“If you’re going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude.”
~ Gen. Colin Powell
Let’s Talk About Engagement
1. a pledge of marriage; betrothal
2. an appointment or arrangement related to business or social purposes
3. the act of engaging or condition of being engaged
4. a promise, obligation or binding condition
5. a period of limited employment
6. an action; battle
7. (plural) financial obligations
8. the extent to which clients, prospects and internal clients (employees) feel passionate about your brand, your narrative and the substance of what the enterprise is doing. This is shown by each group’s level of commitment to the organization, and the energy all three groups put into staying informed, involved and in close proximity to the company.
Emotions & Business
It can’t be overstated that engagements are bound by relationships, even those engagements seen and experienced in commerce. Businesses don’t really just do business with other businesses. People in a given company make the decision to do business with other people in another company with whom they connected . . . and these connections are emotional.
In consumer transactions, individual clients experience a business and its brand through their five senses . . . as though it is a living entity. People — not clients — are attracted to the emotional energy of the brand and decide to purchase the product or service based on the emotional appeal it provides. A successful business then builds and nurtures that emotional connection over time.
Exactly like a long friendship or passionate romance, there must be a high level of compatibility, a strong exchange of perceived value and a growing bond of human emotion.
Highly engaged clients buy more, refer more and demonstrate more loyalty. Providing a high-quality client experience is an important piece of the client engagement strategies that Engagement 1 develops, organizes and executes.
All of these must be maintained if the relationship is to grow and flourish beyond that first sweet transactional embrace.
Lead to Engagement
Humans are emotional animals. In this age of powerful handheld devices and artificial intelligence, many people are inclined to consider most everything from the computer’s point of view.
But there is a reason that people still do interviews in person, slow down at the scene of car accidents, cry at the movies, get married and have kids; all these emotional acts carry vital human meaning and resonate in real conscious and unconscious ways.
In 1980, Robert Plutchik diagrammed a wheel or flower of eight primary emotional states, each represented by a colored petal. These eight emotions are joy, trust, fear, surprise, sadness, disgust, anger and anticipation. Plutchik also theorized eight more complex, secondary emotions, or dyads, created through the blending of two primary emotions. This blending concept makes Plutchik’s approach unique in emotional theory.
Engagement 1 leverages Plutchik concepts, not just because emotions are fundamental for basic human behavior but also because they are the foundation and fuel for engagement and the positive outcomes related to it.
The greatest brands — like Mercedes-Benz, Tiffany’s, Ferrari, DeBeers, Apple, Coke, Ralph Lauren and BMW — touch the senses and align emotions in favorable ways. Such companies weave emotion into the very fabric of their corporate stories and larger narratives in a way that goes far beyond products and serices to attract those markets that they desire most.
There are four elements to every human: heart, mind, body and spirit. That’s where sensuality in an Engagement strategy comes in.
Sensual simply means a something that appeals to the body and create an impression there. Imagine:
- The thrill of driving on an open road on a beautiful day
- The smell of sheets fresh from the clothesline
- The taste of an amazing Cabernet
- The touch of a baby’s skin
- The sound of Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus
All our senses have the ability to create connections that lead to successful Engagement and build a strong emotional attachment. Every product or service has a sensual element surrounding it. Instead of ignoring it, embrace it.
Steve Jobs only used glossy magazine ads for his products, conveying a sharp, high-tech, innovative, fresh image to the reader. Simply, that’s using sensuality to create engagement.
Excitement. Adventure. Unconventionality.
People are drawn to those who take risks and seek new adventures. And you can work that into an Engagement strategy.
You want your engagement to be exciting:
boredom = sadness
excitement = happiness
Without emotional energy, engagement falls flat. Think about the Red Bull energy drink. Its brand is well-known for creating an adventure mindset. So do Patagonia and BMW. Different products, same adventure for living at the heart of their brands.
And don’t forget the sensual aspect of excitement. What Tiffany really sells is joy. There is a promise of excitement in the blue box. People buy the story, not simply the object.
BMW really sells driving.
Mercedes really sells status.
Apple really sells cool.
What someone buys carries that story, that shared narrative, forward into their own lives.
So, how do you figure out what works for you? It all goes back to a product or service’s cultural ethnography. Discover the emotional and sensual assets and bring them to bear in the narrative. It’s very important that you do this at the foundation of the brand narrative; you can’t put it in after the fact.