Strategy, Culture and Brand – The Unbreakable Link for Success in Healthcare Marketing

Strong brands demonstrate true alignment of the company’s rational and logical business strategy with its emotional and human culture.Effective leaders recognize that business strategy, culture and brand strategy are inseparable. The ability to link these three core components together from the top-down is critical to creating and maintaining a successful healthcare brand.

Strong brands demonstrate true alignment of the company’s rational and logical business strategy with its emotional and human culture. In other words, strategy and culture combine to drive business results and define brands. While a solid business strategy guides your company’s direction and activities, culture conveys your company’s spirit and character. The brand strategy brings everything together by aligning actions with communications to win the hearts and minds of your customers.

Cultural Alignment is Key

Your company’s culture—its values, practices, attitudes and behaviors—is a powerful strategic asset and a sustainable point of difference. According to Corporate Culture: Evidence from the Field (a joint study from Duke and Columbia), an effective culture fosters creativity and encourages productivity, resulting in improved firm value and profitability. It promotes more risk tolerance, mitigates myopic behavior, and creates an open climate for ideas to germinate organically.

While strategy can be emulated, culture cannot. Culture is unique to every organization. It is your company’s character inspired through its leaders, demonstrated through its core values, and displayed in every customer interaction.

As a Vistage member, I had the pleasure of hearing Edgar Papke discuss the merits of aligning culture, strategy and brand. In his book, True Alignment: Linking Company Culture with Customer Needs for Extraordinary Results, Papke emphasizes the importance of cultural alignment in making emotional connections with customers. From luxury automakers to big-box discount stores, successful brands across the spectrum have skillfully aligned strategy and culture.

Papke suggests companies demonstrate the characteristics of one of three types of cultures. Each culture aligns with a specific strategic intention – or as we like to call it, brand platform. This alignment is the way firms win in the market.

This table has been adapted from “True Alignment: Linking Company Culture with Customer Needs for Extraordinary Results” (Papke).

Adapted from “True Alignment: Linking Company Culture with Customer Needs for Extraordinary Results” (Papke)

Let’s take a closer look at Papke’s three culture types using real-life examples: