Paul Lucido is national marketing director for PRMG. He is
20-year veteran of the mortgage industry whose reputation
is rooted in marketing and advertising. During his time at
First Magnus Financial Corp., Lucido led a creative team of
seasoned marketing professionals and was awarded Best
Advertising Design in 2002-03 and Best Advertising Concept
in 2004. Lucido has been a major advocate and champion of
building brand equity through culture at PRMG. Reach him
Equity Through Culture
Fostering core values is more important than
creating a strong image
By Paul Lucido
There is a reason Don Draper, the adver- tising executive on cable TV’s Mad Men, spent his career chasing Coca-Cola. It is because the name embodies more than
just a refreshing beverage. Coke exudes a mentality,
a lifestyle, the pursuit of happiness. It’s a pursuit that
resonates with employers, employees and buyers alike.
Today, there is a resurgence of discourse around
the ideology behind brand equity — what it is, how
to build it, and the power it yields within and upon an
organization and those it serves. Is the brand merely a
personification of a company’s image? Or is it a direct
reflection of its culture and core values?
It has been debated whether the old brand model —
which advocated the creation of an external brand
image to influence consumers — is a thing of the past,
versus the newer model where a company’s core values
and behaviors replace the external brand image, and
carve depth into the company and its content. In other
words, is looking good no longer enough? Do actions
speak louder than images?
Embracing brand culture
To compete in today’s fast-paced mortgage landscape, mortgage companies must encompass this
cultural shift and rebuild themselves from the inside
out. Some call this new model “brand culture,” because
it has the potential to transform companies into valued
and trusted brands. But where does the culture come
Culture is not something that happens overnight.
It’s not instantaneous, like the Big Bang Theory, as
authors Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson
would say. It is something that is earned over time
through actions and behaviors from the top down.
This is why many new startup mortgage companies
don’t have one. Culture is not the company picnic,
Christmas party, tickets to the game or the foosball
table in the break room. Rather, it is a series of principles and behaviors practiced over time throughout
the entire organization.
Companies with a clear mission statement and core
values, congruent both internally and externally, seem
ployees — how people behave “within the walls” —
if they are in alignment with their mission statement
and core values.
Company culture is becoming an essential tool for
attracting talent, according to Forbes. “Culture is something a lot of great companies are using to lure great
talent, and it’s working,” Forbes staff writer Kathryn
Dill said. Glassdoor even indicated that company culture is one of the top-five factors people consider when
weighing a job offer. Salary is still the No. 1 reason, but
the importance of company culture is growing rapidly.
Cultivating company culture
Creating a business culture isn’t completed by simply
writing a flowery mission statement. The behaviors
you demonstrate become your culture. New companies don’t have a culture because it isn’t something
you can create overnight. Instant cultures are artificial, like a fresh coat of paint. Organic cultures are like
patina — the green coloring of weathered bronze —
which becomes part of the structure through age and
exposure, and is fostered through consistent behaviors.
If you inspire people to share ideas and experiences,
for example, then sharing will become a part of your
culture. If you foster trust among your coworkers,
then trust will be an integral part of the culture. If you
demonstrate that you truly care about your customers,
then care will become your culture.
Studies have shown that employees typically model
the behaviors of their leaders, like children watching
their parents. In other words, if each tier — but primarily
the top tier — remains in alignment with core values
and consistently demonstrates this through actions
and behaviors, the organization will ultimately cultivate a unified company culture and, furthermore, a
sense of solidarity and stability within the structure of
the corporation itself.
In the end, employee actions and behaviors ultimately define their personal brand, which then contributes to the overall perception of the company they
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