In Leadership, Retail

Too many brands today blame poor performance on their online competition. Retail stores are closing in malls around the world and CEOs publicly state that Amazon or other dotcoms are the reason. Yet there are some clear successes in the retail space, and certainly businesses in the hospitality industry are thriving. There are several factors involved with running a successful retail or service business, and of course a brand must have a strong online presence to compete with the billion-dollar players. Marketing plays a crucial part but it must be approached in a holistic manner, taking into account every customer touch point, from digital and traditional advertising, social media, web content, and most importantly, the customer experience before the store visit, at the store, and post-visit. The Soulful Experience is what can set small-ish brands apart from the competition, and when executed properly and consistently over time, it will help a fledgling retailer gain market share.

My professional experience is not with the Amazons of the world, but with local and regional retailers and hospitality brands that have benefited from agreeing that the entire organization has to break down silos and work together as a team. The team has to be laser-focused on a specific goals that take into consideration the immediate short-term requirements to stay in business, but that also look to the future to determine what needs to be done to gain market share and continue to thrive.

The following five steps to being a Soulful Company – a must before you can offer The Soulful Experience to customers – can be addressed by leaders of small and mid-sized companies immediately:

  1. The CEO must recognize a need to break down the silos, and hold each executive accountable for providing The Soulful Experience to the customer as well employees and vendors.
  2. Each executive must recognize that genuine transparency with the entire team – not just the managers – is required to be a truly Soulful company.
  3. Appoint a committee of managers and non-managers to do an in-depth competitive analysis, including market share in your industry, and be ready for some brutal honesty on what works and doesn’t work.
  4. The executive team must take an honest look at the current budget and fess up if there are any “sacred cows” that need to go. Tip: anything that doesn’t contribute to a positive Experience for employees or customers should be put to the side for review.
  5. Within the next month, max, determine five goals the entire company will focus on over the next six months. These goals must have a purpose, and each should contribute to providing a Soulful Experience.

If you’re ready to do what it takes to be a Soulful Company, but need help from a professional, contact Diane Ferraro, founder/chief consultant of The Soulful Experience. Call her at 626-222-9388 or email

The Soulful Experience is a marketing and branding agency for small-ish companies who want to get back in the game and do what is right for the customer, with the ultimate goal of gaining market share.

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