Culture Change Branding: Secrets to Gaining Traction?
Building a company culture that supports your vision and goals can be likened to branding a product – requiring steady, consistent communications with your target audience over time to shape and influence their behavior.
Nowhere is that more important than in the midst of major change – whether a change in leadership, in strategy or direction, or explicitly corporate culture change.
6 Tips for Gaining Traction on Change: (aka, “You Can’t Make Your Business Work Without Me”)
1) Know your target audience
– hiring right is the first big task to get right. Read about Google’s 10 rules on this subject.
Employees want to know why on every subject. Think like a 5-year-old: “Why should I buy this (story)?” “Why are we doing this?” “Why do we exist?” “Why do leaders want to ______?” “Why this decision (versus that)?” If you give the corporate version of “Because we said so” plan on about the same engagement back. Check out this free tool communicating during change.
3) Repeat often.
Rule of advertising? I have to see something 7 times to be influenced – and that doesn’t necessarily mean purchase. The key to creating traction and buy-in to change is the repetition of very clear instructions. In a noisy world, your message has to stand out, rise above. Messages that let people know how they can help, how their effort matters, with an emotional punch (not dry spreadsheets or $$-oriented pleas) – those are the messages that get attention.
4) No dumming down.
The internet allows us to find anything we want – including news about our own company from sources outside our thin walls. Transparency rules – give it to people straight. They’ll respect you and it just might lead to a “sale” (of your story and your change).
5) Cool Works – Create Buzz.
Even old people like your 40 and 50-somethings like cool. Stop trying to inspire with dry, boring facts and create a little mystery and intrigue around your process. Use humor – it works!
6) Relationships matter.
CONNECT. Get out and talk to people face-to-face about your change. Answer their questions in real time. Use Twitter and Facebook to engage them in a dialogue, versus the monologue of issuing PR. Employees want personal information and they want to feel like they’re on the inside track. (see #4 above).
Get these 6 points right and watch your culture change effort get “snapped up” at a speed faster than the new iPhone release.
Lisa Jackson is a corporate culture expert and co-author of 2 books including the brand new “Culture Builder Toolkit: A Step-by-Step Guide for Assessing and Changing Corporate Culture.” She specializes in teaching companies and leaders how to align and transform their corporate culture to maximize profitable growth, productivity, and innovation.