I initially joined the conference-goer club in University (business school will do that to you). I loved it - everything from putting on my best dress, to the note-taking, to showing off the shiny pile of business cards I managed to collect as a first-rate networker. Today, I sit in the lobby of the Moscone Center in San Fran at the Customer Engagement Technology Conference, awakened to something I hadn't previously noticed about this world: it's boring, full of stereotypes, cheesy sales pitches and tacky lanyards. This opinion isn't completely novel to me, but it was a keynote by Brandon Berger of Ogilvy that drove it home. For the first time in quite a long time, I was genuinely inspired by a conference presenter. Not only was he well-spoken and obviously intelligent, but he was honest in his approach and that was refreshing for me. My judgement of his presentation is not solely based on my own experience, but more importantly on that of those around me. I say this because his discussion points were not revolutionary to me - they revolved around topics that the rGenta team discusses on a daily basis. They were, however, revolutionary to several of my fellow attendees. Most interestingly, everyone around me "got it". This rarely happens in digital sessions. Brandon lived and breathed his advice of "keeping it simple" in his presentation. On some level, he impacted everyone in the room. The people sitting to my left and right would nod at his thoughts, visibly reflecting in their heads and releasing an audible sigh of relief that someone finally provided them with valuable and scalable information, versus an overview and sales pitch of some company's capabilities. People left the room smiling and commenting to each other, "I really enjoyed that".
Here is an overview of Brandon Berger's key engagement points from his discussion:
1. Simple is powerful (enough said).
2. Everything is engagement.
- Your customers are not simply an audience, they are characters in your narrative; genuinely invite them to participate
- Example: #16juin2016 campaign
3. Disruption is an agent of change.
- The catalogue (Sears) disrupted our original Mom and Pop Shop way of doing things. Price (Walmart) disrupted the catalogue. Convenience on a macro level disrupted price (Amazon)...and so on and so forth
4. Deliver consumer utility.
- Offer something uniquely compelling to your consumer; something that isn't necessarily directly attached to sales motive
- Example: Coca-Cola Happiness Refill Machine
5. Game on.
- Gaming permits digital personification and personal expression. Using gaming to drive behaviour creates individual connections with consumers
- Gaming provides participants with a journey to an objective (one that is mutually beneficial to the consumer and the marketer). This journey has an unmatched ability to be powerful...make it fun :)
- Gaming elements can be applied to every channel
- Example: Fanta's Facebook Timeline
6. Life tracking.
- Provide value in exchange for life tracking data. This opportunity exists at an intersection between online and offline behaviours.
- Example: Adidas "micoach"
7. Break rules.
There are no rules. The overall themes of marketing will stay the same, it's the ideas that change. Rules are not an effective catalyst to idea generation.
Key takeaway: Engagement is not about technology, or digital, or social media or the like. Technology is simply an enabler for consumers to accomplish their goals.