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What Comes First? The Culture or the Business

By Edited Jun 4, 2015 0 0

Great Businesses Involve Culture in Some Way

They Provide Something That People Desire

I found myself in an upmarket clothing store while recently on holidays. My wife had dragged me in and I was very self-conscious about being there. We were the only people in the store, apart from the two sales assistants who were hovering around at that point.

On the right side of the shop was the men’s clothing so that is where we started browsing. Originally our trip to the shopping center had been a sightseeing one, but with winter coming up we had decided to look for a jacket. On the rack we could see three, all the same style but different colors.

 I was still hesitant, looking at the jackets and when the shop assistant came over that added to my cautiousness. But the sales assistant, like any good sales person was a little pushy, they got me to try some clothes on and even though the jacket wasn’t my size, I walked out ½ an hour later with a jumper, pair of pants and three shirts.

So when I walked out I started asking myself, what just happened? Why have I changed my tune so much, how did my attitude and behavior change like it did?

Although the shop assistant was a little pushy, she and the shop didn’t really sell its clothes. It lets its clothes be a token, and an identifying mark of the culture it was trying to create.  The shop was smart casual clothing with a focus on quality clothes. There were pictures of models with the clothes on and a feeling of space in the store. This all created the impression of wealth and success, having it all and living a great life. This is the culture it was selling, the clothes were the uniform.

Culture is a carrot. It draws people towards something not away from it. It’s something that people want to be a part of and strive for. Like this clothing store where I wanted to be a part of something better and nicer, there are many other examples of companies and the culture that they promote.

Apple is the one that people may identify the company and culture link. Mostly making their presence known as the other option in computers, and basing their approach around humanizing them. This humanizing of computers is what links them to culture, allowing people to use a computer easily and efficiently.

People don’t sell apple computers, apple computers sell themselves by being a token of rebelliousness and celebrating uniqueness in their niche. This identity lets consumers customize and accessories their lives. After all an IBM would look funny in a converted loft apartment with art sketching on the wall and bean bags, wouldn’t it?

 

On the other side there are companies that don’t involve culture in their business. They may not be in a direct line with how people live their lives and need to make an extra effort getting noticed. To customers, it can feel as though companies are always selling, and pandering to them. Offering everything under the sun to secure their business.

And because there is only a service or a product, people can’t emotionally buy into these companies. There is no belonging, or sense of purpose and identity that one could have or would want to have with them. There is no reason to come back, or tell your friends.

You’re not participating with the business on a higher level, and using their services as a token of that. You just need your sink unblocked or leak fixed.

 

Culture being how people interact with each other and business which deals with people’s needs and wants will always be entwined. And although it may seem difficult to join it into some businesses, it is there if you think of why it exists and how it helps the community.

Thanks for reading.

If you have any comments on the role of culture in business (or the other way around) please leave a comment.

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