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Work Hard, Play Hard?

Posted At: February 20, 2013 1:55 P.M.
by Caroline Murray

Yesterday, my boss called me into her office and we watched this.

One of my current jobs is working as a marketing assistant at an accounting firm. The firm is in the process of transitioning from a small, family firm to one that can play with the big boys. This change means new and amped-up marketing and public relations strategies.

One of the tactics my firm wants to delve into is videos that show the company culture and personality of the firm. Some of higher ups made a funny rap/dance video one time for a company party, and since then, my boss has been itching to make another one. Though it was funny to me, as a co-worker of the video’s stars, I fear that another attempt may leave our CPAs looking like the guys from the YouTube video above. It is especially challenging when you’re working with accountants who oftentimes fit the stereotype of number crunchers. (By the way, that video was on a list of “Best Accounting Videos,” and we thought it was going to be a good example. We were incorrect.)

However, there is another, more pressing problem than the lack of smooth dance moves. I love the people I work with and I love my job, but the culture is not quirky or silly. It is pretty much what you would expect an accounting firm to be: serious, professional and dry. So who should we be more concerned about marketing this fun, upbeat culture to: customers or employees?

Can the chicken come before the egg? Is it possible to convince employees that the work culture is appealing to all with videos of themselves? My boss, the marketing director, has been actively working to actually improve the company culture through HR initiatives and more engaged employee involvement. But when she showed me those videos today, I wondered if maybe the culture wouldn’t have to be revamped before we used it as a PR strategy.

Clearly, this strategy wouldn’t work in an industry where lively personality is oftentimes vital to the success of the product, like entertainment. But in an industry where it literally takes no personality to be a star, can a PR practitioner create a vision for a company’s culture and sell it to the individuals within it? Can creating funny videos and friendly advertisements be the push employees need to shift culturally?

What do you think? Do you work in an industry like this? Could internal PR change your company culture?

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