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27 5 Ways to Make Culture a Marketing Strategy

jones soda design strategyAn effective marketing strategy is the most important marketing consideration your small business can employ. Bar none it’s the difference between companies that get by and those that get buy.

Silly pun aside, there are many ways of landing on a marketing strategy, but sometimes the difference maker lies outside of your products and services. While it’s all very logical to try to find your point of differentiation from a product, package, or price feature, some of the greatest marketing strategies reside in tapping the underlying culture of the organization itself.

Culture’s a funny thing in the world of small business. It’s often a representation of the personality, beliefs and values held by the owner of the business. It’s hard to fake and it’s hard to change. But, if you can define it, mold it, and communicate it in ways that support a positive brand experience, you might just be on to a very powerful source of business.

Below are five ways that organizational culture can become a powerful marketing strategy.

1) Green

The green movement is alive and well in the mind of a growing segment of the market. This isn’t just a culture of environmentally sound business practices as much as it is a commitment to something of a higher purpose that represents the beliefs of an organization.

It’s also a good place to look for authenticity. This is not just about setting up a recycling program and promoting it on the web site.

Green business is about nurturing and growing. It involves customer service and employee practices that focus on that. Check out SweetRiot or TerraCycle

2) Yes

Some companies find a way to over deliver and delight their customers at every turn. They define customer service and the “yes we can do that” attitude in every process and business decision.

Their customers voluntarily relate stories of over the top feats of service. Few companies do this better than Zappos

A commitment to a level of service that makes people talk about you is a great marketing strategy.

3) People

There’s a coffee shop in my neighbor that makes pretty average coffee, but I’m drawn to visit them time and time again because the owner of the business and every single person he finds to employ are so darn nice and genuinely friendly that I want to do business with them.

Every time I fly Southwest Airlines, and it’s often, I’m amazed at happy their employees seem to be while they go about their work. Baggage handlers, ticket agents, pilots and flight attendants alike all seem to share the same passion.

4) Design

Great design powers many organizations to marketing greatness. Apple certainly benefits from a long history of simple, but very powerful, design.

Great design is probably the one area a firm can acquire the greatest amount of outside help. A talented branding or design agency can go a long way towards creating design assets that connect with design conscious customers, but in the end, the culture of great design has to live in the walls. A company that benefits from a focus on style pays as much consideration to the pens and trash cans in the office as a logo and web page.

One of my design first favorites is JonesSoda

5) Freaks

As Tom Peters famously said in Liberation Management, “Fire the planners and hire the freaks. In an age of deviation, the only viable response to weirdness is to get weird.”

Whether you call it cultural diversity, tolerance or color, standing out by letting your hair down and being who you really are is a great way to attract others who share your passion for weirdness.

Actively seeking colorful individuals to bring much higher level of out of the box thinking may be just the ticket for a company looking to establish a point of differentiation.

So, could the underlying culture of your place of business become your core marketing strategy? Then let it free!

Image credit: anokarina