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.

Customer engagement is an extremely vital part of any business plan. In today’s fast paced constantly changing environment it can be hard for some companies to keep up. Customers are constantly in search of what is new and trendy, and as a result, retaining loyal customers is more challenging than ever. Let’s take a look at iPhone vs. Android. A few years ago there were two groups; dedicated Apple users, and dedicated Blackberry users. Most consumers had chosen their side and would stand by their device loyally. You would rarely expect to see an Apple user make the switch to Blackberry. In more recent years however, many Apple users have made the leap and abandoned their iPhones for an Android, which are (arguably) introducing more innovations to the smartphone world. At the end of the day, the consumer wants what they perceive to be best, and currently the competition to stay at the top of the game is fierce. Communicating and engaging with your customers has never been more important than it is in our modern day, and using social media to connect is essential.

What is BaubleBar? Fashion jewelry  – a must have in any woman’s wardrobe. You can wear it as the final touch to a wedding ensemble or to add some visual interest to jeans and a comfy t-shirt; the point of it is to make a statement and take your outfit from great to spectacular! BaubleBar has been helping women since 2011 with their on-trend fashion jewelry needs and at affordable prices to boot. A strong and unique customer engagement strategy is pivotal for a strictly online store to thrive since they can’t deliver a tailored in store experience for their customers. The co-founders Amy Jain and Daniella Yacobovsky realized this early on. They knew that to create the customer base that they needed they would have to be highly data driven as well as provide a pleasurable and exclusive shopping experience.

Oh, how I wish I could truly say that “I am an astronaut and own my own space shuttle.” Just thinking of this makes me want to reach for the stars to unlock my full potential, discover new levels of success and achieve goals only dreamed about. Although I am not an astronaut and don’t own a space shuttle, this is exactly how Blast Marketing wants their front line workers and valued clients to think and so far, their success is reaching beyond the stars.

Even though Ford has been around for over a century, it is still creating great content to engage present and possible future customers. It has been engaging with customers using a multi platform content strategy and creating authentic social interactions.  There is a big difference between marketing and posting advertisements on social media, compared to engaging with the customers and using social media as a line of communication. After a closer look at Ford’s online social presence, it is clear they have it all figured out!

Today’s marketing landscape is ever changing, and with it, the way we engage with our customers.  It is no longer about selling a service or a product; now it is all about the customer experience.  Companies like T by Daniel, a Brampton based tea house, strive to provide a genuinely exceptional experience for each and every person they meet.  Lovers of tea, fashion and especially people, Daniela and Renata Lewis had a vision to start something that could speak to all generations and could bring people together 1. It began when Daniel Lewis overcame a tragedy and used his new found passion for life to follow his dream with his loving wife by his side.  “From the moment a person walks into our store, our immediate goal is to wow them” says Renata Lewis, co-founder.  Their friendly staff focus on getting to know their customers, whether in person or online.

As we get closer to crowing another Stanley Cup Champion, take a look at some of the teams that have competed for the cup since 2006. Los Angeles, Tampa Bay, Anaheim, San Jose and Carolina. I would categorize those teams as non-traditional markets vs a traditional market such as Pittsburgh, Chicago or Toronto. So how does the NHL and markets such as Tampa Bay continue to be so successful on and off the ice and engage their fan base who would generally be watching baseball or sunning themselves on a sandy beach during the playoffs?   Today’s fans are intelligent, mobile and closer to their favorite team and players, and this “closeness” or “engagement” is how the NHL has grown its fan base and continues to grow the game in non-traditional hockey markets.

