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Posted by Sarah Brown on 18 Mar '14

Does the face you show as a business depend on who you meet?

Successful businesses and social enterprises are built on consistency, does the face you show as a business depend on who you meet?

If you have ever been embarrassed because you recommended a restaurant to some friends and when you take them to it the service is terrible, the food is disappointing, and the other customers are disruptive – you find yourself saying “it wasn’t like this the last time I came, I’m really sorry”; then you have been the victim of an organisation with a dysfunctional corporate personality, just like a person who acts inconsistently so you can’t rely on their behaviour.

Corporate personality can be defined as the atmosphere of the business internally and externally – what does the business feel like to deal with, look like, sound like, what words does it use to describe itself? It’s not just about the logo, products or the legal status. Nor is it about always doing the same thing, as innovation and reinvention are a critical ingredient in ‘winning’ but it is about have the same set of values.

Too many businesses fail because they do not grasp this fundamental and so managers just focus on the economic activity of producing goods and services rather than the broader corporate personality which is what people buy.

Corporate personality is about the community of humans that make up the business, plus how they relate to others, and what they do with the resources and products and services they offer. Make sure you offer consistency.