Business is a battleground, and tactics of all kinds are battle strategies and weapons. But can you use corporate culture as a weapon? Corporate culture is how you keep your warriors happy, not your competitors unhappy! Or is it? Apparently happy warriors make for better products, better service, better work and bigger profits, at least at Ashland Inc. Chief growth officer Walter Solomon says keeping the warm fuzzies growing among his employees inspires bigger financial returns. Solomon says Ashland hammered out five culture elements and 19 behaviors that enabled Ashland to compete effectively with the largest, lowest-cost and most aggressive chemical companies in the world. This chemical company is creating culture chemistry, as well as chemicals, and has transformed its business with something as simple as company culture.
Small businesses have a distinct advantage, should they elect to use culture as a marketing strategy. Big business inherently requires more and more rules to keep it running, by default watering down any culture. That’s not to say that big business can’t or don’t have culture; it is just that big businesses often struggle with having a distinct culture. And this is where small business excels.
Be very clear about your culture, and build it internally. Recruit people who naturally fit your culture, and create an environment where it flourishes. Then use it as a marketing tool. Be public about your culture. Google has no problem sharing details about it's culture, along with others. Encourage employees to speak about your environment. Invite clients to participate and share in it. Ironically, it is one of the lowest-cost marketing initiatives you can do, and it absolutely has the highest return.
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