Customer Engagement

For most businesses today, creating an ongoing relationship, in which multiple sales are made, is part of their business strategy. Customer engagement is based on the idea that simply focusing efforts with customers on the immediate sale that you are trying to make may not always be the best way to create an ongoing sales relationship with the buyer. Rather, engagement over time may create a stronger relationship with greater organizational benefits.

Customer engagement is seen as being a critical element in their marketing activity by many organizations today. This is because customer behaviour has changed significantly over the past decade, and because more opportunities now exist to create positive engagement activities using social media than in the past.

For Metroland Media, customer engagement is essential for many aspects of their business since there are such large selections of print publications and other media sources available to the public. Although all media channels are equally important to Metroland Media, their community newspapers and print publications are their number one source of revenue.  Today we see the Internet evolving into a larger number of social media channels and television alternatives; this puts customer engagement at the top of their priority list. With the amount of choices available, competition amongst companies and brand loyalty becomes a problem.

In a world where social media can make or break a business, Tripcentral.ca puts it all on the line for their customers. The only major travel agency to leave their Facebook reviews open for public comment (with a 4.8 star approval rating and immediate responses to any negative comments), they put their reputation to task daily to hold themselves accountable to their customers, and to be the best they can be.

TripAdvisor is a good example of how to build successful business and sustain YoY growth by customers’ usage and engagement. Once a website for hotel reviews, TripAdvisor became an online place where customers can plan and book nearly everything for their trip: starting with accommodation, restaurants, guiding tours etc. Nowadays, TripAdvisor provides both its customers: businesses and travelers, a platform to socialize. Travelers share their experiences via reviews and businesses have an option to respond directly to the traveler. TripAdvisor is one of the largest travel sites that offers advice from millions its users. With 465 million reviews, covering 7 million accommodations, restaurants and attractions in 49 markets worldwide, TripAdvisor is branded the largest travel community in the world. TripAdvisor attracts 390M unique visitors every month, more than 280 reviews are submitted to the website every minute and more than 10 000 businesses are added to the website and apps every week.

Deyaar is one of the largest property developers in Dubai, They strive to serve their customer in the best possible manner, came up with the idea which will create value for Deyaar’s customers by saving their time and effort by streamlining the processes and providing an online channel to manage their properties from anywhere.

When teaching future film makers, there are many ways for the discussion points between teacher and student to begin. For instance, we might examine product construction or production events a “the making of” sort of thing. Or, we might follow the money, the funding, focus on budgets, etc., or perhaps look to  the personalities be it the film maker or the “Stars” of a narrative piece. On the other hand, we might also start with the story or interesting plot points, “based on a true story” notion. Theme alone, the purpose behind the product, might also drive the conversation like a Michael Moore documentary. I try something different and it is the reason why I am consumed with the idea of learning the practicality of social media. I ask my students to think about consumption and the elements that make motion picture consumption work. Why would you watch it? Motion pictures are essentially experiential products, meaning the product is that the audience experiences the work emotionally and intellectually. There is actually no physical commodity to walk away with, perhaps a dvd, but even that technology is becoming obsolete. The product is also ephemeral, linked to a momentary audience connection with the material. Film is a moment in time. If you accept this notion, artistic statement becomes less the author and more feeling. Heresy in my world!  No matter. As a teacher, I always begin my Sheridan College Producer course by asking my student this question. If your product is an experience, who as a film maker, is the product designed for, as an artist who do you want to speak to? And why? With the integration of social and transmedia platforms, the equally important question is how will you reach your audience? For purposes of this case study, the great question driving the study is whether the audience is the customer we seek to understand? You cannot actually address this question without digging a little deeper which leads to my choice of companies to study. Today, the primary conduit for a film maker to reach this illusive, experiential audience is the film distributor, and the subject of my case study this week is Mongrel Media, a leading independent film distributor based in Toronto Canada. This week we are exploring – through a motion picture Distributor – the idea of Client Engagement, an exploration that asks whether an on-going long term… Read more »

