Accuchex Blog

How is social media affecting your culture and brand?

Posted by Nigel Hartley on Jul 1, 2019 10:00:00 AM


Are you fully aware of the effect of culture on your brand?

Too often I hear business owners dismiss culture as ‘touchy feely” and having no real business value, which couldn’t be further from the truth. Your culture is your brand and without an aligned workforce, hopefully with a purpose, your business is worth nothing. 

In previous articles we have discussed the role of having a purpose, living your values and the changing demographics to highlight the effect of culture on your brand. Today we want to wrap it all up by examining the impact of social media and a robust economy.

One industry that has boomed through social media is recruitment. Employers gain access to personal information and form both positive and negative biases prior to face-to- face interviews; based on publicly available­­ comments, video and photographic content.

How is Social Media affecting your culture and brand?

- What can you and can’t you say or do?

The business climate is very challenging and uncertain and the biggest hurdle facing business owners right now is the ability to attract and retain key employees.

In fact, that is likely to be the narrative for the foreseeable future with unemployment below 3% in parts of the Bay Area and wage and salary upward pressure beginning to build. The fact is that there are not enough qualified people to fill the current vacancies and the economy is still growing.

There are macro elements at play as well such as affordable housing and transportation challenges that are beyond my control, but the role of a clear vision with purpose and living your values will increasingly play a vital role. 

Now overlay the fact that many of these jobs are in technology and the impact of Social Media looms large.

Overall, we must understand that there is no longer such a thing as a private conversation, we must assume that by and large there is a chance your comments will be recorded or videoed.

Also, what you say on social media can have a major impact. If you don’t know how to use it appropriately, the company is at risk of developing a poor image and that poor image affects your brand and in turn your culture and recruiting efforts. All it takes is one poorly timed Tweet or a Facebook post that can be misinterpreted and the organization could make the local or even national news.

Talking of recruitment efforts. Employers gain access to personal information and form both positive and negative biases prior to face-to- face interviews; based on publicly available­­ comments, video and photographic content. 

What are some of the outcomes that have had a major impact on the workplace and frankly society in general?

The #Me Too Movement

Has brought a spotlight on a variety of issues but none less than people of power abusing that power and taking advantage of others. Why is that important to culture and brand? Culture has always reflected the values and behaviors of the person at the top of the pyramid and so if that person is misbehaving, then others will too. This is magnified now that the internet and mobile phones are so prevalent. There is no such thing as a private conversation.

Given that your culture is the internal expression of your brand, we all need to look in the mirror and make sure we hold ourselves accountable. Given the rise in all sorts of harassment in the workplace, training around awareness and education are essential. Remember that if you have at least 5 employees’ sexual harassment and abusive conduct prevention training is the law, so reach out to an employment attorney to conduct an audit before problems show up. 

Equality of Pay

Equality in the workplace also includes equality in pay and it seems very short sighted of business owners to discriminate against women and mature workers in an economy as robust as it is right now. I think just about every business I visit lists hiring and retaining key staff as their number one challenge. Let’s not get into a debate about the strengths and weaknesses of each sex but focus on the fact that if someone is a great engineer male or female their salaries should be linked to their skills and experience not sex.

This sort of discrimination also applies to mature workers. I hear the arguments that X has lost a step or is out of touch with technology as a couple of excuses but again is that the real reason? The real reason is that the business can probably find a younger, cheaper person who will do almost as good a job. But does that still apply when a major challenge comes up and the younger folk do not have the experience to solve the issue? 

We are all fighting to retain the best staff, and staff that is aligned to our culture. They will be the ambassadors of our brand going forward. But it is against a backdrop of the rise of the millennials, their much greater use of social media and the challenges this presents. We have a lot more transparency and immediacy today than ever, so our habits must change. 

Shirlaws advises private enterprise how to grow, fund or exit their business in order to enjoy their life’s work. We help them find the confidence to change, the courage to invest and the freedom to choose their path. They love what they do, and so do we. Nigel Hartley is a Business Advisor with Shirlaws and can be reached on 707 573 7154 or email at

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