I asked my son to go for #FroYo with me today, “I’d kinda rather hang out with my friends Mom” was the first response. So, I pull up the @menchies_ca twitter feed and pass him my phone. “Ooooh! I do want to go to Menchie’s though!” was his response after one glance at the header photo and a quick scroll down the Twitter feed. The scroll revealed a current promotional event “The Italian Festival” featuring three flavours: Nutella, Sweet Almond Amaretto and Iced Cappucino.  The moment we read about this festival of flavours, we were on a mouth watering mission to the nearest Menchie’s location! The first station you come to inside a Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt shop offers little cups to try every flavour. If you wish, you can make a fully informed decision about what taste you want to spend your money and calories on. If you’re like my son, you try every flavour at least twice (shhhhh!) and self serve up a heaping portion of your favourites into the pay-by-weight bowl. At the last station, you can top off your concoction with any kind of candy or fruit you can imagine. My son ended up with a hodgepodge of crunchy, chewy, sour and salty toppings, tasted it and declared it “The bomb!”

JetBlue doesn’t rely on free snacks alone to please customers. The airline company mines social media for opportunities to give individual customers exactly what will make them happy the minute they enter the airport.  By scanning the musings, emoticons or “deep thoughts” tagged with the @JetBlue Twitter handle employees ensure target customers receive -among other things – upgrades to first class or the coffee order they didn’t get a chance to pick up on way to the airport.

Starbucks is one of the most recognizable brands in the world. Founded in 1971 in Seattle, WA (USA), the brand has built a strong reputation worldwide since its debut. With nearly 23,500 stores around the globe, the American coffee corporation has expanded its brand with specialty coffees, an increasing market since the late 1980s. Whether you are more of a frappuccino, espresso or latté kind of consumer, the brand carefully listens to its customers and constantly develops new products to make us want another cup of that black elixir. There is a product for everyone at Starbucks, and the company makes sure we are aware of it… With millions of dollars invested in publicity, its best brand ambassadors are still its loyal fan base. Everyone knows the in-store customer experience is pleasant with nice decor, good smell, attractive food displays… now let’s take a look at how the coffee company is extending the experience online by engaging with its customers.

If there is one company who knows how to engage their consumers with the use of social media, it’s definitely Nike! From their Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube pages, their customer following is in the masses, their hashtags have been used by millions, and their videos have been shared and watched by all! Nike has even created separate product pages and accounts for their different sports categories to cater to each and every type of Nike product user- accounts like Nike Running, NikeWomen , and even Nike Basketball can be followed by all. Whether you run, are looking for inspiration, or just wear their products for comfort or fashion; Nike’s social media pages are for everyone. They have even used their Twitter account to interact with their customers and provide advice and customer service to their followers. How exciting is it when Nike decides to reply to one of your tweets!? Nike has definitely become a huge success in the world of hashtags, sharing, and “going viral”. If you don’t see yourself as a frequent Nike user, I am sure that you have come across a Nike Video once or twice on your favourite social media account…and you’ve probably watched it too! Below is a popular “Snow Day” video that was released on Nike’s social media pages. This 2 minute clip features a number of pro athletes such as pro football players Rob Gronkowski and Ndamukong Suh and has been watched more than 10 million times on Youtube and 8.5 million times on Facebook!    

Born decades before social media, luxury brands have portrayed a lifestyle that is often out of reach for most people. Social media by its very definition, seems on the opposite side of this concept. This challenge makes most luxury brands move very cautiously into social media marketing. Burberry, a digitally savvy brand, gives us an example of how a luxury brand engage with both core consumers and the broader digital audiences on social media. The millennial consumers are gaining more and more importance. If luxury brands want to reach out to a younger generation, social media is the way to go. As Angela Ahrendts, Former Burberry CEO said “I grew up in a physical world; and I speak English. The next generation is growing up in a digital world; and they speak social.”

By now, we all know just how powerful social media is. One false move and a company can be in big trouble. On the flip side, if a company comes up with a way to use social media as a way to engage customers, it can mean major success. Whether it’s day-to-day, or for a national campaign, these days, it’s all about customer engagement. And, boy, did Lay’s hit the nail on the head with their Do Us A Flavour Contest.  

