Key takeaways:

  • The peer group recognizes corporate culture significantly influences external perception and client trust but admits it is often undervalued. 
  • Internal surveys are commonly used to gauge corporate culture, highlighting its complexity and diversity. 
  • The responsibility of  cultural stewardship varies within firms, involving roles from CEOs to HR and Marketing, reflecting its multifaceted nature. 
  • Overcoming challenges in aligning culture with brand requires demonstrating ROI, engaging senior stakeholders, and clear strategy implementation. 


Culture is an integral, oft-discussed element of how a firm is perceived externally. Consider how negative news of a firm’s culture can leave a lasting impact for months, if not years. Despite this, the connection between culture, brand and communications, and the difference it can make to galvanising employees and generating cut through is often minimized.. 

This mismatch is top of mind here at White Marble: How can culture, which is so frequently mentioned and discussed, remain so hard to define and harness? 

To go about finding an answer, we recently engaged with a dozen senior-level communications and HR professionals to get a glimpse into how their firms are approaching alignment of their internal values with their external perception. 

What we found: 

1. Corporate culture is a strategic imperative 


agree that corporate culture impacts client trust and loyalty. 

Two-thirds of the peer group believed a robust corporate culture offered a distinct competitive edge in the marketplace.  

Seven also said the impact of corporate culture on client trust and loyalty is significant.  

Together, this underlines the critical role of corporate culture in not solely shaping internal morale but also in enhancing market position and cultivating enduring client relationships. 

2. Respondents are embracing different ways of measurement 

A majority of the peer group referenced  internal surveys as a device to actively measure corporate culture. Tools and methodologies vary, ranging from employee surveys—such as Peakon surveys—to annual company-wide reviews. Notably, one respondent mentioned using external surveys to understand outward perceptions of their culture.  

This points to the industry’s recognition that corporate culture is complex and layered, requiring insight from a wide array of perspectives to help form a more comprehensive understanding. 

3. Turnover, diversity and employee engagement are seen as cultural barometers 

Respondents noted metrics such as employee turnover, diversity, and employee satisfaction as leading measures for evaluating the vitality of an organization's culture. While there's a strict correlation between employee turnover and satisfaction, we discovered that gathering diversity data holds great potential. This aligns with a 2023 survey by the Investment Association, in which over half of the firms surveyed cited the goals of gaining a deeper understanding of their workforce (65% of respondents) and promoting a positive, inclusive workplace culture (60%) as primary reasons for collecting diversity data. 

4. There are rising expectations to clearly communicate corporate culture  

To what extent does your corporate culture influence your branding and messaging strategy? 

0 is 'not at all', 10 is 'it's the single biggest influence'

The group was asked to rate the extent to which their corporate culture affects branding and messaging. The average score was a 6.5 out of 10.  

Additionally, every respondent agreed that external stakeholders are interested in hearing about corporate culture, with half observing a rise in frequency or regular engagement on the subject from clients and prospects. Stakeholders referenced included investors, potential employees, clients, shareholders, and business partners, with one noting a specific uptick in interest from fund selectors at larger institutions. 

This feedback emphasizes the increasing pressure on firms to be able to clearly articulate and align their cultural identity across the business.  

5. The responsibility of upkeeping culture varies 

Responses to the question of who holds the reins in shaping and maintaining culture within firms vary widely, reflecting the complexity of cultural stewardship. While some believed  everyone is accountable, others pointed to specific roles such as the CEO, executive directors or HR personnel as the primary custodians of the company’s culture. 

So, what’s next? 

This peer group noted common obstacles to aligning culture and brand, which included limited budgets, a lack of support from top-level management and uncertainty about the initial steps in the journey towards measuring culture and leveraging those insights to shape their brand. These hurdles can feel difficult to overcome – what steps can firms take? 

We recommend focusing on: 

  • Clearly demonstrating return on investment (ROI) – which will require visibility only in-depth metrics can often provide. 
  • Securing support from senior stakeholders through evidence-based discussions on the enduring advantages of aligning culture with brand. 
  • Offering a clear guide or strategy to how you will assess your culture and its relation to your brand. 

For companies looking to bridge the gap between their internal culture and external brand, the message is clear: listen, adapt, and engage. Asset management firms that value employee insights, champion diversity and ensure their core values are echoed in their brand messaging can improve their work environment, deepen client relationships and solidify their market positioning.  

We’d love to hear from you for a deeper conversation on this subject. Get in touch here

We extend our gratitude to all participants of this research. As a thank you, White Marble planted 300 trees to support carbon capture initiatives and mitigate CO2 emissions and donated 12 mosquito nets to aid in the fight against malaria.