To be motivated and inspired.  That’s all anyone wants when they start a new fitness journey.  Often times this can be the biggest struggle of them all. Beachbody has created a winning formula of pairing accessible fitness, nutrition plans and supplements. Complimented by  social media inspiration and accountability that not only engages the customer but also empowers the customer to engage others. Beachbody is the online powerhouse that has brought to your home award winning workouts and well known brands like the P90 series, Turbo Abs , The 21day Fix and Shakeology.  Started in 1998 with the belief that that the focus should be on progress not perfection.  Founders Carl Daikeler and John Congdon continue to live by this philosophy by sharing their own story on social media .  Today with their community of 350,000 the idea is that you will “never be alone ” in your journey due to the company support.  https://www.beachbody.com/product/about_us/company_overview.do  

I was watching CNN the evening of January 3, 2017, when The Ridiculist segment aired on Anderson Cooper 360°.  Much to my amazement and delight, I witnessed Anderson Cooper and Frank (a member of the studio crew) re-enact a twitter feud that had taken place the day before between Wendy’s social media manager and twitter user Thuggy D. Thuggy D had taken exception to a tweet touting Wendy’s claim that their beef was never frozen. The ensuing exchange between Thuggy D and Amy Brown, Wendy’s Social Media Manager, was not only re-enacted on CNN, but was covered extensively by online media outlets like Mashable, Mediaite, The Daily Dot, Forbes.com and more.

Accor Hotels  is a world leader in hotel management, with more than 3500 hotels in the world, their well-known brands include Sofitel, Fairmont, Novotel, Ibis Hotel, Pullman, and more. When it comes to customer engagement, Accor is strongly committed to providing individualized, memorable customer experiences that fully integrate the use of social media to engage the customer. Accor understands that through heightened customer engagement comes heighted customer loyalty and ultimately, heightened corporate revenues.  Accor is continuously looking for innovative ways to further engage their customers in order to provide the  ultimate customer experience that will have them returning again and again. Given the ever increasing competition for customer attention, Accor has embraced social media and has become a global leader in digital presence focusing on multi device engagement with emphasis towards the management of its on-line reputation.      

This season marks the 60th Anniversary of varsity athletics at the University of Waterloo.  Sixty years have come and gone, and along with those years, so have the traditional posters and signs around campus advertising games and building team pride.  Today, social media marketing makes up approximately 75% of the department’s advertising efforts according to the department’s Social Media and Brand Manager, Steve Brooks.  

Paul Sperry hailed from a family that had a longstanding relationship with the sea. As a result, he went on to become an accomplished sailor himself. Sperry was a Seamen, First Class in the United States Navy and in his spare time sailed aboard his own boat ‘Sirocco‘. During a chance encounter with rough seas, poor shoes on a slippery deck nearly cost Paul Sperry his life. It was at that moment that he began searching for a solution to the unfortunate problem of many sailors. After much trial and error, it was eventually Sperry’s dog who would help him come to a solution. After watching his dog run across ice without struggle, Sperry decided to create grooves in a rubber sole, similar to those that were in his dog’s paws. In 1935, the first Sperry deck shoes were made. The sole of the Sperry Top-Sider deck shoe “sticks like a barnacle” and was therefore trusted by the United States Navy as an official shoe during the Second World War, The Kennedy Family during their sailing adventures, and as the official shoe for the America’s Cup. Given the fact that the Sperry brand of deck shoes were, and continue to be the top choice of such customers, it is no wonder that the Sperry brand entrusts their customers to ensure the quality and the longevity of the brand.

