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leadership lab

This column is part of Globe Careers' Leadership Lab series, where executives and experts share their views and advice about leadership and management. Follow us at @Globe_Careers. Find all Leadership Lab stories at tgam.ca/leadershiplab.

Most of us are taught from a young age that actions speak louder than words, but some marketers still haven't caught on to this universal truth. Fun taglines and clever ad copy are great and all, but they're just words. To truly leave a lasting impression, brands need to deliver positive experiences, and they must do it consistently across all touch points.

Sure, your overly sentimental viral video might have just won the Internet by tugging at the heartstrings of Canadians, but how are you following that up? Do you have a plan to ensure a consumer's next experience with your brand is equally as memorable?

The types of experiences that encourage someone to want to work at your company or buy into your brand rarely just happen and they certainly can't be faked. Experiences are created, and brands must build them into their very DNA. Here's how:

Create a foundation

Experience is the output of your brand's philosophy, and a reflection of how well your company stays true to its original promise. As a leader, you need to focus on customer experience and drill this mindset into the foundation of your company.

Start with your company's mission. Missions are the central focus that inspires every process, marketing campaign, hire – basically everything your company does. When customer experience is incorporated as part of a brand's purpose, it can influence every aspect of your organization, inspiring team members to meet the same focus and create something irresistible.

A strong foundation and belief of stellar experiences is the stepping stone toward putting it into practice; walking the walk.

Make it a priority

To build a successful brand that customers love, leaders need to pay close attention to every interaction customers have with their brand. I believe if you make experience a priority and measure it, it's much more likely to reach the customer.

Ask yourself: Is customer experience at the heart of your corporate culture? Are your sales processes resulting in positive customer experiences? How long did that last customer service call take? Did the client hang up happy? Do your employees make recommendations and decisions based on the customer experience?

Once you focus on experience, the drive to deliver incredible experiences will start trickling out into all processes and systems – recruitment, sales, web flow, marketing and brand communications and so on. All of these sectors can deliver positive experiences in their own way, and all must work together to ensure all consumer interactions with your organization are positive and lasting.

Make it a team effort

If you want your team members to truly care about delivering excellent customer experiences, try instituting inclusive hiring processes, recognizing good efforts and achievements and giving employees straightforward goals with a clear path to career advancement. In the end, having them live and breathe the mission will help deliver better experiences for your customers.

Go above and beyond

Once your processes are working in unison and your team members are engaged, don't shy away from shaking things up. In your relationship with both your team members and your customers, you want to be delightfully surprising. Breathe life into the everyday routine with a funny internal e-mail chain that gets employees talking. Brainstorm some ideas to make a splash on social media. Think of unique new ways to reward your followers and fans.

Creating fun and unexpected experiences will create an even more positive and lasting impression and the kind of word of mouth that's impossible to buy.

Be a leader

Every leader has their own style, but if you ask me, the end goal should always be the same: To foster an internal and external culture where creating, promoting and delivering positive experiences reigns supreme.

The effort and care you put into providing great customer experiences will directly impact and improve the relationship your customers have with your brand. You want your customers and staff to feel the love every step of the way. That way, every customer who interacts with your organization will have an experience that's memorable – and maybe even a little irresistible.

At the end of the day, actions speak louder than words, and nothing speaks louder than a positive brand experience.

Joseph Ottorino (@joseph_ottorino) is managing director at Virgin Mobile Canada (@virginmobilecan).