To Build Authentic Brand Equity, You Must First Build the Culture You Want

A few months ago, I attended an expert panel on the topic of crafting the ideal corporate culture. To my surprise, these executives instead spent the entire discussion talking about their brand. The person sitting next to me leaned over and asked: “Are they confused, or ahead of their time?” It was a good question.

While most organizations think of brand and culture as separate ideas supported by separate teams, they are remarkably interconnected and must be aligned for long-term sustainability. Ultimately, if your culture and brand are not aligned, any brand equity is inauthentic. While it might be possible to fool your clients for a period of time, the truth inevitably comes out.

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Jessica Kriegel
Office Culture Overhaul

Whether due to toxic culture, ineffective leadership, poor results from an employee engagement survey, lack of trust or high levels of attrition, many organizations will find themselves asking how to strategize culture change at some point. But even the most well-crafted strategy is no match for entrenched cultural norms. As the popular saying goes, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”

I describe organizational culture as a messy web of systems, processes, roles, communication practices, assumptions, attitudes, goals and personalities. Oh, and there isn’t just one culture. Depending on the size of your organization, there could be thousands across departments (which is perfectly normal). Culture is embedded in every aspect of the organizational system. Every little change within the system has repercussions — some obvious and others less so; some immediate and others long-term. As a result, organizational culture change cannot happen on its own.

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Jessica Kriegel
How CEO's Can Identify Their Blind Spots

Do CEOs really want to know what their employees say about them? Do they actually want to hear about inefficiencies, overly-complex workarounds or gossip going around the coffee machine? Of course they should — although many don’t.

CEOs need to fully understand the values, beliefs and norms of their organizational culture before they can create any change. But it’s challenging for a CEO to reach this depth of understanding because, unsurprisingly, people have a difficult time giving the person at the top bad news. The CEO controls the purse strings, and the hiring and firing decisions. Giving the leader critical feedback, telling them what they are doing wrong or where their blind spots exist, can be — to put it mildly — a career-limiting move.

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Jessica Kriegel
Movers and Shakers

Moving offices is a dangerously stressful time for a business: Employee retention rates, cultural harmony and productivity will suffer. Your relocation might just be the straw that breaks your bottom line.

Today, your employees are continuously being asked to adapt to a stream of new processes, systems and technology, and master new skills and competencies. The list goes on. For your employees, the one constant is their personal office space.

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Jessica Kriegel
Unconscious Bias in Talent Reviews

In his 2005 book Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking,”Malcolm Gladwell polled Fortune 500 companies and found that 30 percent of CEOs were 6 feet 2 inches or taller. In comparison, only 3.9 percent of the U.S. population are of that height.

Why? Unconscious bias.

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Jessica Kriegel
Debunking Myths about Millennial Stereotypes Globally

Sometime ago, a skit was premiered on Saturday Night Live (SNL), an American late-night show, that showed millennials as new hires in a traditional office. The millennials were shown fussing over their smartphones, bragging about their technical superiority, demanding promotions and time off to “get some perspective”. The fact that this stereotype was placed on a national TV show, showcases how deep this myth is running in our mindsets. 

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Jessica Kriegel