Toronto-based Lulu et Elle Photography specializes in stylized newborn imagery. Owner and principal photographer Lana Polashek is at the top of her game on account of her innovative and personalized approach to documenting the arrival of newborns. Her success lies in the ability to produce photography shaped by client-driven narratives and share the studio experience through social media. “Being a newborn photographer allows me to document intense moments of vulnerability. The fragility of the baby, along with the vulnerable state of the parents, are all essential parts of the story. This is where my brand is – excuse the pun – born. Customer engagement starts at the most fundamental level – the photography session – and continues through my social media strategy.” Lana Polashek Customer engagement can be understood as the psychological state emanating from a collaborative customer/brand experience. Engagement reflects a motivational state which occurs through an individual’s interactions with a particular product or service. Engagement differs from satisfaction, as the former is focused on consumers’ cognitive, emotional and behavioural patterns during specific brand interactions, whereas the latter may only develop thereafter.

When I was a child, I remember eating my breakfast at the kitchen table each morning as my parents listened to the latest in local news and weather through a little radio on the counter. This is how many people would get their information to start their day, but now, there are other options. Now-a-days, I set my alarm 30 minutes before I need to get up to allow myself time to check personal email as well as scroll through Instagram, Facebook and Twitter – and I’m certain I’m not the only one.

Living in a era of technology and connected devices , we all know the importance of being connected to the outside world through our electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets and etc, as necessary as it seems , this need increases the degree of reliability and dependency of most of us on our smartphones even for very basic stuff; navigating yourself to get to your desired destination, getting access to meal recipes, learning new workout moves and the list goes on. It is incredible how technology changes people’s habit over the years.It was not even 30 years ago when the first generation of handheld devices got into the consumer’s market with essential features, solely designed to make telephone contacts, whereas the latest generations will bring more and more mind boggling features at our fingertips. Speaking of mobile technology evolution, Samsung and Apple are by far the best in class quality mobile manufacture leaders in the world’s marketplace, two biggest competitors which are always introducing top-notch products to the market since the 1990s’.

In a digital age, where consumers are less likely to respond to traditional marketing/advertising techniques, organizations are tasked with trying to understand the modern consumer. With so many options to choose from, a well-informed consumer base, and a diverse and ultra competitive landscape where the concept of  brand loyalty is a thing of the past, corporate social media strategies now play a vital role in the success of today’s global organizations. One such organization is Maryland based, Phillips Corporation. Phillips Corp is a global supplier of manufacturing technology products and services primarily focused on CNC machine tools. Over the years Phillips Corp have relied on the great marketing efforts of the manufacturer’s they represent for building/growing the brand. They are also globally renowned for providing legendary customer service and an enduring competitive advantage to the end user.  Although Social media is somewhat of a new realm for Phillips Corporation, in a highly competitive global product market, they have tried to differentiate themselves by focusing on their people and the service they provide to the customers. Phillips is aware that nothing will substitute the relationships that their sales and service people have with the customers. Conversely they are cognizant that social media has developed a larger role over recent years as an additional avenue for engaging with that same customer base. At first their social media strategy was designed just to be presence on social channels, but it quickly developed into a more streamline avenue for them to have conversations with people in their industry. This is where I believe Phillips have taken a unique approach in an attempt to set themselves apart from the competition. A lot of companies use social media to tell everyone how good they are, and while Phillips do want to promote themselves, they also feel that it is important to recognize, at least from a marketing perspective, that they don’t own their brand, their customers do.   Matthew Nardangeli-Marketing Director at Phillips Corporation explains the importance of social media and customer engagement in below audio file:

Traditionally, Black Friday is a day for consumers to spend mad amounts of money on discounted wares. More and more in recent years, there are videos and phone captures of in-store fights, parking lot brawls, and general retail unpleasantness. But one company decided that there had to be a better different way. Cards Against Humanity, everyone’s favourite “party game for horrible people,” has spent the past three Black Fridays requesting that their customers pay a price increase or donate their money to the game’s creators. Though this is a clearly unconventional request, their customers passionately and quickly respond, giving their funds freely. Let’s look at how a start-up has not only turned their consumers into passionate product advocates, but also into willing financial contributors who receive little, if not nothing, in return.    

