(Plus Why You Should Pay Attention)


For some companies, “corporate culture” is a meaningless catchphrase, one designed to attract and retain employees by giving the appearance of a thoughtful workplace.

But can it be more?

The answer is, it must be more.

In a world of increased savvy and connectivity, consumers have become even sharper about the companies they’re considering doing business with. That’s one reason why corporate sustainability has gotten such focus in recent years. It’s no longer enough to offer killer products and services – though quality matters as much, or more, than it ever did. It’s now also about what a company stands for – how it makes products, how it treats customers, the composition of its workforce, its environmental practices, even its positions on the social issues of our time.

So who’s doing it right – authentically delivering on the corporate culture theme in a way that’s likely to resonate with the hyper-connected, swift-to-judge consumer Twitterati?

One recent standout: Netflix.

Here’s why.

Netflix takes a stand and earns justified kudos.

When Netflix announced an update to its renowned culture deck in August, it was just that: an update. The company isn’t late to the corporate culture party; it practically defined modern corporate culture with its original SlideShare on the subject in 2009. And this refresh, which still adheres to original themes, makes it clear that the leaders of Netflix still know what the company is, what it stands for, and ultimately what they want it to be.

As others have noted, its positively-framed language is also a bit of a tweak at competitors, underscoring the problems that plague the tech industry. Netflix’s culture manifesto explicitly says, “Our view is that brilliant people are also capable of decent human interactions, and we insist upon that.” Pretty refreshing stuff given many of its Silicon Valley brethren are rightly getting scrutinized for hiring what Netflix calls “brilliant jerks.”

In short, on the subject of culture, Netflix is consistent and credible.

It touches on the big stuff that matters to key consumers.

Social media has made it possible for millions of consumers to be more socially conscious – and research shows many are willing to back their principles with cash. Interestingly, a 2014 Nielsen survey showed that half of those who would “pay a premium for sustainable products, verify packaging and choose a company with a higher CSR reputation as an employer” were millennials. That’s pretty important given millennials have now surpassed boomers as the largest living generation in America, with tremendous purchasing power. An increasingly powerful subset of millennials – digitally active multicultural millennials – spend about $65B annually and influence more than $1T in CPG and entertainment spending.

Fortunately, Netflix hits the high notes likely to matter to this group and other socially conscious demographics:

  • Integrity: They encourage people to admit mistakes, treat everyone with respect, and speak with candor and openness.
  • Diversity: Netflix encourages curiosity about different backgrounds, intervention if someone is being marginalized, recognition of biases and making efforts to work past them, and embracing different perspectives.
  • Courage: The manifesto also encourages being critical of the status quo, taking smart risks, and saying what you think, even when it’s uncomfortable.


What Netflix said is working.

Its corporate culture page –  for most companies, a passive recruitment tool – has been proactively shared 1,400 times. When we analyzed the full complement of media and social intelligence sources, we found Netflix has an 87 percent net positive sentiment around corporate culture, with major commentary coming from Facebook users and LinkedIn, as well as Twitter. Big hits in Variety and CNBC certainly haven’t hurt the cause. In contrast, Amazon is a full ten percentage points lower on corporate culture – still doing well at 77 percent but at much less volume. The Seattle giant has gotten just 385 mentions – and most of them from news sources, not the organic social conversations that can also move the public perception mountain for companies.


Interested in learning more about Zignal Labs and how we analyze the full media and social intelligence spectrum in support of proactive brand awareness and reputation? Check out (INSERT PAGE) here.