Category Archives: Brand Evolution

Comapny Culture

The What, How, & Why of Cultivating Positive Company Culture

Culture seems to be the latest business buzzword and “must-have” in companies today. But what exactly is culture? How can you have a great one that recruits and retains an excellent workforce? How can a healthy, thriving culture impact your bottom line? We’ll cover the basics of cultivating an excellent company culture this month on ‘Powered by Creativity.’

What is company culture

Every company has a distinct culture, no matter if they have one employee or hundreds of thousands. Company culture involves what employees see, feel, and think about your business – it is a set of visions, values, norms, beliefs, habits, and assumptions that make up your company’s identity; in essence, it is your company’s personality. Cultures are not something employees bring with them; they are ingrained in the genetic code of your company and will exist before and after employees come and go, although they can change over time.

 

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To evaluate your company’s current culture, you may want to ask yourself these questions: “What are common behaviors of employees while they are on the job – good or bad? How meaningful is the job to my employees – would they go elsewhere if given the opportunity?” While not your actual culture, the answers to these questions signify either a healthy or unhealthy culture. Company culture is important to employees and employers alike – employees want to enjoy their time in the workplace and feel that their work has meaning for both themselves and the company, while employers benefit when they have employees who fit in with the company culture, which usually makes them happier and more productive, as well as wanting to work for the company longer.

How to cultivate company culture

The good news is that, if you have discovered aspects of your culture that you would like to improve upon, they are fluid and changeable. Putting a focus on culture within your company gives your team guiding principles. It is up to the leaders of the company to set the precedent for the culture you want to achieve. According to companyculture.com, 80% of company members are potentially very flexible – if the culture asks for employees to be engaged, responsible, pleasant, and highly productive, they will be; however, in unhealthy culture environments, employees may be closed, unengaged, irresponsible, unpleasant, and unproductive.

 

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If you cultivate a great culture, people will know you for it, your team will live by it and work together towards the same company mission, and it will get you through the bumps in the road. Here are a few key areas you can get started with right away to get the ball rolling on creating a dynamic company culture.

Purpose: In order for your purpose to be effective and resonate with your team, they not only have to be told what it is, they have to buy into it as well. Employees as a whole typically want to feel like what they do matters – showing them their measurable impact on the success of the company makes them invested in what they do and want to do better.

Engagement: Purpose’s cousin, engagement, is all about preparation – specifically how prepared your employees feel to fulfill their purpose. If there are distractions or inefficiencies, or people don’t feel like they can fulfill their role to the best of their ability, there is an engagement problem.

Trust: A critical aspect in life that transfers into the workplace, trust needs to be an important company value, period. If there is mistrust about your employees, whether it comes to personal effects or getting the job done, the issue needs to be addressed and rectified as soon as possible.

Evolve: Continuous learning = continuous improvement of your company. Processes and the way things are done change and evolve over time, and so should your workforce. It is the responsibility of the business owner to make sure employees feel empowered to seek their own continuing education, and if they don’t, you need to dig a little deeper into finding out why.

Why company culture matters

Culture matters – a healthy culture creates enthusiasm and happiness, which means more productivity. Job satisfaction starts with job creators caring about their employees. When an employer hires that perfect candidate, they definitely want the best return on their dollar, but if you ask the reverse question ‘besides a paycheck, what are your employees getting out of their job?’ it may help you understand how to engage and motivate employees to their full potential. Improving company culture may seem like it takes a lot of effort, but once you have a healthy one, the benefits are countless; from getting more work done faster to higher retention rates of valuable members of the team, as well as eventually being able to recruit the most competitive employees to keep your company moving forward. The best and brightest employees in any given field want it all; competitive salary and benefits, work/life balance, and a great company culture that makes them look forward to going to work every day. In turn, they’ll give you their best and be invested in your company’s success as much as you are.

 

If you’re reading this and feel like you don’t know where to begin with changing your company culture for the better, you’re not alone. Company culture is unique to each business and can sometimes be a complicated aspect of your company to change. If you’re ready to make that leap, our culture experts are here to help with solid advice and business development plans. We have the unique perspective of being on the outside looking in, and may be able to pinpoint certain pain points in your culture that are easy to overlook when you are busy running your day-to-day operations. Give us a shout out today – we’d love to talk to you!

 

2016: The Year of the User Experience – Part 1

The beginning of each new year triggers fond memories we’ve made, reminds us of growth from lessons learned, and brings a sense of wonderment about what the future holds. As marketers, we become giddy at the thought of NEW – new design concepts, new innovative tools and resources, new advancements for better experiences and big dreams for the future.

Looking forward to what the coming year has in store, we’re already beginning to see changes in processes, design and more. What are some of the top predictions for changes this year? Grab a coffee, kick back, and let’s take a trip to Daydream Land to imagine all the opportunities to explore and trends to anticipate in 2016.

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We cannot stress enough how vital it is to provide users with the best, most seamless experience possible. Your company could feature the most outstanding web design ever, which you feel should be displayed in the Louvre next to the Mona Lisa, but if it isn’t easy to use and quick to load, users will jump ship and move on to the next.

