I'd argue that it eats the brand. Without a great culture, you're going to have a very hard time sustaining a great brand. I've written about the importance of company culture as it relates to building a strong brand before. Today two articles reminded me of this.
The first one was disheartening. According to recent research findings based on people self-reporting their happiness at various times during they day through an app, most people are miserable at work. So miserable that the only thing ranking lower than being at work is being home sick in bed. That just flat out sucks to hear. It's not surprising. But it still sucks. We spend far too many hours of our days working to be this miserable.
The second article was more on the postive side. For me at least. According to data provided by Glassdoor to Mashable, employee satisfaction at Yahoo is at a five year high. In addition to this, Marissa Mayer is enjoying an approval rating well above her predecessors, despite some of the moves she has made that drew much criticism.
Personally, I'm excited by this news for Yahoo. I'm pulling for them to turn things around and become a company people admire and respect instead of being what they have been these past few years. If Yahoo is to turn their brand around, it's going to have to come from the inside (the culture) first.
Why does culture matter so much to having a strong brand—especially when it comes to turning around a brand?
Culture matters so much because when people feel like what they're doing is meaningful, when they feel like it truly matters, they'll go above and beyond to do a great job. They'll look for problems to proactively solve. They'll find ways to improve the user's experience with the product or service. They'll take extra steps to ensure a great customer service experience. All of this will drive a great brand image more than any piece of marketing communications ever will.
And again, this attitude is even more critical when you're trying to turn a brand around. It's no different than trying to change personal behavior. If you want people to act differently towards you and/or think differently about you, you have to change how you behave. If you act the same, nothing changes. Sure, you can change your hairstyle or buy a new wardrobe. But these things are merely external and short-term gimmicks. It won't take long for people to see you haven't really changed at all.
It's the same with a brand. If all you do is change the logo, come up with a new look for the product, or come up with a creative new ad campaign, people will see right through it. Maybe not right away, but they will eventually. Not only that, but employees will see it as smoke and mirrors as well, which doesn't motivate them to change their attitudes at all.
To create true change, you have to change from within. By inspiring employees to care more about their work, the brand will reflect this new attitude. If they're miserable, well, how much effort do you want to put into something when you feel miserable? Right.
What I'm saying is, to incorporate another famous quote in this post, be the change you wish to see in the brand. Change your culture to change the brand.