Written by Sofie Skouras
The mess former Silicon Valley rockstar, Uber, now faces, highlights a very important point. No matter how genuinely disruptive you are or how ‘cool’ you are perceived to be, if your internal culture is broken – or worse, toxic – it will eventually leak out into your external brand and how users start to view you.
Uber’s recent string of scandals range from the sexual harassment claims that went viral earlier this year, to further horrific revelations that executives obtained the medical records of a customer following a sexual assault to use against her.
To top it off, their executive team has faced mammoth shifts recently including CEO Travis Kalanick stepping aside. Never mind the reputational damage and questions this brings – what impact is this be having on Uber employees? And their business?
Although company culture may appear to be more of an internal issue, it is increasingly an area on which big players differentiate themselves. In fact, many business leaders proudly discuss their teams and the importance of the culture they’ve been built on.
This is why messaging, branding and values are not only important for selling your product of service to the market or media, they’re also critical for internal morale. Lacking these, as Uber has shown, can be dangerous.
Uber’s former reputation as a company famous for its innovation been replaced with the unethical culture it’s produced. And once a market knows you for one thing – it’s no easy task to shift or redeem this perception.
Lesson to be learnt for businesses out there: regardless of your size and regardless of your brand profile, culture matters. And if you don’t get this right, it’s likely the rest of your organisation will crumble.