Your brand is so much more than just what your customers see on a label. It conveys those qualities that really distinguish you from your competition – your unique values and characteristics. While it’s easy to focus primarily on advertising, promotions, and customer relations when developing your brand, you’re missing out if you ignore the impact of corporate culture on the branding process.

The relationship between your brand and your culture can make or break your business. Your company’s culture includes its values, vision, norms, beliefs, and habits. Developing a corporate culture that supports brand growth should be a top priority, since a robust culture will strengthen your brand – just as a weak culture will hinder it.

Craft a culture that supports your brand by hiring and training the right employees. Seek out people who are passionate about your vision and whose goals align with your brand. Like-minded employees who respect and share your ideals will adapt more fully to your company culture.

Since your work environment impacts the quality of service your staff provides to clients, you can boost your brand power by developing a strong, genuine corporate culture. Warby Parker, the prescription eyeglass company, creates “culture crushes” with a team dedicated to culture. The group sets up lunches, events, and programs on a regular basis, giving all employees something fun to look forward to. Great culture doesn’t happen naturally, but Warby Parker has deliberately created a work environment that employees love.

You’ll never be distinctive and convincing in the marketplace until you create something distinctive and convincing in your workplace. To provide great service to your customers, employees must learn how to empathize with them and personally identify with their needs. Engage employees by soliciting open, honest and creative feedback, implement the best of their suggestions, and watch employee satisfaction soar!

While air travel is often associated with grumpy employees and terrible customer service, Southwest Airlines has consistently bucked that trend. Loyal customers frequently extol the virtues of the airline’s many happy, friendly employees. The company has successfully communicated its goals and vision to employees in a way that helps them understand that they are part of a larger purpose. Southwest encourages employees to go the extra mile to make customers happy, empowering them to do whatever it takes to fulfill the company mission.

Your employees are the face of your organization – your brand in human form. They’re your most powerful brand advocates, and building your brand should start with them. If your own employees won’t even buy into your brand, who will? When staff members engage with your customers, they have an opportunity to create a great experience that drives future sales. If there’s a disconnect between your corporate culture and your brand promise, customers are bound to notice, and sales will ultimately decline. Instead, create a culture that reinforces your brand by staying true to your ideals, and transform your brand from a sales-focused facade into an authentic reflection of your company culture.