Organisational identity happens when your purpose, values, and culture come together perfectly. An organisational identity allows a business to bridge the gap between a cold, distant corporate company and an individual. The individuals may be buyers, or they may be people in your team. For each of them, your identity helps to create meaning.
For your purpose, value and culture to align into a cohesive identity, you will need to spend the time to evaluate and create each one individually but with a lens upon the whole.
Start with purpose
Your business should stand for something. Purpose is the core of your business, it is the reason for your existence, and it is central to creating a connection with your customer.
Your purpose as a business has to be more than simply profit. A purpose inspires action; it is centred around the idea of creating value, not just for yourself but for multiple groups of stakeholders or even society as a whole.
There has been a culture shift, and customers now expect businesses to be responsible for the world we inhabit. Mintel Research shows that more than half of customers say they will stop buying from brands they believe are unethical. It is essential for businesses to have a purpose and demonstrate it through actions.
Purpose is powerful, but it must link to your value agenda.
Build your value agenda.
Purpose is the starting point. From your purpose, you can create your value agenda. If you think of purpose as your why, your values are your what. Your values build upon your purpose and help your people and your customers better connect with your business and purpose.
Your value agenda should become the foundation for each business decision you make and how every individual in your company behaves. Your leaders and managers should lean on these values to drive performance. At the same time, all of your people should be motivated by your values, giving them a sense of identity and helping them understand what they should be doing in their day to day work.
There is a difference between your values and your aspirations. Too often, businesses confuse what they aspire to be with what values currently exist within their organisation.
You might desire to be the most efficient business, but it is not part of your core values if your processes and technology do not mirror this.
Your values do not have to be lofty and world-changing ideas. They can be tough or challenging, setting your code for the behaviour of all your employees. Employees knowing that challenging the current thinking is a core value will lead to them being able to criticise constructively and action positive change.
Your value agenda sets your business’s fundamental and strategic beliefs and makes sure that your people act and work following these values. Your values are what you will be known for.
Shape your culture
Your values and your purpose are meaningless without the right culture for them to thrive within, but you must create your culture from the base of your purpose and value. Culture becomes the how to your purpose and values.
A critical step to building your culture around your purpose and value is to make sure you have the right team. Your hiring process should incorporate your values and begin by searching for people that will thrive and enhance your culture.
It can be challenging to turn away the perfect employee on paper, but hiring the wrong people will gradually dilute your culture.
Certain business cultures can form organically that might get in the way of your long-term success. For example, aspects of your business culture might attract a certain demographic more than others. If this is the case, you will be missing out on talent that can drive your business forward. You should work to ensure that your culture doesn’t lead you to stagnate.
Let's Wrap This Up
Organisational identity is too often overlooked, but it is one of the most critical aspects of brand success. Without providing your audience, your team, your investors a sense of clarity, you run the risk of being misaligned. You potentially risk your long-term success with a team who don’t know the purpose of their work and a customer base who don’t connect with you or your brand in any profound way. Building your organisational identity will form a crucial part of your success.
With a complete organisational identity, brands and businesses will be well equipped to handle adversity and adapt to changing situations. Not only that, but they will be able to contribute to the wider market and environment if their own house is in order. Success is built on your own values, team and purpose – so getting it right means a lot more than a logo.