Organizational Culture – The Foundation for Great Branding

Organizational Culture - The Foundation for Great Branding

A Solid Foundation

It seems like discussions surrounding organizational culture are all the rage these days with the business kids. As an ED of a local non-profit, I often share with our rm2g clients that a strong organizational culture is the foundation for great branding. Spend time working on the inside, and it becomes much easier to communicate who you are to those on the outside. If your organizational culture or health is weak and your focus is on external branding, you are building a house of cards.

What is Organizational Culture?

Business writers Ravasi and Schultz state that organizational culture is a set of shared mental assumptions that guide interpretation and action in organizations by defining appropriate behavior for various situations. A definition I like even more comes from Gary Kelly, President of South West Airlines. He simply says organizational culture is “WHO you are.”

Leadership and Organizational Culture

As a leader, it is your responsibility to spend time studying, observing and fostering healthy culture. It’s where your brand starts. At Family Life Services we are going through a great book by Patrick Lencioni called the Advantage. In it, Lencioni says the best companies—the ones with the true advantage have a healthy culture and spend time nurturing it.

Non-profit leaders, listen up. If you don’t spend time building this foundation, your clients, staff, board of directors and other stakeholders will sense that your brand is off. And that means you aren’t going to get total buy-in for your mission.

The Advantage of A Great Organizational Culture

Here’s a great video in which Michael Hyatt interviews Lencioni about his new book and this “advantage”. At Rocky Mountain Media Group, we know you can’t have a great brand without first building a strong internal culture .We hope this post gets you thinking about how your organizational culture is shaping your brand.

Patrick Lencioni talks about core values versus aspirational values in the video. What is a core value that shapes your organizational culture, and what is one aspirational value you are striving for?



NFL Branding Takes A Blow

NFL Branding Takes A Blow

NFL Branding Takes a Self-Inflicted Blow

I watched one of America’s most beloved brands take a blow to the gut last night. And the worst part, it did it to itself. In case you missed the game, and weren’t anywhere near Twitter (there is some inappropriate language in this post), there was a bit of controversy last night. The game between the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks was filled with missed calls, bad calls and more than its share of chaos. The last few minutes of the game felt like a slow motion scene as the train wreck you felt coming actually happened as the time ran out. A hail-mary pass to win the game, a missed offensive pass-interference call, two refs making contradictory calls on the winning touchdown, a blown review, and a victory handed to a team that should have lost the game.

This is the worst nightmare for the NFL. Games being decided not by the play on the field, but by the referees. And not just referees, but replacement referees. There is a labor dispute between the regular officials and the NFL. So the NFL has brought in replacements this season. And after three weeks of questionable calls, the unthinkable finally happened. They made a bad call and changed the outcome of the game.

Don’t Blame the Officials

I don’t blame the officials. No one thinks they are purposefully making the bad calls. They are doing their best. But they just aren’t qualified. The blame rests on the league for putting them in the position with no chance of success. [Read more…]

A Very Cool Opportunity From Jeep


Jeep at Yankee Boy Basin

Yankee Boy Basin in our Jeep

A Very Cool Opportunity

A couple of weeks ago I received a tweet about a very cool opportunity from Jeep that involves two of my passions. At first I was a little skeptical, but after a follow-up tweet it was clear that this wasn’t a friend messing with me, it was for real.

That’s right, Jeep invited me to attend the Laurel Highlands Jeep Jamobree in Pensylvania, all expenses covered, because they consider me a brand advocate. I quickly called Julie to tell her and when she logged in to Twitter she had received the same message.

