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How we found the desired identity in our company culture

September 8th, 2016

I was brought into a company with a team that had been working together for a couple of years. The company culture - whether this was at the workplace, during lunch breaks or in private time - was something you could sense. After a couple of weeks of orientation, I never saw any of that company culture in external channels. That’s when I started asking questions, and the answers I got were exactly the answers I expected. When I asked about Awkward’s image, I was told people found the company mysterious. There was minimal social activity, we didn’t blog regularly, we didn’t show our faces that much and most of our work was under NDA. I understood the mystery that was hiding under the name Awkward.

As Awkward’s Marketing Manager, I started thinking about how we could solve this issue. I knew creating content on a daily basis would help a little, but I wanted to truly express the company culture. I took a look at the following things:

The identity of a company is based on its goals, values and desired image. These were defined and implemented throughout the whole company. Everyone from CEO to designer and office manager learned what our company stood for. We knew that creating Awkward’s identity was a big step into creating Awkward’s desired image.

The target audience was a no-brainer and one that we didn’t overlook. We revised our target audience to help us express our identity on the right channels. We wanted to know where our audience was hiding and if this place held up with our identity. We checked if this was the case per channel. We started asking ourselves questions: “Who is following us on LinkedIn?” “Is Snapchat for us?” “Why are we going to this conference?” It helped us pick the right channels, but also to understand our audience and nail the right tone of voice.

An example.

Awkward was always struggling with Instagram. We thought everybody was on Instagram, so we hit go and never looked back, which resulted in a horrible Instagram page. After some investigating we found out our audience was indeed located on Instagram, but we hadn’t thought about our identity and we didn’t know one thing about the channel.

The first step was to focus on our identity. We took parts of our mission, vision and voice to create some sort of criteria our images had to meet. We wanted to: inspire and motivate, show how we immerse ourselves in creating products and keep our down-to-earth voice. We cleaned up our Instagram page and started taking quality shots around the office that represented that criteria. It resulted in a behind the product series.

Step two was the channel. Sounds basic, right? Well, it wasn’t. We had to learn about the Instagram subculture, hashtagging and using the right tools like Iconosquare and Crowdfire. We followed the right people, investigated which hashtags helped us create followers and used analytics for posting times. We made the effort and in 8 months, we grew from 222 followers to 17217 followers.

Within the year, we grew our Instagram following by 7655.40%

But Instagram is just one of the examples. Finding Awkward’s desired identity helped us raise traffic to our website by 58%, our blog readers skyrocketed and people actually turned up at the events we organized. Sure, growing our brand is a big plus, but it’s a bonus. The real winner here is creating a following that has a sense of involvement.

I truly believe that creating the desired identity from your company culture can help any brand flourish. I hope this article inspires people to take a dive in their own company culture. Stay tuned for a part II of this series where I'll write about the connection between target audience and channels.