Dawson’s Cuts | Why you should create a CULTURE not a BRAND

August 03, 2021

Continuing this interesting new series SEAN DAWSON, General Manager at Adam Reed London, gets all culture club on us.

It’s about creating a CULTURE not a BRAND. Everyone nowadays seems obsessed with the word ‘Brand’ and trying to create one!

Without being rude, most people don’t even understand what one is, let alone know how to create one. The Oxford dictionary meaning for the noun ‘Brand’ is: the activity of giving a particular name and image to goods and services so that people will be attracted to them and want to buy them.

Personally I feel this is where most people go wrong!

If you try and create something that people will be attracted to rather than who you actually are, then you are in trouble from the outset and you will get found out. You will try and make things fit, or use buzz words that maybe won’t represent who you are or what you do. You will start to look at what others do successfully and try and copy it and that’s not authentic, it’s their culture, not yours… and that’s the key word culture!

If you want to build success within your business or yourself you need to start with identifying, developing and then communicating your culture.

The goes Oxford Dictionary definition of culture is; the customs and beliefs, art, way of life and social organisation of a particular country or group.

Doesn’t this sound more authentic than the brand definition?

If you want people to believe, engage and show loyalty to you then it has to be you.

How many times have you sat in an interview and the Boss keeps telling you about how they want their company to develop or how they are looking to do all these new things very soon and you suddenly get that uncomfortable feeling that they are just telling you what they think you want to hear. Even worse is when they keep throwing out ‘buzz words’ about where they are going as a brand?

It is important to remember that as hairdressers we are taught very early ‘how to build relationships’ and also how to find out as much information from a new client in a very short space of time during a consultation. We can sniff out BS in an instant and we are a very instinctual breed of people, so if you don’t start out telling the truth then you are going to have a very short and turbulent existence.

So before you rush off designing logos and t-shirts let’s start to look at how we identify YOUR culture.

Firstly, you have to be 100% honest about ‘Who you are’. It’s no good doing the whole Social Media BS of putting out images of how we want people to perceive us, it has to be true, come from the heart and be a honest reflection of you and your beliefs.

1. Make a list defining
The WHO, WHAT & WHY – start by thinking of YOU as a story, fictional please, and how would you like to tell that story. It’s really important that you tell YOUR story and don’t allow others to tell it for you.

2. Elevator Pitch
Define what your business is, why YOU are doing it and where you want it to go – this will create a path for you to follow, help you steer it forward and remain consistent and true to whom you are as you go.

Marketeers call this an ‘Elevator Pitch’ meaning if you bumped into an old colleague in lift and they asked you about your new company, how in a brief, persuasive speech would you spark interest in what your company does and stands for?

Write down some key words and feelings you want your culture to embody, for example one of our key feelings that really sum up our culture at Adam Reed when we did this exercise was ‘a big warm cuddle’.

3. Positioning
Think about how your company’s culture fills a particular client need in a way your competitors don’t. Think about things you have strong beliefs in even if they are outside of hairdressing and how can they be brought into your company’s culture.

4. Your Purpose
Why YOU do what you do? How you plan to change the world for the better? Your statement of belief, hope and pursuit. What are you passionate about, what are you good at?

5. Your Values
The most important principles you want to communicate through your culture. These act as a moral compass and help guide all that you do.

6. Your Personality
How you want your culture to look, speak and behave.

At Adam Reed; we are about being warm, open, passionate, mischievous and charming and I think we have nailed that.

7. Your Voice
How you want to communicate

So taking those key personality traits above, how do we communicate them at Adam Reed?

Open & Warm – Friendly and generous in spirit

We are authentic and real, speaking with compassion, honesty and integrity. There is a sense that we are comfy in our own skin.

Passionate – Positive and bold

We speak with a positive energy and quiet confidence that is captured in our active sentences and optimistic language.

Mischievous – Irreverent and cheeky

There is a definite twinkle in our eye that we express through a relaxed and sometimes playful sense of humour.

Engaging and thoughtful

We are interested in the world around us which comes across in our questioning language and collaborative approach.

8. Your Manifesto or Mission Statement
Now is your chance to put all of the above together and create a rallying cry that captures the essence, beliefs and values of YOU, the person and your company.

Be creative with this and not too corporate and boring. Remember this is the culture that you are going to be introducing new team members and clients into. I love reading Manifestos that contain promises like; Care about people, places and ideas, know you are welcome, laugh from your belly or even bring your dog… but remember that’s our culture so make sure it represents you.

OK so now you know what YOU are all about!Now you are ready to move on to all those other amazing things that go together to create your company or project. Always make sure that whenever you add something new that it encompasses all of your culture, whether that be an Instagram post or a recruitment ad.

When you recruit or add people into your company circle make sure that they always share your values and your purpose. You want new blood to have their own personality but remember YOUR culture is the pillars of what your company has been built on and your team should always protect, promote and represent that at all times.

If you and they consistently do that then guess what?

Your culture will create a brand all of its own, and will be one that will be authentic, honest and will live on forever.

Love, Peace & Hairgrease
Sean x

Follow Sean on Instagram @seandawson1969