Culture as a Competitive Weapon

Felix Thomson

Content Executive

The Financial Services Forum

Ian Buckingham puts the case for a culture-first approach to change, with the help of three real-life examples of change in action.
Business performance is an outcome of “the way things get done” in a business. An organization’s culture, its shared and largely unconscious beliefs, assumptions, passions and actions, shape the experiences staff have within the company, and in turn determine how they deal with customers drawn in through the “shop window” by the power of marketing. In short, marketers cannot afford not to work arm-in-arm with their internal-facing colleagues, just as any internal change programme worth its salt should start and end with the customer.
As customers and consultants, we witness many examples where investing in brand development and brand awareness actually escalates the pace of brand decline – when customers’ experiences don’t match the bold promises. Staff keep or break those promises – fact.
In the battle for customer loyalty, the leading organizations are those that nurture a business culture that expresses their brand values daily, through a workforce that understands the brand, its value to the business, and their role in delivering that value.
These imperatives are clear from the experiences of three organizations that we have worked with over the last few years, and the key lessons are shared in this article.
In the not-for-profit Organization A, the chairman initially took responsibility for driving change. He employed a “go-getting” COO from an industry that typified the culture their clients were demanding. Together, they enlisted the help of trusted partner organizations (including ourselves) to run a significant internal diagnostic process to support structure-based decisions.
To read the full article, please download the PDF above. 

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