This Earth Day, we’re celebrating a company that has created a compelling culture around stewardship and social responsibility. Their business is a perfect example of how you can demonstrate how your marketing strategy should walk hand in hand with your company culture.

Company Culture 101: A Common Life For Your Workplace

“Culture is defined as a social domain that emphasizes the practices, discourses and material expressions, which, over time, express the continuities and discontinuities of social meaning of a life held in common,” says anthropologist E.B. Tylor.

Discerning the common life in your company and sharing that common life effectively with your network of potential customers is central to strong marketing strategy.

Let’s say part of your company culture is a casual meeting style which places emphasis on collaboration or creative expression. Why not Facebook Live a video of an office meeting to demonstrate what sets your company apart?

Another marketing strategy which stems from strong company culture is to celebrate your employees in public. Accept employee suggestions for company volunteer days and share photos of that experience on your Instagram. Feature staff using “day in the life” spotlights on your blog. If an employee comes up with an incredible marketing initiative, celebrate their work by attributing the campaign to the person who came up with it.

When companies dedicate energy to a meaningful culture that stems from their unique values, employees effortlessly become ambassadors and advocates for the company’s vision. In a company with a strong existing culture, this can be achieved through a Youtube-style documentary about your company in which employees are prominently featured.

Meet Patagonia: Maybe You’ve Heard Of Them

Patagonia is an example of a company whose culture surrounding social responsibility and stewardship is so strong it weaves into everything they do. Examples of Patagonia’s strong culture of social responsibility:

  • Board includes independent members to represent the interests of the Community and Environment
  • Works within industry to develop social & environmental standards
  • Shares financials with employees
  • 50% of full time employees participate in external professional development
  • 100% of significant suppliers are made transparent on
  • 40% of management are women or ethnic minorities
  • 25% of employees took time off for community service

The numbers talk. You can clearly see how Patagonia creates a culture which offers opportunities to employees, invests in their education and trusts that the investment will become an invaluable contribution to the company in the long run.

We can also observe how Patagonia’s strong customer community at least picks up on some of these values.  Customers will likely also be compelled to read a little more, dig deeper into the company’s website, or pick up the founder’s book.

Photo: Garrett Grove Photo: Garrett Grove

One example of customers picking up on Patagonia’s brand story and company culture:

 “Last week, when we announced we’d give 100 percent of our global retail and online Black Friday sales directly to grassroots nonprofits working on the frontlines to protect our air, water and soil for future generations, we heard from many of our customers calling it a “fundraiser for the earth.” We’re humbled to report the response was beyond expectations: With your help, Patagonia reached a record-breaking $10 million in sales. We expected to reach $2 million in sales—we beat that expectation five times over.” 

Here, Patagonia notes that this campaign spoke to many customers enough for them to respond and give the fundraiser a name in addition to blowing the company’s expectations for the fundraiser out of the water.  Patagonia followed up with a heartfelt message to their community of customers which nudged customers to get involved in the same grassroots organizations the “fundraiser for the earth” supported.

Marketing And The Search For Meaning

You may already have giving back initiatives in place. Or you might have ideas of what you would like to take action on as your company grows. Or, perhaps you’re just beginning your search for professional marketing consultation.

All of these places are great points to jump into a search for meaning as a way of building your communication with the public on the foundation of a compelling central story.

When considering the intersection of giving back, company culture, and marketing strategy, it’s important to consider that different companies work with unique constraints. For example, you may need to start small and observe how the changes impact employee satisfaction and motivation, then tack in different directions from there. But we can all agree that the story of how a company treats its employees and feels a sense of responsibility to the world is a compelling one.

Story-based marketing strategy will help you seek, uncover and communicate the soul of your work to the world. When your company culture and giving back initiatives fall into place with your marketing strategy, your content will not just feel authentic- it will actually be authentic!

Don’t Make Up a New Culture For Your Company- Excavate Meaning and Let It Grow

As humans, we search for meaning as a part of daily life. Strong marketing strategy begins with a thoughtful quest for meaning in what you do.

Not because “emotions sell…”
…because emotive messages move people.

Authentic giving back initiatives that are well-aligned with an evocative story will help your marketing team tell a story that connects and let the customers and community spread the word for you.