In 2006, I remember standing in line of a grocery store and noticing that TIME magazine had named You as the Person of the Year. At the time I was in grade 11 and I likely didn’t fully comprehend the cultural shift that was taking place, but I did understand what TIME was getting at. The Internet, and namely the adoption of Facebook that year, was giving a voice to anyone who wanted to engage and be heard. Individuals were beginning to wield power greater than companies and media outlets, thus requiring organizations to rethink how they talk to their audience. It has been over a decade and savvy businesses have learned that customer and client relationships are built on a two-way street, and traditional means of broadcasting messages in print or through television ads are no longer as effective. Today, customer engagement is not about how customers feel about a brand, rather it is about what they do, or how they act. Leveraging social media tools that cultivate dialogue allows for the opportunity to build positive, loyal relationships.

When you think about customer engagement, it is quite easy to make the connection with customer satisfaction.  In the for profit world the importance of winning new customers and keeping the customers to generate increased profits is a given.  As expected, when I first searched for information on this topic I found plenty of examples of how for profit businesses were using social media for a business purpose.  However, being from the Not-For-Profit world I wanted examples of how social media could be used to engage clients for the purpose of increasing their satisfaction with the services provided.

When you ask an old person what their biggest regret in life is, an overwhelming majority lament that they wish they had travelled more in their youth. They often cite a lack of funds, or life’s responsibilities as reason for postponing their plans. Contiki was a company that was created to address this issue. Contiki is a tour company that connects like-minded people, by offering affordable trip packages for ages 18-35. The organization’s slogan is “No Regrets” which shows that they know what note they need to strike with their customers to encourage them to book a trip. Contiki uses social media effectively to encourage their customers to tell their story, and by doing so, market the service to all of their friends. While not the only marketing technique they use, this is one of the many ways Contiki keeps their customers engaged.

Sue Bryce is is one of the most recognizable photographers in the imaging industry. Her glamour, fashion and portrait style transcend past stereotypes and has changed the face of portrait photography. After becoming the most watched instructor on CreativeLive, Sue has created her own ground-breaking educational platform, in which she uses her signature techniques to educate photographers and empower businesses internationally. Photographers looking to build their social media presence are often focused on the tactical questions of who to follow, how often to post and what networks to exploit. But according to Sue Bryce the route to success in social media doesn’t follow a neat script and has far less to do with a given tactic and far more to do with honesty, positivity and having something of value to share with the world.  “Emotion, entertainment, engagement and education. If you’re touching one of those four things, people are going to be interested in whatever you’ve got.” Sue Bryce

How does a graduate in Software Engineering with an established career in his field, all of a sudden tell his parents that he no longer wants to continue doing that, and instead wants to get into the sporting events business? Burhan Ehsan who is founder and president of theFanchize had to experience just that. Being born to South Asian parents, that was probably his toughest hurdle in life. But with a venture that has reaped the rewards by getting into the Toronto Raptors-ticket selling game early, being called on by many media outlets due to the craze amongst Toronto sports fanatics, and now boasting over 4,000 clients – which most of them are recurring – breaking the news to his parents went fairly smoothly. Back in 2004, Burhan already a rabid Toronto Raptors fan, decided with a friend to purchase season tickets in the upper bowl of the Air Canada Centre (ACC). Something the Toronto Raptors organization wholeheartedly welcomed as the NBA team just wasn’t performing well on the hardcourt, nor in ticket sales at the time. Burhan utilized his time wisely while at these games and during ho-hum affairs, or breaks in between games, he would coolly network and schmooze with anyone affiliated with Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment – owners of the Raptors – such as Ushers, Security and also ticket sales representatives that worked directly under management. The sales reps took a liking to Burhan and made him a deal to try and attract more visitors and put bodies into the empty seats at games. He took up the challenge. With no social media outlets at the time, he did use what he was good at: Word of mouth. Talking to his family members and friends, Burhan showcased the Raptor ticket as valuable as a Toronto Maple Leafs ticket. When he needed to get more exposure, he resorted to an obscure mass texting application as the growing use of cellphones was apparent at that time. The phone calls then started to come in. Perks were given directly to Burhan from the Raptors such as playing time on an NBA floor at the ACC, meet & greet with players and also receive gifts such as jerseys and t-shirts using this as leverage to bring in more customers. With the client base growing and time becoming more and more scarce, people had to be hired to man the phones, the former website Raptorfan.com had to be designed… Read more »