I will admit that until very recently I was not familiar with the brand Chobani. You see, despite being the number one Greek yogurt in the United States, Chobani’s line of all-natural, non-GMO products aren’t currently available in Canada. However, when I started researching companies using social media as a means to engage their customers I kept seeing the Chobani name come up, so I decided to explore this brand and its strategy a little deeper. And now I’m thinking it might be time for a road trip south to see what all the fuss is about. Founded just over 10 years ago by Kurdish-American businessman Hamdi Ulukaya, Chobani has quickly risen to the forefront of the yogurt industry capitalizing on the market shift towards the creamier Greek-style of yogurt. In a 2013 interview Ulukaya stated that at the time of Chobani’s product launch in 2007 “Greek yogurt market share in the United States was less than 1 percent. And today it is almost 60 percent.” Becoming the top brand in that marketplace is quite the accomplishment, and proves that the company is doing something right not only with its product but its marketing strategy as well.

Social media is continuously expanding and it’s no surprise that consumers today have turned to social media to voice their opinions, share pictures and videos, and reach out to companies. With social media on the rise companies like Clarks have recognized the need to take their social media tools to the next level to enhance their customer engagement.   Clarks has implemented many avenues of social media into their organization all aimed towards improving their customer engagement and customer experience with the ultimate goal of improving business results

Hello and welcome back folks! In my last blog – Shopify’s Custom Built Unicorn Platform Takes Employee Engagement to a Whole New Realm  I looked at how Shopify’s amazing business culture fosters their exemplary employee engagement.  Next, I focus on how Shopify as an organization exudes the same passion when connecting with their customers. “We want every single minute of interaction with a customer to be a minute of true value,” says Richard Hall – Director of Revenue Operations [1] “We strive for happiness — not satisfaction!  The customer service industry is obsessed with “customer satisfaction”. We believe that’s too low a bar. Satisfaction is not a measure of success — it’s just enough to get by. We want our customers to be happy. Happiness is success. Happiness is our goal. “ [2] – Mantra spoken by Shopify’s customer support team Let me be honest, my first exposure to Shopify was actually through my husband.  He recently joined  Shopify’s free two-week trial, for his online store: Essential Oil Labs. Lately, all we seem to do is talk about growing his business. So I decided why not engage with him and get a first hand look at how Shopify really interacts with their customers.  I was marveled at the amount of times they have reached out to him.  He’s plugged into all sorts of forums,  “How-To” videos and not to mention he gets a “gazillion” emails.  What really struck me is the way in which they deliver this material.  It’s timely, entertaining, and pretty darn addictive.

Everyone has at least one bad habit. The definition of bad being loosely defined from “unfavourable” to “incorrect” to “harmful”, all of which are subject to interpretation. A bad habit can range from sneaking into the cupboard in the middle of night to chow down on some cookies to a full blown gambling addiction where you lose your house and every material thing you’ve ever owned. Speaking of every material thing you’ve ever owned… Have you heard of Confessions of a Shopaholic?  

Transparency is a funny thing. To successfully engage customers, it’s an important subject for organizations in today’s marketplace. Yet, how does a company walk the line between reflecting an image of transparency, while still being able to function successfully without ‘giving it all away’? For the Baltimore Ravens, it’s an ability to appear transparent to the consumer, by appealing to the emotional side. Football teams can have the unique advantage of extremely passionate customers. Sure, it helps if the team performs better and the players are easily ‘marketable’ to the audience, but football is a game for passionate people, with strong feelings to their respective teams.

The lunch rush is always on when you visit @Applebees – or at least when you go online. Sporting over 500-thousand tweets and over 520-thousand followers, the Twitter account for America’s quintessential “neighborhood grill and bar” seems to always have their social media game on-point. Even if you’ve never set foot in an Applebee’s you’d probably be able to describe several of the menu items if you’ve ever landed on one of their social media accounts. Their Twitter feed is the crown jewel of their online presence, featuring a daily flood of menu items, puns, hashtags and customer engagement galore. Beyond Twitter, the restaurant has a vibrant presence on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube – with each account serving the brand in slightly different ways – but the common thread being photos of their cuisine.