Be mindful of what effect the interaction with your site will have on a user, and allow that to help determine the best route. For example, will your mobile site make someone want to toss their smartphone at the wall because their fingers have to go ninja-status, zooming in and out to read a product description? Or will they feel a sense of calm tranquility from the clean, intuitive design that does exactly what they want without having to do much more than lift a thumb?

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A key factor that will contribute to giving the best user experience possible on your website is the first screen. With mobile screens becoming the primary screen users interact with, it is paramount to the success of your site – and business – to grow with the times and put smartphone screens as the top priority when developing design concepts. Focus on elements such as calls to action that require little to no extra work by the user, simple sign-up fields for capturing emails quickly, and easy-to-read content that is both effortless to view and full of rich, useful information.

A top-notch responsive design will cater to both mobile and desktop, leaving nothing to the imagination when using either device. For a superb example of a recent rebrand that encompasses the perfect balance of design, functionality and user-friendliness, look no further than Netflix. The company appears to have immersed itself into the life of the end user to fully understand how people use their devices these days and how to best cater to their needs. If you find your site is not able to provide a cohesive experience across every device, it’s time to take it under the knife for a facelift.

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There is a saying that goes “if it doesn’t nurture your soul, get rid of it.” Take this flower-child-like philosophy to heart when it comes to your website and the creation of an excellent user experience. For each piece of content, every photograph, logo or form – ask yourself “What purpose is this serving?” If the answer isn’t a solid justification to keep it on your site, it’s most likely best to remove it and allow the user to engage with the pertinent information of your business, rather than sift through what may or may not be of interest.

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Intuitively designed websites are of the utmost importance, and with this in mind, the ‘navicon’ or Hamburger Menu will be your new best friend moving into 2016. Clever little hidden menus are starting to replace the more traditional navigation menus across all devices, desktop included. Check out some great examples of these hidden menus on websites across a wide variety of industries. Intuitive and space-saving, these menus not only provide more white space for you to work with visually, but also give a subtle sense of clarity that allows the user not to be distracted from more important elements of your site you want them to focus on.

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Modular Scrolling

The infinite scroll function became a huge trend in 2015 on some of the world’s most popular sites, including Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter, and has since been adopted by numerous sites around the web. What’s the new thing in 2016? Enter module scrolling, a layout that enables modules of a site to scroll independently from each other, like this prime example from a hotel in Rome showcasing two columns working in harmony side by side. While the functionality and feel of this trend is pretty nifty in itself, its purpose all comes back to the top priority – user experience. This scrolling feature on a site allows the user to continuously absorb content from your site without being interrupted by loading pages, searching for links via clicks, etc. and providing a one-stop-lane for your site’s entire library of contents.

To learn more about the trends and concepts reviewed in this post and how you can apply them to your marketing strategy, contact us today. We find this stuff interesting and exciting, and would love the chance to take this journey into the coming year with you to help your business grow. Cheers to 2016!

When Brands Become Products

When a business is started, the dream is to gain so much word of mouth that the brand becomes a household name – or is it? For the companies that introduced us to Thermos, Cellophane, and Bubble Wrap, that dream became a nightmare. In this month’s ‘Powered by Creativity,’ we take a look at the advantages and disasters that happen when a brand becomes ‘genericized.’

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Living the American Dream

Picture this: Someone has an incredible idea for a unique product to put on the market, and a dream to start their own business and make a living by reproducing this product to make life easier for millions of consumers. After all of their hard work planning, saving, spending, and branding the new product, it becomes phenomenally successful on the market. This is great news; more people engaged in a brand with purchase power will lead to higher sales just by word of mouth. However, in order to hold onto the exclusivity of the brand, the company will need to toe the line of popularity vs. becoming such a household name that the brand now becomes the name of the product itself.

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Be careful what you wish for

On the opposite end of the spectrum, when a brand becomes a common name that turns into the name of the product itself, then the business has a problem. Once the brand becomes the common name used to describe multiple products that are similar to a company’s product, then not only is the brand image oversaturated and devalued, but the company’s trademark becomes vulnerable to loss of legal protection for exclusive rights to the name.

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A good example of this is Bubble Wrap, which was introduced by Sealed Air Corporation as wallpaper in 1960, but came to prominence as packaging material after being used to ship IBM computers. The product name is technically “air bubble packaging,” but because all products of this design became commonly known by the layman’s term of bubble wrap, the brand name became muddled with the product name and therefore not only lost its brand name value, but became a generic trademark as well.

In today’s world, it is so important to distinguish your brand identity in the marketplace and create loyalty not only for producing a reliable product, but because your brand image is superior to others and top of mind when purchasing that product. One of our specialties at Stray Media Group is helping clients maintain an elevated and consistent brand image to distinguish their products in the marketplace. If you are looking for expert knowledge to create, refresh, or grow your brand, we would love to meet with you; contact us today!

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