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Empowered authenticity: Putting humans first in culture & brand transformation

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what our company stands for, our core values, the value proposition and everything that comes with creating a successful brand and corporate culture — But that lead me to question: What about our individual core values — How are each of our unapologetically human brands, our unique traits supposed to align with our corporate values, and how does that affect the corporate culture and ultimately, our brand?

As CEO it’s easy to say, “This is my company and I’m going to create a culture.” But what if it’s actually the bold mix of personalities and melting pot of values brought to the table by each and every employee that truly determines what a company culture becomes? 

You can influence a corporate culture with branding and marketing, but it is ultimately the combined stories of those humans who live it day in and day out that define your culture — Is it not?

It’s not particularly effortless to act and be authentic as a brand these days. It’s much easier to perceive an individual, a human, as authentic than it is a brand or organization. So how to do you define authenticity for your brand? Here are some definitions that we’ve heard from clients:

  • “Letting go of who we think we are supposed to be and embracing who we are.”
  • “Integrity, honest and genuine service.”
  • “Honoring our story.”
  • “Being honest and transparent in our interactions with members, and living up to our brand promises at every level of the organization”

Uniquely Human
So, what if before we embarked upon trying to create the ideal corporate culture, we took a closer look at what each person brings to the table? What if we were transparent in our efforts to shift the attitudes and feelings of a group of individuals by treating them as just that – a unique human being who brings unique traits, talents and skills to an already established institution? What if we allowed the brand to be shaped by empowering our people to live out their own personal brands first, before those we establish for the organization?

I know at EmpowerFi, transparency and full expression of one’s true self will forever be the leading values that define our company culture – and wherever that takes us is our story to be told.

What are your thoughts…which comes first, the individual or the culture?