“My Momma says: “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”
Why is business life like a box of chocolates?
Have you ever seen the most brilliantly packaged, digitally marketed, seductively promoted box of chocolates? A brand that promises the most wonderful experiences. And we’re tempted…
Great marketeers know how to promise an experience that trigger us at the heart and even soul level.
We’re tempted, we consider, we strike out and purchase…then hurriedly justify with logic: “It was a good deal. They seem perfect. The specs look good. I’m sure this is best choice.”
However, the rubber hits the road when the chocolate reaches the mouth.
How often has a beautiful looking box of chocolates left us feeling disappointed and even a little sick?
Experience is key
If we use this as a metaphor for employee and customer experience, we can do our research, we can use personas, we can create a strong picture of what will inspire the right employees with the right stuff to join our organisation, give of their best and stay with us.
With our customers, we can also work out what people really value: ease, convenience, appeal, excitement, joy, safety…
But for both employees and customers, it’s when they take a bite…of our culture, our products, our services, the rubber hits the road…
Does it taste delicious, exciting, just-right, heart-warming, inspiring?
Does it leave you wanting more?
Or does it taste flat, utilitarian, cold, uptight, money-grabbing, or just plain bad?
How can you develop soul in your employee and customers’ experiences?
Across both the employee and the customer journey are thousands of touchpoints, both digital and human, that are each like picking a chocolate out of a box, even a very excitingly packaged box, and tasting it.
- An online digital interaction
- A conversation online or face-to-face
- Looking through online resources
- Receiving a message, text, or email
- Opening something
- Making enquiries
Every one of these real experiences are what create the brand image of an organisation internally and externally, regardless of the great job the marketing and HR teams might be doing to make big promises. Each one of these experiences is impacted by the ingredients that go into it.
It’s at the heart and soul level that sustainable transformation happens when it comes to experiences.
Do you drive your business…with soul?
In our experience, what you taste on the outside, reflects what’s happening inside.
Why is business like a box of chocolates?
1. Because Momma says so!
The leaders set the tone for the climate of the organisation. Are they three T’s: truthful, transparent, and trustworthy? When you look over the organisation’s values, do you see the leadership’s behaviour shining through. Because if they don’t live these values, their people won’t, and worse still, they will see the values and their employers as fake.
2. We all have our favourite chocolates, but we’re also in one box together
Great teams can have and need to have a diversity of strengths, AND a similarity of spirit. As we move further towards hybrid-home working, how can team leaders build and maintain the soul of their teams when they’re not together?
3. We shouldn’t just eat the ones we like
It’s easy to stick to what’s comfortable. In an organisation that’s driven by soul, we are dynamic, we are human, we challenge ourselves and each other to grow. We have a growth mindset individually and collectively which helps us make leaps forward with real agility. To do this we need leaders who are great coaches, who create more leaders.
4. We always have a choice
If we want great people creating great experiences for valued and loyal customers, we need to create a box of chocolates (metaphorically) that is an end-to-end feast of positive experiences for external and internal customers, and beyond: suppliers, communities and all the key stakeholders. A place to work where people have roots to grow and wings to fly.
Customer experiences that are relevant and resonant with individual values and priorities, delivered with great blend technology and human interaction.
And that keep evolving and improving. A brand everyone sees as a role model for value creation in our society.
What we see, feel, hear, touch, smell, and taste, are what motivates us to choose one brand over another to be associated with, or be served by.
We need to create customer and employee experiences that create and sustain the belief that our brand is the one to do business with and motivate people to want to stay with us on our journey.
Nicholas Brice is a Keynote Speaker/Facilitator (online and F2F), theatre maker (Bite-Size Plays), coach and also CEO of Soul Corporations®. He has worked with international brand-culture programmes with brands such as American Express, British Airways, Unipart, Toyota, Sun International and Tottenham Hotspur FC and more.
He is co-author of the marketing text Brand Alchemy and author of The Business of Soul (to be published 2022-23).
Brand Alchemy: Developing Successful Brands from the Inside Out by Susanna Mitterer and Nicholas Brice (Blackhall Publishing Ltd, 2007) ISBN-10:1842181157; ISBN-13:978-1842181157