Most people have never even heard of the terms “cultural ethnography” and “shared narrative,” yet they are vital to the success of any High Trust business.
Cultural ethnography tells you how people use stuff – products and services – in the real world. It’s a special kind of observation and listening. With Engagement 1, you can clearly and effectively see how these products and services impact people’s daily lives.
And that use in daily life tells the story – the narrative – of how people actually feel about these products. This is important: the narrative is the beating heart of the brand.
For example, remember the ThighMaster exercise equipment that was first marketed in the 1990s? It was a failure in the beginning because consumers couldn’t understand how it would make their lives better. Then marketers brought in a celebrity spokesperson (Suzanne Sommers), targeted one body part, and showed the audience how it would change their lives . . . or at least their thighs. It was a (late) overnight success.
Shared narrative takes Engagement a step further.
Sometimes people need additional perspective . . . they need to share the life story of a person and his use of a certain product.
Think of Matthew McConaughey and his Lincoln car ads, bringing two well-known brands together: the name Lincoln and McConaughey the actor. In fact, he also starred in the movie The Lincoln Lawyer, bringing in a triple threat with a third narrative. McConaughey is cool, Lincolns are cool, lawyers are often seen as intelligent and powerful . . . people want to be cool like that. This is a shared narrative.
And when you engage through a shared narrative, you’re essentially building a bridge with a connection or group of understandings that deliver value.
Yet the intent of Engagement is not only to build a bridge but to shorten it, creating intimacy. We see McConaughey smile to himself as he drives down a deserted city street on a rainy night. Intimacy equals closeness. And loyalty is an outgrowth of intimacy.
That’s sexy . . . and successful . . . Engagement.