Jeeps ‘R Us

If you know Julie and me, you know we love our Jeep, it’s part of our personal brand. We tweet about it, post pics on Facebook and Instagram and I even have a YouTube channel dedicated to our Jeeping adventures. I guess you could call us brand advocates, fanatics, cult members, whatever you prefer. Jeep was pretty excited when they found out we were married, they got two for the price of one. As we began to tell our friends, the typical response was “of course Jeep wants you to do this.” [Read more…]

Keeping It Real – Exposing Those Who Purchase Fake Twitter Followers

Fake Twitter Followers

Buying Fake Twitter Followers Isn’t Just for Politicians

Perhaps you seen in the news lately mention of political figures who have been questioned about purchasing fake Twitter followers to boost their numbers. This is a practice that has been growing in popularity for those who simply don’t want to do the work of social media or who apparently just need an ego boost. And if you think it is something only happening on the big brand and national political stage, think again. I ran a few of the popular local Twitter users through the app and was surprised by the findings.

Sure, buying fake followers is a quick way to boost your follower count on the surface, but the damage to your reputation when you are found out can be devastating. Clearly,this is something we would discourage any of our readers from even considering.

Finding the Fakes Just Got Easier

This week finding out who is purchasing fake accounts got a whole lot easier thanks to Status People’s new Fakers App. This app lets you type in your, or anyone else’s, twitter username and it evaluates the quality of their followers. While the app isn’t perfect in that it only evaluates a portion of your followers, it does a pretty good job of giving you a snapshot of your or someone else’s account. Here’s a snapshot of my results.

Fakers Score

The Dark World of Paid Followers

Here’s an example of how blogger Zach Bussey dove into “the dark world of paid followers” and was able to set up a new account and get over 26,000 followers overnight. What’s interesting is with a few clicks you can also find out who else has purchased those same fake accounts.

It’s Not About The Numbers

Sure, having a large follower number is attractive, but that’s not the goal of social media. Large numbers don’t necessarily translate into increased interaction and more business. Especially if those followers aren’t real. What good does 20,000 or 2,000,000 followers do if none of them are talking with you, buying your products or giving to your cause. Absolutely none!

Social media has always, and will always be about connecting with your customers and donors in real ways that draw them to your brand and deepen their relationship with you. Purchasing fake followers not only doesn’t help you connect with current or potential customers, it can wreck your brand image and credibility when you are found out. And you will be found out.

How would your impression of a brand or individual change if you find out they have been purchasing fake Twitter followers?



How To Change Your Facebook Custom URL

Until recently Facebook only allowed you to set a custom URL for your personal profile and a page once, after you selected it there was no way to change your Facebook custom URL. There were stories of some successfully contacting a sympathetic soul at Facebook and getting the URL changed, but it was a long shot.

All that has changed, at least a little. Facebook has allowed you one more chance to get your custom URL right, both for your Facebook Page and for your personal profile. This one-time change can be made right from your account, no need to try to contact the powers that be at Facebook. So if you aren’t happy with your original choice, or if your brand has changed, follow these step-by-step instructions to make the change. [Read more…]

Moms Like Brands on Social Media (Infographic)

It should come as no surprise that moms like brands on social media. In fact, moms as a group are the most likely demographic to connect with brands in the social space. A recent report by Burst Media revealed some interesting statistics about how people interact with brands on social meda. For example:

  • 76 % of those surveyed said they visit social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Foursquare.
  • Women are more active than men.  Almost 1/2 of the women report visiting a social site multiple times a day versus just over 1/3 of men.
  • Nearly 1/2 of people follow brands online
  • 2/3 said they were influenced by a brand mention from a blogger. That number is higher for 18-34 year olds and moms.
  • 1/4 are more likely to follow a brand because of a socially enabled online ad.
  • Brands have long known the importance of reaching moms, and it is even more important in todays connected world. [Read more…]

Quit Focusing On Your Competition

When you woke up this morning, had your cup of coffee and started focusing on what you had to do today, did you start by thinking about why you were doing all those things? Or, did you start focusing on your competition? That one organization that seems to always be one step ahead? Or maybe, you feel like your competing with the world. [Read more…]

Dutch Bros. – It’s Not About The Coffee, It’s About The Brand

If you’ve ever been to Dutch Bros. you know it’s not about the coffee, it’s about the brand experience. The coffee is fine, but that ins’t what makes thousands of people loyal, raving fans of the drive through coffee stands. Dutch Bros. knows who they are, why they exists and is committed to living out those values. And it is this commitment that quickly turns first time visitors into repeat customers and brand advocates.


