Curt Richardson Founder and CEO of OtterBox
photo courtesy of Inc.com
From the beverage they drink to the car they drive, consumers want more than just a product. They want an experience. Consumers today are too well informed to be sold a story alone though. It has to be genuine and it has to come from the innermost depths of the organization. It comes from company culture.
A company's core values are what define its culture. Your culture is the outward facing perception given by your values. What does the company feel like for employees? For customers? For the community?
Your culture should be so strong that it comes out in everything you do. People don't want to buy just a product, they want to buy you. Large companies like Google and Zappos have done a fantastic job of exuding a culture that appeals to most consumers today-they're about innovation and customer service.
At OtterBox, our culture is so important we have cultural interviews as a part of the hiring process. The point is to make sure the candidate is not only a good fit for the skills, but that they will also be a seamless addition to the OtterBox family. It takes a long time to fill a position, but the people we hire tend to stick. Our culture is so strong that if someone isn't a fit, they won't stay long.
I'm going to brag for a moment in order to give a great example of culture at OtterBox. As I mentioned in my last column, in addition to giving back to our local community through the OtterCares Foundation we also empower our employees to give back. It's a part of our culture that to whom much is given, much is expected.
This year, coinciding with National Volunteer Month in April, we held the second"OtterCares Get it, Grow it, Give it Challenge." Each employee was given a $200 grant voucher to award to a non-profit of their choice. They were challenged to grow that donation over a 24-day period. OtterBox employees answered the call by hosting golf tournaments, concerts, car washes, quilt raffles and many barbeques and bake sales. Our employees rose to the occasion with a total of $266,249.76 donated to 156 charities globally.
This will make a big impact for the non-profit recipients and, in turn, our local community. Just as important, though, is the impact it makes on our employees. They feel inspired, uplifted and refreshed by this activity; those feelings come out in the work they do, which touches our customers and business partners. They are oozing with OtterBox culture and that is the OtterBox story.
Culture is key to giving customers more than a product, business partners more than a client and community more than an employer. You want to have a complete sensory package, according to E-Myth author Michael Gerber. When a customer touches your product, they should feel something that isn't necessarily tactile. This isn't something you can buy. No number of Super Bowl ads or Times Square billboard placements can convey company culture.