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On a recent episode of her popular podcast, Design Matters, renowned design guru Debbie Millman observed that “brands are manufactured meaning.” This phrase, “manufactured meaning,” carries a lot of weight in just two words. The manufacturing, in other words, the creation of your brand’s meaning is the byproduct of many factors. But the two most powerful—and interconnected—factors are your organization’s people and its culture.

A symbiotic relationship exists between people and culture. Ideally, your leadership makes hiring decisions, at least in part, based on how a prospective employee would enhance your culture by embodying the core values and mission of your organization.

When employees exemplify the characteristics and practices associated with these values, your organization’s distinguishing brand attributes take hold in the perceptions of your clients and consumers.

A Self-Reinforcing Cycle

If your organization makes it a priority to recognize and reward employees who personify core values, you’re making clear it’s your people who collectively shape your culture, while the culture burnishes your brand. A self-reinforcing cycle takes hold, in ways that can either enhance or detract from your organization’s brand equity.

When your organization’s marketing efforts can serve as a vivid and authentic representation and extension of its laudable culture, then the opportunity to translate your culture into compelling content emerges. What’s often referred to as culture marketing—content marketing that is wholly reflective of the values-based people who make up an organization—goes beyond trumpeting products and services and attempts to forge a bond on a value-driven, human-to-human level.

The Age of Corporate Accountability

We live in an age of corporate transparency and accountability. The sheer volume of information available to consumers about which brands “walk the walk” and which merely “talk the talk” is unprecedented.

Based on that information, your organization’s perceived commitment to its stated values is what attracts talent. Corporate cultures made up of employees who reflect the highest aspirations of equity, opportunity, transparency, and integrity, continually outpace their rivals in attracting the most qualified and sought-after job candidates.

Need help figuring out how to leverage your organization’s culture in your digital marketing? Reach out.

We can help you identify and tell stories that forge an unmistakable link between your people, culture, and the impact you’re hoping to make through your products, services, and mission.  

A 2019 (yes, this clear preference existed even in the days before COVID-19) Glassdoor Mission & Culture survey revealed that 77% of job applicants consider a company’s culture before applying for a position. And while the data may be hard to quantify currently, anecdotal evidence abounds that one major factor in the Great Resignation was employees feeling like their employers didn’t consistently nurture their culture to reflect stated organizational values.

And while it may be premature to assert that the impact of COVID-19 is entirely in the rearview mirror, a March 2021 Harvard Business Review article depicts, in detail, how certain previously assumed truths about marketing simply do not apply in a post-COVID world. Among them was the article’s assertion that while an old truth held that “your brand should stand behind great products,” the new truth proclaims that “your brand should stand behind great values.”

The article goes on to illustrate the increasingly solid bond between consumer loyalty and brand values. Notably, “key themes…show that while quality, convenience, and price still very much matter to consumer choice, factors like sustainability, trust, ethical sourcing, and social responsibility are increasingly important to how consumers select their products and services.”

Holding a Mirror Up to Your Culture

Effectively communicating how your brand accurately mirrors the values embraced by your culture can present marketing challenges. But every marketing challenge is an opportunity for brands that are confident their culture is consistent with their values, products, and services. Multifaceted, multichannel marketing seeking to present an organization’s value-based cultural differentiators requires an insightful content and communications strategy and a harmonious and consistent alignment of copy, images, data, and video.

Often, even the most enlightened and evolved brands benefit significantly from outside expertise in discovering how best to tell those stories that forge an unmistakable link between their people and culture and the difference they are hoping to make, or the impact they seek to have through their products, services, or mission.

Teasing out and amplifying these stories of people and culture is one hugely important component in Velir’s process when entering a content strategy or website redesign engagement. By engaging an array of an organization’s stakeholders through a process of strategic inquiry, those engaging, representative, and inspirational stories emerge. These are the stories that vividly depict how people form a culture, and how a culture emerges as the collective personification of a brand, its promise and purpose.

It would be our privilege to guide your organization in its journey to most effectively present and position your people and culture in your digital marketing. Contact us to talk about taking that first step together.


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