[Read more…]

Social Media is a Magnifying Glass

Flicker image via user kapungo

Social media is a magnifying glass. It takes what your audience is looking at and makes it bigger, clearer, and easier to see. So what is your audience seeing? If customer service is part of your brand’s DNA, it will be magnified in the social space. Your digital audience will feel cared for, listened to, and taken care of. If it isn’t, well, that will be magnified too. [Read more…]

A Tale of Two Sites – Questioning A Non-Profit Web Strategy

Recently I had the privilege of presenting to a group of non-profit leaders on the subjects of branding and social media. All the leaders worked in the same field, non-profit organizations that demand a high level of confidentiality for their clients as well as close relationships with donors.

During my training I raised a question about their web strategy  that was the equivalent of taking a stick and poking a bee hive. I loved it, because it got people asking questions. Questions about why they do things the way they do. Questions about best practices and how new media affects those practices. The question that evoked this conversation was: Is it better for your organization to have one website or to have separate sites for clients and donors? Not an earth shaking question, but one that drew a stronger response than I anticipated. Most organizations in this field have embraced a web strategy of having two separate sites, and this practice has been ingrained in their DNA as a best practice.

But that “best practice” seems to have, at best, been established out of fear and not from asking what is actually best for the client, the donor, or even the non-profit. Fear is never a great reason for developing a position or policy. At worst, this web strategy remains the norm because  it is the organization selling them a second web-site that is encouraging the practice.

So as I talked with these leaders, I challenged them to re-think their reasons for having two sites. I presented them the following five reasons why one site is better than two.

1. Branding

Developing a consistent brand story is essential for a small non-profit operating in a local community. Having two sites makes it difficult to do this, especially when part of your brand promise is trust, confidentiality, authenticity and safety. How do you keep clients from visiting the donor site, and what are you posting there you don’t want them to see? Having one site, telling one story, helps you build a consistent, trusted brand.

2. Maintaining the Site

For a small non-profit it is often challenging to maintain a single website, let alone two. Many use third party services to host and maintain their sites for them. This usually makes it difficult if not impossible to update site. Having a single site, that they control makes it easy to share new, relevant information regularly.

3. Donors

As a donor to small non-profits I don’t want my donor dollars going to create a second website whose sole purpose is to  try to reach me and garner more donations. A simple donate now button on your site is sufficient (clients know you are a non-profit and won’t be offended by a donate button – they see it on every other non-profit site). And if I am looking for information about your mission, I should be able to find it from looking at the services you offer clients.

4. More on Donors

A static website that you never update isn’t the best way to reach a donor anyway. Use your new site with a blog to communicate important events happening at your organization. If there are things you want to share with donors privately, you can send a newsletter, either in print or via email. You can even create a Facebook group just for donors.

5. Google

If none of the above reasons are compelling, maybe this one will be. Sending visitors to two sites isn’t helping your Google page rank for your non-profit. Obviously you want to rank high in a Google search, and sending all that traffic to one location will help. If you rank high in Google search results organically, you won’t have to spend as much on Google Ads.

My recommendation, take the money you are saving from the Google Ads and what you are spending for a second web site and put it all into making your client site better. Get rid of the template, make it match your brand, and take control of your content.

Sometimes having an outside perspective can be beneficial. When “best practices” become dated, change is hard to initiate. Internal blinders are hard to see beyond. A fresh perspective and some hard questions can jump start the process. Our job is to help by asking those questions. If you run a nonprofit, your job is to answer them honestly and do what you believe is best for your organization.

I want to thank those who attended the training for being willing to engage in the conversation, for helping us better think through our position, and for all they do to make a difference in their communities.