is engagement (it’s interesting how most companies have the same goal for their people as they do for their content, isn’t it? Engagement). People who aren’t engaged are costing your company time and money, and content that doesn’t engage your audience is costing you time and money. Could there be a connection between the level of engagement with your people and how engaging your content is?
People could argue that it’s possible to create engaging content with a disengaged workforce. Possibly, but is it sustainable? Happy, fulfilled and engaged employees have a greater desire to create content that truly reflects how they feel about and experience your brand.
How to create an authentic culture
You’re convinced — now what? Let’s look at the steps you can take to build authenticity at your workplace.
Create opportunities for your employees to bond. Ask yourself how often you are creating intentional opportunities that enable your people to know each other and your brand at a deep, authentic level. If the answer is “not often,” check out these team bonding exercises.
Align your team around a common goal. Then, involve your employees in decisions around these goals and other business activities. Fast Company reports on a Building Trust in Business study that found common goals strengthen the trust bond. This enhanced connection to your brand and each other encourages employees to use content and messaging as a way to serve your community at a greater level.
Get intentional about listening. One of the most significant points I stress when building trust is the importance of listening. Ask your team questions (and follow-up questions), uncover their goals and aspirations and hear their stories. Sincerely listening to your team escalates trust levels and equips them with the power to influence and build the same degree of trust through the content they are creating for your audience.
Get to know who your employees are. Strong human connection takes place when we get to know someone through the story of who we are and who they are, not what either do. Understanding your people’s stories enables you to establish this level of connection and lets you integrate them into your brand purpose and vision.
Share success stories with one another. Sharing success stories internally allows your people to feel and see the impact they are making. They’ll see that what they are doing is making a difference in the world and feel more connected to their work and the people you serve. Imagine the power of that coming through in your brand content.
Building a strong and intentional culture inspires and connects your team to your brand and purpose and stimulates employee engagement. Engaged employees are more inclined to support your business goals and more inspired to create powerful content.
Is your team connected to your brand? Have you established an authentic culture that is reflected in the messages your audience is receiving?