One thing I’ve been struck by in the past year is the ability businesses have to create culture. While a lot of our culture is driven by media, individual businesses have power to create trends, promote ideas and encourage a particular way of life. Excellent products and service contribute, but this culture-creating isn’t limited to a company’s main product.
Starbucks created a culture of coffeehouses that symbolize predictability and comfortand introduced a “third space” in the lives of many Americans. In addition to warm beverages, however, Starbucks has dramatically influenced culture bypromoting music, artists and apps with theirPick of the Week.
Zappos has built their brand on a set of core values. While these values dictate their service and customer relationships, they have also created a culture within the company itself. Rather than letting the office and staff wind up wherever the wind takes them, Zappos has been incredibly intentional toshape the way employees experience their jobs and relationships.
Beyond cultural influence within their own companies, many businesses use their clout to make other shifts in societal norms. Google used its muscle to shame internet providers into providing better products by introducing Google Fiber. Amazon allowed more accessibility and supported the failing USPS by offering Sunday delivery this holiday season. Shifting focus from regimented paid time off to unlimited vacation days may be happening one company at a time. WestJet created once-in-a-lifetime experiences their passengers will never forget and then leveraged their YouTube viewers to provide airfare for even more people in need.
As a business owner, you have the power to create culture. You can do that by doing your work excellently but also by using your influence and values to impact the lives of your employees, your community, and maybe even the whole wide world.