Is your corporate culture similar to that of a Crew Team, a Country Club or a Boy & Girl Scouts Club?

Is your corporate culture similar to that of a Crew Team, a Country Club or a Boy & Girl Scouts Club?

Acts of management shape employer culture Together, each action – big or small – of the employees of a company forms our impressions of a brand. And, each act of management in turn shapes employees’ impressions of their employer. When a company’s brand – its culture and values that promote management behaviors – is relevant to employees, they are more engaged, provide better customer experiences and, thereby, ultimately enhance profitability. Recent research from CultureQ, Onesixtyfourth’s ongoing monitor of how cultural sentiment is impacting people’s relationships with brands, reveals that Millennials, Gen Xers and Baby Boomers each define their ideal employer culture differently. What is your company culture?                   Would you describe your company culture as similar to that of a Crew Team, a Country Club or a Boy & Girl Scouts Club? Your answer to this question may offer some insight to why you are or are not having a tough time attracting new recruits. Boomers tend to prefer an office environment that is positive and healthy. A culture similar to that of a winning Crew Team: recognition and acknowledgement of hard work, a team-like work ethos, the individual strengths and skillsets that need to come together to do good work, accountability and pride that comes from a job well done. Gen Xers on the other hand, are looking for a work environment that supports, enhances and thereby actualizes their lifestyle – what many envision as Silicon Valley workplace culture or what we think of as a Country Club. As detailed in our blog last month, Our changing workplace: Cultural shifts...

World Z

Gen Z: 15 years and younger. Born after 1997. 68 million of them. Only 54% are Caucasian. As the oldest of this blooming generation approach the end of high school (or according to some demographer, begin university) marketers are keen to get greater insight into their psyche, to help combat some of the horrifying effects that accompany being a digital native (ie cyber bullying) and understand how to engage with Gen Z as purchasers and primary influencers. Gen Z has never known a world without the Internet. The majority of them have only lived through some kind of downturn and global turmoil (dot.com bust, 9/11, Great Recession, Newtown Shooting, Kenyan Mall Massacre). They’re also the first generation to have truly diverse social circles from relatively early on (a blur of male/female, different socio-economic groups, ethnicities and gender fluid friends). Societal changes since 1997, and the more individualistic orientation of their Gen Xer parents are shaping Gen Zers attitudes to brands. And the relationship they want with them is distinct from even the youngest of Millennials. So based upon our CultureQ research and day-to-day interactions with Gen Zers, we’ve formulated a quick action guide to help you deepen your connection with them: 1.  Involve them in the purchase decision now, rather than think of them as a future purchaser. Traditionally brands have seeded relationships with younger audiences as a way to capture their future purchasing power. This is now shifting. Gen Zers as diligent researchers use technology to identify brands that could benefit them and their family members. More than other generations have in the past, they’re shaping their parents...

The myth of globalization

I’ve just finished reading MegaChange 50: The world in 2050, written by a group of writers from the Economist. As the title suggests, the book gives a view on the trends shaping the world and its development in the future. Amidst the many fascinating themes and projections, the chapter that surprisingly captured my attention was the one on globalization. After all, the concept is hardly new - global markets have existed since the late 1800’s, and the term has been commonplace since the 1990’s. Laza Kekic  (one of the book’s authors) defines globalization as “The extension of markets across frontiers. The declining importance of national boundaries on goods capital and technology, culture and ideas.”  He has it spot on when he says despite globalization being one of the most powerful trends since WW2, in reality it’s not gone as far as people think, we’re actually only semi-globalized. This idea is always apparent to me than when I interact with retail banks. Banks are missing a trick Many such banks point to their global status as a gold star in the hopes of enticing today’s more affluent, contemporary consumer to develop lifetime value from these global citizens where-ever they travel, live or work.  Since 2008, however, regulation of banks has increased, enabled by the joint efforts of banks and regulatory bodies. The laws that have become practice were designed to increase consumer confidence and shift the power balance in a complex sector that was perceived to be badly broken. Yet, protectionism seems to have evolved into operating strategies that are more about institutional control than collaborative consumerism and trends towards...

