Corporate Culture is more of a company-driven belief system. Whether it’s derived from its mission statement, is spoken, or is simply “understood,” a company’s culture describes and governs the way the company’s stakeholders think, feel, and act.
But, a Corporate Character (or Company Character) is something different. It’s a bottoms-up-driven approach to customer engagement.
Usually something that’s inherent in the firm from the time of its founding due to the beliefs, ethics, character and personality of its founder(s), Corporate Character permeates the entire way the business does…well, business.
An example would be Zappos’s head, Tony Hsieh. Due mainly to Tony’s quirky, friendly personality and his goal to build a fun, antics-filled firm.
Another example might be MailChimp. Mailchimp, 11 years old this year, has retained it’s customer-focused, engaged and earnest corporate character through ideas such as having their firm’s local coffee house give out a free cup of coffee whenever they’d see someone stop in with a MailChimp t-shirt on.
To celebrate the firm’s 10th bday, they organized a nation-wide “coffee tab” for anyone wearing a MailChimp t-shirt. From their blog: (http://blog.mailchimp.com/mailchimp-turns-10-wants-to-treat-you-to-some-coffee/)
“Anyway, MailChimp turns 10 years old this Saturday (yay) and we thought we’d try this on a national level. It was really, really hard cold-calling coffee store owners around the country and explaining 1) what the heck MailChimp is, 2) how we have these awesome t-shirts, and 3) how we want to give them money. But we did it.”
Even very small things count towards Corporate Character. Picture the small start up whose web site crashes due to an overload of people downloading some especially popular white papers. They collect all the email addresses of people who had been trying to download and the owner personally emails a pdf of the white paper the person wanted, to them, individually.
Corporate Character is probably even more important than Corporate Culture, and is key to the making or breaking of your brand.
Do you agree? Send us an email at [email protected] to let us know.