How to Create a High-Performance Culture


In the book What Great Brands Do, Denise Lee Yohn identifies seven brand-building principles employed by successful companies — practices that, as Yohn describes, “separate the best from the rest.” The first principle concentrates on setting (or resetting) a strong corporate culture.

It’s not just about crafting a mission and vision statement with commonly-used words like “trust” and “integrity” and displaying it in the hallway of the executive team. It’s a deeper brand DNA that can be more clearly identified or understood through a few research exercises.

  • Sales Rep Ride-alongs: Hand pick a few top performing sales and/or service reps to accompany during customer visits to see the art of the pitch firsthand and understand the messages that are being conveyed.
  • In-Depth Internal and Customer Interviews: Conduct a couple dozen 30-minute in-depth internal and customer interviews to gain a full appreciation of how your brand is perceived inside and out.
  • Competitive Audit: Frame the competitive voices displayed across advertising, website, social outlets and other media to create a context for what the competitive environment looks like.
  • Brand Archetypes: Determine how your customers connect with or relate to the personality of your brand and how they represent their needs and desires. This understanding can be harnessed to make customers and prospects feel closer to your company and products.

After your discovery process has been fully vetted and validated, the bottom line is to define or refine your corporate brand positioning. What is the brand promise from the customer’s point of view? This will need to manifest with all audiences — employees, investors, channel partners and customers alike — and serve as an internal rallying cry.

Ultimately all successful brands own, breathe and celebrate their brand culture day in, day out.

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