Company Culture.


I read a lot about company culture.  When I first started working at McCann-Erickson I was told the culture was entrepreneurial. That translated into “Do what you think is right until a boss tells you differently.”  Or “Fall forward fast.” I guess that’s culture.

The brand strategist in me however asks the question “Is company culture prescriptive or is it free-flowing?”  Coming from the strategy side of the business I go with the former.

At What’s The Idea? brand strategy is defined as “an organizing principle for product, experience and messaging.”  I certainly could add the word “culture” here but it’s kind of superfluous. Kind of implied.

When studying anthropology at Rollins College it was a given fact that culture resulted from structuralism and/or functionalism. I forget what structuralism is but functionalism suggests that cultural behaviors are tied to functional outcomes.  Well, in brand strategy functional outcomes are prescribed. And that’s not just “sell more stuff.” It’s “sell more stuff because”…  If you are a company that makes web development easier or loan applications easier, then the company culture should be about improving usability. But sometimes culture decouples from business-winning pursuits, e.g., ping pong tables or kegerators. And that’s off-brand if you ask me.