Success Story: Soho Hero

Chris Kouloukas, Founder and President

succeSs story

Originally known as Mail & More, this start-up, pack-copy-ship franchisor found itself in a suddenly intense competitive environment. Corporate giants FedEx and UPS had just entered their space through acquisitions and existing franchisees were concerned about the ongoing prospects of their business model.

Storyminers was brought in to boost sales, develop a new brand, help restore franchisee confidence, and find ways to engage with customers that created new value for them.

Finding meaningful differentiation was first on the list. The Storyminers team visited stores, interviewed owners, staff, and customers. We learned that there wasn’t much difference between what Mail & More offered and what everyone else did.

We did find areas where customers were underserved. The customer base included many former corporate employees who were used to elaborate support structures. Now on their own and working from home as companies rapidly downsized, these ‘Fifty and Fired” corporate execs were setting up their own consultancies and businesses in record numbers. They were feeling, we discovered, alone.

So, in a team effort with our client’s team, we build a new brand around a Reason for Being, Principles, and on-brand Emotions to connect with this new customer niche. It resonated because it reflected their entrepreneurial spirit and courage.

Going Deeper
The interviews with customers, franchisees, and the founding team yielded some powerful insights with regard to the direction the firm needed to. Those were captured into a Reason for Being –a statement that focused the energy of the brand and the business on its customers’ needs for productivity with professional and personal support.

Collaborations led to the creation of a set of Governing Principles to help everyone in the business ecosystem act in harmony (good for the brand) while staying focused on their individual stores (good for the franchisees). These were the first five (specific and tightly focused) principles:

  • We always keep our promises (as a brand to our customers)
  • We always listen intently to our customers and use that information to constantly improve the mix of innovations and services we offer and respect the privacy of their information
  • We always put stores close to our customers
  • We always treat people with respect, dignity and importance–regardless of our first impression of them
  • We always engineer our environments around the total customer experience.

Emotions were an important part of engineering the brand.

Customer Journey Maps and detailed illustrations bright the experience to life…for customers and for the behind-the-scenes activities and programs that needed to be implemented.

With a clear picture of the customer’s and employee’s experience in mind, the new identity–and a new store design–was introduced. All channels (print, web, social, environmental, in-store signage, communications, PR, etc.) were aligned right from the start.

SOHO HERO successfully transitions 100% of its existing franchisees to the new brand and new store design. It secured additional investment for growth, added new franchisees and new cities. The founders exited successfully several years later.



“It’s been five years since you helped us rename Mail & More into SOHO Office. Your suggestion to differentiate on the experience was the way to go. The value of being able to tell our story is incredibly valuable.”

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