How Your Culture Can Make or Break Digital Success

Whenever your company develops a strategy of any kind, it is influenced by the organization’s culture. Culture is the connective tissue that holds organizational functioning together and influences how it approaches challenges. Company culture guides how your company gets things done.

office meeting
Your organization’s culture defines what it’s like to be part of the organization and how things get done.

Strategy, on the other hand, is responsible for the metrics that are easier to define, such as sales, customer acquisition, and position in the market. Strategy and culture within an organization affect each other, and when your organization is pursuing a digital strategy culture can make the difference between the strategy’s success and failure.

Clarify What Your Culture Actually is Before Building Your Strategy

Your organization’s leadership should start by defining what they think the organization’s culture is by asking and honestly answering key questions like:

  • Why does our organization exist?

  • What do we do?

  • How do we do it?

  • What are we famous for?

Once leadership reaches a consensus, it’s time to test these answers with the rest of the organization, perhaps through anonymous surveys so that people feel they can answer honestly. Gather their answers and take a good look. Does the broader organization define the culture the same way as the leadership does? If not, leadership needs to figure out where the disconnect is and find out why it has happened. Leadership and the broader organization need to reach some consensus on what the organizational culture is before implementing a digital strategy.

Executive Buy-In is Critical

Regardless of the size of the organization, those at the top must buy into the digital transition strategy. They may not understand every technical step or process change that’s required, but they must be united in their commitment to digital success if the rest of the organization is expected to be on board with the strategy. Executive buy-in should be one of the very first steps in a digital transition before any changes are made to staff, processes, or behaviors.

What Exactly Needs to Change?

The specifics of a digital strategy should be spelled out explicitly.
The specifics of a digital strategy should be spelled out explicitly.

A digital strategy is far more than just, “Hey, let’s publish our stuff online now.” An effective digital strategy requires specific changes, and it’s critical to define the nature of these changes at the beginning of implementation. Your digital strategy might require changes to people, processes, measurement, and behaviors:

  • People: Do you have people with the technical chops to implement a digital transition?

  • Processes: How does the editorial and publishing process need to change to make the transition to digital effective?

  • Measurement: How will the organization measure success? What milestones must be met for a successful digital strategy?

  • Behaviors: Particularly with a transition to digital publishing, “the way we’ve always done it” is not a good enough reason to stick with processes. Attitude adjustment is required for a healthy digital transition.

The Bigger the Company, the More You Need to Build Consensus

It is easier to be disruptive in a 10-person organization rather than in an organization of 10,000. The larger the organization, the more everyone needs to understand the reasons behind the digital transition. Otherwise you’ll have an organization full of people who are bewildered at the changes they’re being asked to make. Not everyone will agree with every change required, but everyone does need to be educated on why those changes are being made and what the expected payoff is. Naturally, you hope that everyone is enthusiastic about a digital transition, but it’s imperative that everyone at least understand the changes afoot.

To make your organization’s digital edition thrive, both culture and strategy should be well understood by everyone, whether they are enthusiastic about the push toward digital or not. Then, the nuts and bolts of the digital shift can take place within a united organization.

One of the most important “nuts and bolts” of a digital shift is the shift in revenues. Whether you choose to implement a paywall, continue to rely on advertising, or go with a “freemium” content model, it’s important that everyone understand that the old way of doing things with print are changing whether we want them to or not. Will your company adapt, or cling to the old ways until change is forced and you have less control over the organization’s future?

RealMatch can be a great partner in your organization’s digital strategy. By providing recruitment advertising solutions for media companies and digital publishers, RealMatch assists in revenue development with your digital publication, helping ensure success.

Photo Credits: Ambro /, tungphoto /

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