J.C. Penney: we learned to listen to you

To secure loyalty, a brand’s experience should reflect its consumers’ values, lifestyles and interests, sincerely deliver its promise and credibly reflect its heritage. People want to see themselves as part of the brand; sometimes a slightly more polished version but never a dramatically different persona that feels out of step with their life. Given this shifting context, when J.C. Penney evolved the brand experience to woo a younger target audience, their core audience was right to feel misplaced. Under ex-CEO and former Apple Executive, Ron Johnson, J.C. Penney, first established in the frontier lands of Wyoming in 1902 for miners and farming families, looked to become “a happy place to hang out.” Coupons were ditched in favor of everyday low pricing and old faithful lines were displaced. Check out by smart phone and Wi-Fi hot spots were central to Millennialize the retail experience and appeal to more affluent consumers. J.C. Penney’s heartland clientele did not recognize their reliable go-to brand, which to this day prides itself on its commitment to make “everyday matter.” How could this national institution believably transform overnight into Apple’s much older sister? Many labeled it an awkward branding jumble; and one that resulted in disastrous sales. At Onesixtyfourth, we believe brands should mirror societal shifts. And CultureQ, our proprietary tracker of sentiment reveals that men and women across cohorts are growing more and more tired of divisiveness in all areas of their lives; the haves vs the have nots, the young vs the over the 40’s, Republican vs Democrat, it goes on. So, what’s the impact of such divisions, and often, artificial separations imposed by...

Good Brand Citizenship, in the wake of Hurricane Sandy

October 29th 2012. No power. No cell phone reception. No water – we’re on a well. This is our situation in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. It could have been so much worse. Whole communities across the North East of America have been devastated, thousands of houses arbitrarily rearranged, businesses forced to close, not to mention cars and transport links submerged as Sandy did her worst. And at her most uncompromising she took multiple lives. The number of people who lost everything in the storm is still somewhat unclear but growing. On Wednesday I began to slowly reconnect with the outside world through email. (Thank goodness for the beneficence of the local gym, which has become the temporary home we share with countless other families from across our community.) As I fired up my laptop, hundreds of unread emails leaked into my inbox. As I scanned their headings and abruptly selected the delete command it struck me how many of these messages did not acknowledge the events of the past 48 hours, let alone empathize with the people who have suffered in some way. The message was, it’s business as usual; 10% off for outerwear, a great deal on hair color, coupons for holiday gifts, and so the list went on. Does a certain outdoors apparel brand really believe most people in the affected States will be whipping out their credit cards and ordering snow boots when they haven’t got water, some have lost their income, or their worldly possessions? For me, one email stood apart from the rest: J Crew had sent it’s heartfelt condolences to the affected...

What makes a brand a favorite?

Our latest CultureQ study, which was conducted over the summer, is focused on understanding the attributes that distinguish a favorite brand from those of a category leader, and a good brand citizen. We’ve been speaking a lot about favorite brands in our office over the past few weeks and couldn’t resist giving you a preview…. Not surprisingly, trust in favorite brands is high. People turn to a small repertoire of brands that make up their inner circle and that they instinctively rely on. Participant journals strongly demonstrate that people’s relationships with favorite brands are principally based on highly emotional criteria that in many ways replicate the underpinnings of close friendships. People actively advocate for their favorite brands and a large number consider cheating on them “unimaginable.” In contrast, relationships with leadership brands are based in more functional criteria aligned with the product, (ie durability, innovation) best in class business practices, and to some degree ubiquity. Overall, the difference between favorite brands and leaders is the difference between love and respect. As with people, brand leaders are not always loved - and sometimes people even hope someone else will step in to replace them - but they are always respected. Favorites are loved and respected because of what they mean to people and because of how they are deeply integrated into day to day lives. Favorite brands are distinguished by the following criteria: 1. Clarity: favorite brands: Represent an inspiring philosophy Focus on making people feel special and unique Possess a beauty and simplicity of presentation & in their delivery 2. Context: favorite brands: Make everyday life easier and less...
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