When a company’s distinctive brand is discovered and the corporate “Why” (the impact and contribution of an organization) is unearthed, and both are shared with employees, strategic partners, stakeholders, channel partners, industry influencers, customers and prospects – there is, now, an opportunity to do something revolutionary.
Most companies really don’t understand the potential their company culture and other intangible assets hold. Or do they realize the value it can bring to the business.
Think about the value of the Zappos® brand for instance. Amazon® bought Zappos for $1.2 Billion in 2009 – that was about three times the value of the inventory on hand, the headquarters building in Henderson, Nevada and warehouses. Most of that value was derived from the famous Zappos brand and its ambassadors (the employees) who actually contributed added value to the company. (To really understand this intangible value, check out the Zappos Family Video on YouTube®: https://youtu.be/axlWBn7YQA4).
So as you can see, when a brand’s attributes are discovered and shared with their many audiences, something powerful and uplifting can happen:
- First, if the brand is discovered and identified from within the company, the employees are already a part of that brand and have played a role in establishing it. And if that same group buys into the company “Why,” then a trust is developed.
- Second, like-mindedness is the glue that bonds this community of leaders and workers together. The CEO will have faith that each person in the company is delivering the brand promise (that brand’s claim of distinction, supported by evidence of performance) and as well, employees are confident that the CEO is guiding the company based on the company’s why. Only when these two elements are in place are the seeds of an uprising planted. A kind of positive cultural uprising that unites the entire company around a shared belief or cause.
Is a cultural uprising good for your company? Yes…if you want your brand to be viewed as having a purpose behind your products or services, such as Zappos. And if you want your employees to embrace and share your company’s deeper beliefs.
GET YOUR UPRISING ON!! Because you want your customers to have something more than price to be the reason to do business with you.
WHY? Because customers and employees alike are attracted to businesses with a soul.
Let’s look at a company with a soul.
Software Advice™, a software selection consulting group in Austin, Texas, has an ongoing cultural uprising in place right now.
In 2013, Software Advice founder and CEO Don Fornes and his wife learned about the HeartGift© Foundation, a charity that brings children from developing countries who suffer from congenital heart defects to the United States to undergo life-saving surgeries unavailable in their home country. The children are placed with a host family for the six-week duration of their stay.
The Fornes family signed up to host Confidence, a 2-month old girl who was diagnosed with, essentially, two holes in her heart. HeartGift Austin, would pay the vast majority of the $266,000 required to transport Confidence and her mother Mary to and from Austin and to perform her surgery. The $25,000 difference was up to the Fornes family.
When Fornes shared his plans with the employees, there was an amazing reaction: They said “hey, our brand is all about serving, so how can we not join you in this?”
The employees created Project Confidence, and jumped into action. Software Advice associates ended up working together to raise $28,400, enough to more than cover the actual out-of-pocket expenses. They held online fundraisers, pitched friends and relatives for donations and, of course, dug into their own pockets. As well, they took turns providing transportation for Mary’s frequent trips to the hospital, brought food, and visited Confidence regularly both before and after the procedure.
The effect the experience had on all involved proved much more powerful than the financial contribution. In the end, the experience with Confidence gave Software Advice employees more than just a new perspective. It changed the way they looked at their daily lives and how it changed their workplace. But perhaps most importantly, it taught everyone how transformative it can be to truly help another person.
While it was an emotional challenge to see Confidence finally return home, the Fornes family and the company associates knew that they were able to give Confidence the gift of a long life.
This cultural uprising created other effects on the business as well: Software Advice became one of the “Top 100 Workplaces,” earned an 8.9 review from Trust Pilot and in March of 2014, was bought by Gartner for $150 million – a multiple of 10X revenue.
A Cultural Uprising can be a valuable intangible asset at work both in the workplace and on the balance sheet.