Is Corporate Culture Just Marketing Hype?

June 12, 2013

Are Company Culture and Cultural Fit Getting a Bad Name?

Rand Fishkin has a great article on What Company Culture IS and Is Not. With the current trend of companies offering silly work place activities and props, Fishkin offers some clear ideas of what company culture is NOT.

  • Secret Santa gift exchanges
  • Karaoke nights
  • Bean bag chairs
  • Nerf gun fights
  • Catered lunches
  • Cruises with your co-workers
  • Mashed potato sculpting contests judged by your auditors at Deloitte (yes, we really did this at Moz, and it was totally fun)

Rand Fishkin also goes on to identify typical interview questions that are NOT likely to gauge cultural fit very well.

  • If you could pick one person to play you in a movie, who would it be?
  • What are the top 5 cities you want to go to and why?
  • Where do you vacation in the summer?
  • What’s your favorite movie?
  • What’s the last book you read for fun?
  • Do you rock climb, play the cello, or enjoy film noir?
  • Star Wars or Star Trek?

What is Corporate Cultural?

If corporate culture isn’t about foosball tables and espresso machines, what is it?

Fishkin says,

Your company’s culture is three big things:

  1. Your values – those you state with words and those you exhibit through your actions
  2. Your mission & vision – the goal you’re driving toward and the force behind that goal
  3. Your hiring, firing, and promotion criteria – the reasons you bring people onto the team, the reasons you let them go, and the reasons you promote/reward them

He goes on to say that,

Cultural fit should be defined by:

  1. Shared beliefs – the things that you collectively hold to be true about the world (e.g. good people tend to have traits like X, the right way to treat others is Y, what’s appropriate/inappropriate at work is Z).
  2. Shared priorities – what matters in terms of big, overarching things like work/life balance, short vs. long term commitment, how decision are made, etc.
  3. Stylistic cohesion – some people don’t work well together, others find themselves able and inspired to do more when surrounded by a certain type. Cohesion isn’t about finding lots of people who are the same, but about making sure there’s no one on the team that detracts from others and that many get more enjoyment and progress from the diverse perspectives their co-workers bring.

How do you Create the Appropriate Corporate Culture?

An inspiring mission, authentic values and fair hiring, promotion and firing criteria seem obvious components of any corporate culture, however, they don’t seem to be effectively put into practice very often.

Think of the culture of a country, city or even neighbourhood. Culture is not something that is generally prescribed from the top down, it emerges from the actions of all members of that community.

That’s not to say that it can’t be created or fostered. In a startup environment, the culture emerges out of the actions of the founders and early employees. Most people are fairly cynical of crafted mission statements because it’s easy to say that you care about customer service, quality, employees and the environment, but much more difficult to follow through with your actions.

If you want employees and customers to buy into your company’s reason for existence, prove your culture by what the company does, not what it says. Motivational posters and craft beer nights are not enough.

 

How to Build a Great Landing Page

May 21, 2013

What is a landing page?

A landing page is a page on a website specifically designed to get visitors to take a particular action. That might be to buy a product or service, sign up for a free trial or to collect email addresses. Everything on the landing page should be designed to get the reader to take action.

Before you build your business, test it with a landing page.

You could spend months or years building a business before it’s ready for the public, only to launch a product that no one wants to buy. Landing pages are a great way to test market demand.

Before you start building out a complex product or service, put up a landing page and see if potential customers are interested first. You could even have a full sales page with buy now buttons, but just skip the step of processing the credit card payment.

Start with a one page landing page and drive traffic with Google pay per click advertisements. If you are not getting a good sign up rate for your offering, find out why. If a high percentage are clicking on the buy now button, then go ahead and build the product as fast as you can. You might even be able to crowdfund the project on a site like Kickstarter.com or IndieGoGo.com, so you don’t have to invest any of your own money.

Landing Pages for Bloggers

A key marketing strategy for bloggers is to guest post on other sites. Rather than including a link to your homepage, direct users to a targeted landing page that has a message specifically tailored for that audience. If you are going to invest the time in creating high quality guest posts, don’t neglect the creation of a good landing page.

Here are some great resources to get you started.

Landing Page Services

Here are some popular companies that offer landing page services. Paid services like these make it easy to create your landing page and offer valuable analytics to test the effectiveness and make adjustments.

Build your own landing page

Of course, you can build your own landing page with html and css. This is a good option for those with web development skills who are looking for a particular design style or layout.

You could also purchase landing page plugin for WordPress, such as Premise or OptimizePress.

Most WordPress theme companies will also have a selection of inexpensive landing pages. Here is a large selection on ThemeForest.