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by Alex Palmer | July 17, 2015
A new study finds that the culture of a business -- its perceived values and purpose -- is playing a greater role in its business relationships. The report, from Fortune Knowledge Group and advertising agency gyro, finds that 60 percent of business decision makers care more about what a business partner stands for than other aspects of their work, such as market dominance (20 percent) and level of innovation (21 percent). Sixty percent of executives also say they prefer working with companies intent on doing what's right, even if it meant failing to maximize profits.

Titled "Beyond the Brand: Why Business Decision Makers Buy Into Strong Cultures," the report draws on the responses of more than 500 global executives at the director level or higher. Eighty-one percent of these respondents maintain that companies building long-term relationships conduct their businesses in ways consistent with what they believe in. The findings reflect the broader business benefits that a strong workplace and company culture can offer a company.

"People vastly underestimate the external value of culture," said Christoph Becker, CEO and CCO of gyro, in a statement. "They tend to focus on the internal benefits -- the ability to keep people and improve performance. But, culture has huge external benefits."

He emphasized that the vast majority of survey respondents cited the importance of culture in both deciding what companies to work with and in how long those relationships last.

"Those on Fortune's lists of Most Admired Companies and Best Companies to Work For have a strong corporate culture in common," said Eric Danetz, publisher of Fortune, in a statement. "Employees aren't the only people who benefit from such an environment; customers, vendors, shareholders, even regulators, appreciate great companies. They tend to do business with integrity. They inspire high levels of trust. They strive for excellence."

The executive summary of the report and infographic can be found at gyro.com/beyondthebrand.