Firms Need Some Soul Searching

Let me start with an observation: most organizations have lost their souls.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to go on a diatribe about Satan or religious redemption. What I mean is that most organizations don’t know what they stand for — they’ve benchmarked themselves into cookie-cutter imitations of all their competitors. It’s really hard to tell the actual difference between banks or retailers or airlines or whatever. Firms try to use marketing gimmicks to fool customers into believing that there’s a real difference. And some more advanced firms use micro-segmentation and analytics to deliver customized messages to smaller and smaller groups of people. But, alas, customers are getting smarter — and any type of marketing pitch is becoming less effective. So what are firms to do?

Find your soul!

The path to redemption starts by anwering two questions (honestly):

  • How is your organization truly different?

  • How do you want your organization to be truly different?

These questions need to be asked from the perspective of all of your key constituent groups, which for most companies starts with customers and employees. Howard Shultz, founder and Chairman of Starbucks, has been quoted as saying…

Customers must recognize that you stand for something.

If your looking for me to now provide a step-by-step process for saving your souls, you’ll be disappointed. While I’ll probably touch on some left-brained approaches in future posts, the path to salvation starts with a more right-brain commitment to re-defining or re-invigorating what your organization stands for. So instead of reading some itemized advice, I suggest that you start by watching this video…  

The bottom line: It’s time to find (or restore) your organization’s soul!

Written by 

I am an experience management transformist, helping organizations improve business results by engaging the hearts and minds of their customers, employees, and partners. My "job" is Head of the Qualtrics XM Institute. The Institute is still being established, but our goal is to help organizations around the world thrive by mastering Experience Management (XM). As part of this focus, I examine strategy, culture, interaction design, customer service, branding and leadership practices. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. Prior to joining Qualtrics, I was managing partner of Temkin Group (leading CX research, advisory, and training firm), co-founder and chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (, and a VP at Forrester Research. I'm a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Check out my LinkedIn profile:

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