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Culture is...How Your People Talk About Your Company


“So, what do you do?” 

This is still one of the most asked questions when meeting someone new. Your employees are likely asked this at least a few times every month, and their answers reflect the health and cohesiveness of your company’s culture.


It helps if everyone has a shared understanding of how to talk about what you do. Too often, our mission and vision statements convey a lot of technical jargon that might make sense to you and your board but fails to communicate effectively to almost everyone else. 

Try synthesizing your purpose into a compelling story. What problem are you solving? What pain points are the people you are reaching feeling, and how are you expressly set up to help? How would the world be duller if your company didn’t exist? 

Make it repeatable. Create a few easy-to-repeat sentences that capture the essence of your company’s purpose and begin repeating them in every meeting and gathering. “We help people solve _____ by providing them with _____, so they can experience _____.” Or something to that effect. 

When evaluating company culture, one of the first things we do is to see if the statements written on its website and walls match how people talk about their work with others. You can help set the tone by emulating a way to talk about your work that is easy for others to adopt naturally. We’re looking for a way to describe your work that seeps into the DNA of everyone at your company. 


A shared language is only the first step. When asked what we do for a living, it’s natural to shift and begin describing whether we enjoy our work and our environment. If someone is working in a lifeless, toxic environment, they will not adopt shared language regardless. They will instead describe what it’s like to go to work, how much they love their job, and the people they work with. 

Strengthening your company culture will ensure that when people are asked what they do, they are excited to discuss it. Your shared language will help them define their work in a relatable and repeatable way; their lived experience will determine whether their work seems exciting and joyful. 


Companies that have nailed this simple formula of shared language + healthy experience attract more customers, retain better employees and build a powerful brand that clients want to work with. Great companies can rely on word-of-mouth publicity as much, if not more, than paid promotion because their culture is healthy and people are happy to share their experiences. 

  • How do you answer the question, “What do you do?”?
  • What story (problem > solution > result) is the most compelling way to describe your company’s purpose? 
  • What are you doing to strengthen your corporate culture? 

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