Guest Contributor

The Intersection of Work Culture and Brand Image

By | Charlie Fletcher

Customers can tell when a brand is supported by a strong culture. Every interaction they have with marketing, customer service, and post-sale support feels unified and cohesive, as the brand image and employees are on the same page.

But a strong connection between workplace culture and brand image doesn’t just happen. As a leader, you have to work hard to establish and maintain a corporate culture and use key quantitative and qualitative data to create a brand image that resonates with both internal and external stakeholders.

Case Study: Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic is one of the most well-recognized brands in the world. However, as with most airlines, the business and brand suffered dramatically during the travel restrictions necessary to slow the spread of COVID-19.

However, as Virgin Atlantic rebuilds, it’s making more effort behind Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives that support employees’ identities, and strives to recognize and respect differences. These initiatives benefit employees, but they also strengthen Virgin’s brand when more people are socially conscious than ever before. As Virgin’s Chief People Officer, Estelle Hollingsworth, stated, creating a “Be Yourself” work culture is important for Virgin Atlantic’s brand as well as its employees.

Virgin Atlantic has started building its inclusive brand image internally by making two key commitments in support of DEI: the Race at Work Charter (which stands against discrimination and bias at work and beyond) and the Hidden Disabilities Scheme (which supports disability inclusion for all employees).

These schemes seek to improve DEI at Virgin Atlantic, and will translate to the wider customer experience as employees will be well versed in issues that minority passengers or vulnerable groups may face when boarding and traveling with Virgin Atlantic.

As a business leader, you don’t necessarily have to copy Virgin Atlantic’s DEI schemes, but you can use their employee-first example to improve the connection between workplace culture and brand image

Building Brand Image

Brand image is important for any business. Your brand dictates how your internal and external shareholders see your company and makes a huge difference to your bottom line.

However, most business leaders don’t know how to improve brand identity. Instead, they let the reputation for a brand build with little input and only focus on small elements of branding like logos and color schemes.

In reality, brand image is much more than marketing materials. The journey towards a stronger brand image starts with data. As a business leader, you should strive to enhance your company’s knowledge base to get a better understanding of customer expectations and the experience that they have with your business. This will give you quantitative and qualitative data to work with when choosing a new brand strategy and ensures that all decisions you make are based on the insights you gain from your customers.

You can further strengthen your brand image by establishing a mission and vision that relates to your target audience and that your employees support. A clear, concise mission statement is a great way to focus your branding efforts and establish a “voice” for all of your branding and cultural efforts.

Maintaining the Right Work Culture

As a leader, you probably know that work culture is important. Positive work culture improves retention, attracts better talent, and makes the workplace a more productive, happy place.

However, achieving and maintaining the right work culture for your brand is hard. There is no “right” way to implement and regulate culture, as each business and industry is different and requires a different culture — the norms and values that work for a small sewing shop aren’t the same norms and values that work for a large insurance firm.

Building the right culture for your business starts with teamwork. Even if you are the owner and CEO of your business, chances are that you don’t know the ins and outs of every employee’s role. Instead of pretending to be a business Megamind, you should strive to build a team of cultural ambassadors who can help you assess and improve work culture.

Ideally, the team you build should be composed of employees who are equally passionate and driven as you are. These folks will already have strong opinions on the business’s brand image and can help you spot areas where work culture misaligns with the overall brand. It’s important to act quickly and as a unified team when you spot these areas for improvement, as working together to improve the brand image is a sure-fire way to create buy-in from all employees.


Work culture and brand image share a synergistic relationship. Without a strong brand and mission statement, employees will seem jumbled, and your business will miss organizational objectives. Equally, a weak work culture creates inconsistency between marketing materials and the customer experience. As a business leader, you can take the reins by using your company’s knowledge base to form a team of culture ambassadors who echo your vision and help improve work culture at all levels of the business.

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