Digital Dialogues: How workplace culture shapes your organisation

Elham Rizi-Shorvon / December 2019

This article is a summary of Episode 6 of the Dutch-language podcast, Digital Dialogues, made in partnership with Adformatie. Elham Rizi-Shorvon is the Editor of Think with Google Nordics & Benelux.

Processes, activities, meetings, a licence to take risks; workplace culture is one of the most important aspects of any organisation. It’s the compass that guides the ship, the invisible instruction manual for every new team member.

Getting it right means your whole business can flourish and reach uncharted territory. Get it wrong, and you can create an environment no one wants to be in, and a weakening of the teams and structures that support the organisation.

As Chief Marketing Officer at L’Oréal in the Netherlands, most of Kevin Capota’s time is spent around the people in the company, and at the heart of the company's culture. But that culture isn’t something that grew and shaped itself spontaneously; it was nurtured through different ways of thinking and new approaches.

New ways of thinking are essential when it comes to creating a culture that strives for digital maturity. But what does Capota believe are the right steps to take, and the ones to avoid?

A clear vision and permission to fail

Almost six years ago, the marketing team at L’Oréal began taking earnest steps to become more digitally mature. What started with numerous digital campaigns quickly grew into something much bigger and more coordinated. Capota believes that growth was down to the vision of the company’s chief digital officer, Lubomira Rochet, who created a clear roadmap to make digital a competitive advantage and together with our CEO, made digital a priority for everyone in the organisation.

“Our ambition was to tackle everything around digital transformation,” he says. “And we began by presenting to the team a clear vision of three goals that had to be achieved by 2020. The first was e-commerce as the major growth market for the future. Five or six years ago that was only 0.5% of our turnover, in the first half of 2019, it’s 13%.

“The second goal was to create more personalised communications; that is, direct targeting and bespoke marketing based on the data available to us to be able to become more relevant towards our consumers. And the third was to create “digital love brands”, which are brands that create content people really want to see, like, share, and engage with.”

Capota says that today the focus is on building services that are able to advise and inspire L’Oréal’s consumers. The company purchased the Beauty AR company Modiface to deliver virtual try-on and diagnostics. “Now we are integrating these services on our own platforms (websites and social) and on our retail platforms,” Capota explains. “We see purchase intent going up drastically after consumers have used these services.”

While all of this was highly ambitious, Capota says it was supported by an infectious enthusiasm from a CDO who encouraged the team to test-and-learn, collect these learnings on a global base and scale up to all countries via playbooks and expert community events. There was a clear and positive culture shift.

A culture of learning

A company that fails to foster a culture of learning is one that will get left behind. Encouraging growth through new skills and practices will help businesses take a step up the digital ladder, but it’s worth keeping in mind that it won’t always be smooth sailing. Laurent Scholte, chief strategic officer at tech company Wonderkind, believes the bigger the organisation, the more difficult it can be.

“I think that’s a major challenge: people who’ve worked a certain way for a long time attempting to change it,” Scholte says. “I notice it internally at Wonderkind; if we’ve been doing something for a long time and we then we look to change our process or our habits, it can be quite difficult. For larger companies digital transformation must be somewhat more demanding.”

But it can be rewarding. The saying goes ‘old habits die hard,’ but when employees are encouraged to acquire new skills and enhance the ones they already possess; when that kind of hunger for learning is woven into the fabric of an organisation’s culture, shaking off old, less efficient habits becomes easier.

Wonderkind’s digital maturity

The Digital Maturity Benchmark tool measures how digitally mature companies are. And Wonderkind’s score comes in at 2.6 out of 4, making them Connected on the digital maturity scale.

“The questions that were asked, they are very general and perhaps most applicable for somewhat larger companies,” says Scholte. “The Benchmark tool has some very good and interesting questions to get companies thinking. As a smaller organisation, we depend on many people to do multiple things.”

Digital Dialogues is a six-part Dutch-language podcast series from Adformatie and Google about digital marketing maturity. The podcast explores how companies can become truly progressive with their marketing, and features insights and discussion with industry and science specialists.

Listen to the full series on Spotify, Google Podcasts or iTunes.

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