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Culture is Marketing

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Having embarked on the task of crafting a new brand in Ethos, an important principle has come to the forefront for us. This principle is extremely relevant for salons as well, which is that an organization’s people communicate more about its brand than any “marketing” the organization can do. No matter how fancy the furnishings are, how cool the logo is or how slick the tagline is, the experiences clients and team members have with our people is what sticks the most. In other words, our culture is what truly brands our businesses.

To some people in an organization, culture can seem like a superfluous concept that just wastes time and energy. They could not be more wrong. It’s truly how our clients see us and experience us, through our people. For salons (and most other service businesses), where the service providers are the product themselves in many ways, this principle is even more Important. Get the culture right, and everything else will follow. However, there is no amount of strategy and great systems that can overcome the negative branding that a lousy culture communicates to the outside world. What’s worse, it self-perpetuates because a lousy culture weeds out your good people over time, thereby continuing the negative culture and negative branding.

A great example is Frank the bartender at my local pub. He knows everyone’s name and treats you like a friend. He epitomizes the neighborhood bar experience and is a major reason that people love going there. Frank is as much a part of the brand as the name of the restaurant or the menu itself.

In short, Culture is the single most important determinant in an organization's success over the long-run. While it’s the ultimate role of leadership to create this focus, it takes every member of the organization to live this culture every day thereby exposing your clients to your amazing brand with each customer experience.

Just as we at Ethos seek to focus on our culture and building an amazing brand, perhaps it’s a good time for all of us in the industry to reflect on our company’s culture and how we can improve it on behalf of our team and our clients.