Anyone who knows OrangeSoda has heard about our upbeat culture and company activities. We like fizzy drinks, ping pong, having fun, and decorating the office in crazy ways for Halloween. Different departments often choose a theme for decorations for their area of the office and then plan coordinating costumes to make it a 360-degree experience.
We go all-out in everything we do, and it has become a part of our exciting culture. For example, our internal intelligence team runs on a ship of their own. In their everyday work, they think up new ways to show and correlate data to help us to be more effective. On Halloween last year, they showed their true character as Trekkies.
All of our customers know how hard we work to make sure their online marketing campaigns succeed, so where do we find room for culture?
Why Culture Is Important
If you are a hard-working business entrepreneur, you may not have taken the time yet to stop and think about creating a culture for your business or employees. While your culture may naturally develop because of the caliber or personalities of your employees, there is also a chance that it might be slow-moving and need some guidance.
There are plenty of reasons why you should develop a company culture, but here is my opinion: A company culture that embodies a fun, relatable, and inviting office atmosphere is one way to attract and keep talented employees through a changing economy.
Consider Fortune’s list of 100 Best Companies to Work For. Now consider the culture that exists within the top companies. Google (currently #1 at the time of writing) has a culture that is open, fun, and innovative; it is obvious that it’s a great place to work. The company SAS, at number 2 on the list, shows a culture of trust that rewards innovation with recompense, caring, and individual growth.
There is a revolution happening in business, especially in the software and technology industries. Many companies are actively using their culture to attract the best talent. Face it: everyone wants to work in a fun environment. No one likes to go to work where they aren’t challenged, aren’t allowed to take a mental break, or aren’t allowed to express themselves freely. The freedom to interact with your coworkers on various levels strengthens teamwork, camaraderie, and is reflected in your product quality. Happy employees make killer products, and great products mean happy clients.
Customers Like Happy Companies
Have you ever walked into a retail store, were never greeted, didn’t get help finding what you wanted, and were afraid to ask the busy employees a question about their products? If you look around and see only grumpy faces, you’re probably not going to stay in the store very long. The negative atmosphere could be the result of a discouraged employee or lack of leadership in the store. The employees might have been reprimanded that day for talking to each other too much. Or perhaps they haven’t had a chance to take a break that day, or have some great ideas and don’t feel like they have a means to share it.
Though individual employee performance may appear to go up temporarily by implementing strict behavioral rules, in the long run, sales may go down. With stricter rules, fewer employees will enjoy working for the company. Employees will be unhappy, and this will be apparent to any customer who enters the store. And if nothing is changed, the store will likely go out of business. After all, who wants to buy something from a grumpy employee?
On the contrary, you have companies like OrangeSoda that have great leadership, promote an open work environment, and encourage innovation. Our leaders have the mentality that motivation and creativity spawns from employees that are learning, leading, and growing together with their clients and the industry.
Employees have many outlets for their ideas, and often see them implemented in helping to improve the company. This encourages more employees to share their ideas, and OrangeSoda just continues to become a better business because of their innovation. This is one of the keys to our success.
Share Your Culture with Your Audience
Your clients are very much affected by your employees and your culture. Those who buy your products can feel the innovation, excitement, and energey through your products and employees. As part of your marketing campaign, you should share your happy, innnovative culture with all your clients and customers. Tell them about your hard work, as well as your fun times.
People are emotional beings and they like to connect and relate to other real people. With the explosion of social media, it is becoming easier to share your culture and individuality with the world. When your customers see that you’re motivated and excited about making better products, they get excited with you, and keep buying your stuff.
Take a Look inside OrangeSoda on Halloween
For the first time in OrangeSoda history, we are giving the world a look inside our culture of Halloween festivities. We have a departmental contest every year to see who will have the best decorated area. Material gathering and building is done on lunch breaks and after work hours. This is a huge indicator of how meaningful and fun these activities are to our team members. Halloween is a central part of the OrangeSoda culture and helps to make us who we are.
The culture is ingrained into our employees and they are excited to participate. Of course, the prizes are good incentives too. The winners are chosen, but I’ll let you decide who you would vote for. Below are just a few more of the photos taken. Check out all of our 360° panoramic Google business photos on Google Views, or on our maps listing album. Leave your vote in the comments.
SEO for Rich Media
So, let’s say you have a great company culture of your own. Do your clients know about it? Do they see the fun things that you do, and how much your employees enjoy working for you? They should. And there are countless tools today to help you share just how awesome you are.
If you haven’t noticed yet, rich online media is becoming increasingly popular, and for good reason. As I mentioned in a previous blog post on Google Business Photos, it is another avenue for your business take up SERP real estate, look credible, and actively engage your audience. This type of marketing can include videos, photo galleries, Google Hangouts, and many more options. It is a great way for you to share your culture with your clients and engage them in a personalized way.
Be sure to include (where applicable) the most html markup for all your online media (i.e. text descriptions, alt image tags, schema data, etc.). This will allow the search engines to understand your media and allow you to appear more accurately in search results.
It’s very important that your media is ready for easy social network sharing. Virtually every one of your clients is on at least one social media outlet. If you are actively engaging your customers through these outlets, you are staying on the forefront of their minds. And if you’re sharing your culture on social media on a regular basis, they begin to see you as “real” people rather than a faceless corporate entity, and are more likely to connect with you and use your products and services.
The Future of Google Business Photos
I’d consider myself a dreamer, and often I imagine what the implications of new innovations might have on our individual habits. I can’t help but thinking that the online and real-world are becoming increasingly integrated as businesses begin to interact with customers online and become increasingly personalized.
Imagine if you did Google Business Photos inside a retail store. You’d be able to zoom in to view products on the shelves, and have smoothly integrated text overlays with product information that guides you easily to purchase. The e-commerce website would mimic real life, and Google Glass would fill the real world with online information. Your customers could get a personalized experience by interacting with individual employees, while still utilizing the tools and technology associated with online shopping. It’s going to be big!
But until that happens, you have to make do with the tools you have, and those tools include a fun, innovative, accessible company culture. By using technology to interact with your customers on a more personal level, you can provide the ease of online shopping coupled with a personalized, “real-world” experience. This could be an innovative long-term solution if your business is purely online (e-commerce). This sharing of your company’s culture could be just the type of out-of-the-box thinking that will get your online/offline store noticed.
What could it do for your business?