  While engaging your audience is usually not a bad thing, giving up total control for one of your most prestigious annual events can be. Which is why the NBA is rethinking the process for how All-Star votes are cast.

I have never been the kind of girl to participate in a variety of sports related activities.  As a matter of fact, I was always the accident prone teen who was banned from playing sports in high school as a preventative measure towards myself and from a liability stand point for the school.  So I did not have the misfortune of being associated with doing things “like a girl” in relation to leisure activities but the stigma is still all too familiar to me within other aspects of my life.  Girls all over the country and quite likely worldwide are faced with similar experiences of people trying to dissuade them from achieving their best.  What if one company could change the way society perceives young girls? What if there was a way to put an end to all the stereotyping? This is an account of how the brand ‘Always‘ by Procter & Gamble rose to the challenge and created their #LIKEAGIRL social media campaign to revolutionize the way society views adolescent girls, thus changing the way they engage with their customers. What does it mean to be a young adolescent girl in society today? What stigmas surround them in various aspects of their lives? In order to improve its engagement with its customers, Always had to think outside the box of traditional product marketing and change the focus of its advertising strategies.  If they were to service their customers better and succeed in this campaign, they had answer these two key questions.  According to Frank Eliason, Global Director of Client Experience at Citi,  “Truly listening is hearing the needs of the customer, understanding those needs and making sure the company recognizes the opportunities they present”.

Drizzy’s Social Swag

Siddiqi   November 10, 2015
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Title: Drizzy’s Social Media Swag Organization Name: Drake & OVO Industry: Music & Entertainment A number of individuals involved in the Canadian Hip Hop Music Industry were contacted for comment. At the time of publication, there was no response. Web References: Drake; Degrassi: The Next Generation; Mixtapes; Mixtape Marketing; Limewire; @Drake; @champagnepapi; Hotline Bling; Director X; Meme; Drake Vines; Vine Service; Trump… Read more »

Toms puts the “Social in Social Responsibility”

CNorris13   November 2, 2015

Company: Toms Industry: Retailer, Shoes References: Toms Website, USA Today, Twitter, Instagram, Toms is an American shoe company founded by Blake Mycoskie. Its business plan, which at the time of creation was unique, that donates a pair of shoes to a child in need every time a person purchases a pair of shoes for themselves. Since its inception the company has expanded their product lines to… Read more »

Stonyfield Shows Ultimate Transparency in Their Supply Chain

Meg Walsh   October 26, 2015

Organization Name: Stonyfield Industry: Dairy Farming / Yogurt     Today’s market place has become more competitive than ever. It is vital for companies to think of innovative new ways to streamline their operations, increase efficiencies, and optimize productivity in order to stay ahead of the competition. One important aspect of business that many organizations do not apply social media… Read more »

Loot Crate Delivers Mystery Boxes Of Joy

David_Pearson   October 25, 2015
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Company: Loot Crate Industry: Online Retail Web References: Loot Crate, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Tumblr, Twitch Loot Crate is an online retailer with an interesting product. Each month Loot Crate subscribers receive a mystery box that contains curated items, chosen to be products that their subscribers would likely enjoy. According to their company description on their website: “Loot Crate™ was… Read more »

Doing Social Media Right – A Taco Bell Story

nantic   October 14, 2015

Title of Post: Doing Social Media Right – A Taco Bell Story Organization Name: Taco Bell (subsidiary of Yum! Brands, Inc.) Industry: Fast Food Web reference: https://www.tacobell.com/, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/28/taco-bell-beef-meat-lawsuit-ads_n_815303.html, https://www.tacobell.com/, http://www.bluleadz.com/blog/5-companies-doing-it-right-on-social-media, http://www.lotus823.com/social-media-marketing-lessons-from-taco-bell/ Description of how social media is used for business performance: Using social media outlets to review products and services is a great way to for a company to figure… Read more »