As a Solo PR pro, you may not have thought much about your company culture. After all, in many ways as the founder and/or sole member of your company, you are the culture. However, developing your organizational culture can be beneficial for growth as well as creating a consistent workplace environment for yourself.
WhatIs.com defines company culture as “the pervasive values, beliefs, and attitudes that characterize a company and guide its practices.” It is your company’s personality but also encompasses your vision, values and how you do things. Your culture should be reflected in your branding and your messaging. You may already have adopted a distinctive style and voice but look at it with fresh eyes and think about how that aligns with the culture that you have or want to create.
Your culture is a guiding point helping you to stay true to who you are as a company, even if YOU are the company. It can be a touchpoint that provides clarity to the types of clients and projects you accept as well as whom you partner with, contract or hire. Every decision, including how you utilize or invest your business resources can connect to your culture.
While this may sound like personal branding especially for the Solo PR pro, it goes deeper and is more robust. Your culture will reflect your vision and values but is more than who you are but how you are in the world around you. Culture provides a structure to how you accomplish work, compete in the market and interact with your community and the world around you. It may be deeply personal to your values but you should be able to communicate your culture to those that connect to you.
The following 4 steps will help you begin to develop your company culture:
- What is your purpose? As communicators, we are all too familiar with developing a mission or vision statement but often neglect to memorialize our own. American Express “wants to be the world’s most respected service brand,” while Southwest “is dedicated “to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit.” The best mission statements are simple and are the bedrock of your company.
- Define your values. What are the principles that drive your company? Values are your true north and represent the DNA of your company. They are the things that you hold fast to, without compromise in any situation.
- Communicate it. When you define your culture, share it! Tell stories that reflect your culture. Teach it to employees. Most importantly, communicate it through your actions.
- Measure it. Public relations professionals know the importance of measurement and that also applies to your culture. If you have a culture of innovation, you should define what that means and how you measure it.
A strong company culture can be a powerful tool in your marketing arsenal attracting clients that are the best fit for you. And, if you want to grow your business to even one or two employees hiring for the right cultural fit is as important as hiring the right skill set.
How do you define and maintain your company culture?