Hamilton Tiger-Cats is the oldest professional sports team in north America. The Hamilton Football Club was formed on November 3, 1869, and played their first game on December 18, 1869 against the 13th Battalion (now Royal Hamilton Light Infantry). Some of the early history of football in Canada and Hamilton is a bit vague, but by 1883, there are records of the Hamilton Tigers playing in the Ontario Rugby Football Union playoffs. The decades and the game have changed but the Ticats commitment to  community and  fan engagement has not.  Being active, accessible and current  with their fans is critical on and of the field  even during off-season times. In the ever changing landscape of professional sports and out-bound marketing, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats have kept up with new  technologies and successfully tackled challenges to reach their fan base.

When asked to name a business which utilizes Social Media to effectively reach out to new customers and maintain contact with existing ones, I immediately thought of The Furtado Group. Operating under the Rock Star Real Estate umbrella, they are a Real Estate Team based in Oakville, primarily servicing the West GTA. The Furtado Group is not your average Real Estate Brokerage and this is evident across their unique branding efforts. And, they surpass any expectations one may have for effectively using Social Media to interact with their audience. Each of the Team’s members has their own Social Media presence. The Team is led by Ruben Furtado. He is considered “a true expert in his field, a trusted advisor and mentor to many in the real estate community” (The Furtado Group. 2016). They have a dedicated Art Director & Brand Communications Manager and each member of their team contributes to content for all social media platforms. Mary Da Rosa has her own blog in which she writes about her business life and market trends. And, there’s Austin Furtado who shares his personal and business goals on his own You Tube channel, Auzzy TV. Clearly this Team has made Social Media a priority in their communication strategies.

What is your impression about a credit card with $450 annual fee? When first hearing about the new Chase Sapphire Reserve, I had to make the assumption base on its annual fee that it could be another fancy luxury credit card for a small group of customers. It turned out that Sapphire Reserve started a credit card frenzy, Chase application page is swamped by tens of thousands applications and the company ran out of actual cards in the second week. “It significantly exceeded our strongest expectations,” said Lauren Francis, Communication Director – Chase Card Services

Even if you’re not in the market to buy or sell a home, you’ve likely had your eye caught by a realtor’s face on a bench sign, bus stop ad or other billboard-type promotion.  It has been a successful exposure-gaining method used for decades by people in the real estate industry, one that has often been a strong step to gaining contacts for potential deals.  But did you know that according to Realtor Social Marketing, 90% of home buyers begin their search online? Nicole Bafaro, Sales Representative with Sutton Group Heritage Realty in Ontario’s Durham Region, has successfully built her real estate career by venturing beyond the goal of simply making contacts; she is building and strengthening relationships through online client engagement within her community through her use of social media.

In 1872, long before the invention of social media, Mildmay’s Commercial Hotel began it’s first days of operation. It has since welcomed thousands of visitors to the small town located in Southwestern Ontario with its country charm and welcoming flare. In 1919 the the business was bought by the Schmalz family and has remained with them ever since. In 2006 the business was bought by Nicole Wise (Schmalz) and became Harleys Pub and Perk. Harleys Pub and Perk has proven that some things will just never get old with it’s almost century old charm, Grandma Schmalz’s Ribs and Kraut, and even with a few of the regulars; however, the functionality of the pub and it’s marketing tactics have had to be changed with their times.