Elevating the Customer Experience: The New Rules of Engagement

By Suzanne Rappaport

At CASACOM, our mantra is simple: Elevate the value of public relations. Elevate our clients. Elevate ourselves.

We don’t just talk about elevation, we live it – both through the integrated and strategic communications programs we design and implement, and through our own professional development program, The Casacademy. We challenge ourselves as employees to learn more, stay abreast of the latest trends and industry news, and learn from experts in a variety of fields and practices.

Last week, the team gathered in Montreal at one of our annual Casacademy retreats to attempt to answer an important and relevant question:

In a time where we are constantly inundated with messages, technology and noise, how do we create meaningful consumer engagements that break through and deliver?

Luckily, we were not alone in our search for answers. We were fortunate to have one of the leading authorities on meaningful brand engagements, Daniel Dutesco, founder of The ORCHRD Group, as our keynote speaker. Daniel is an advertising industry veteran, working with leading global brands such as Coca Cola, L’Oréal Paris and Ikea to deliver conscious, strategic programs designed to engage with today’s consumer on a new level. He shared with us what he refers to as “the new rules of engagement.”


According to Daniel, the most successful companies understand that the best way to change or influence a consumer’s perception of a brand, is to change the way they experience it. He notes the following eight strategies for successful consumer engagement:

1. Sell culture, not products
Reebok, Nike & Red Bull are all examples of companies that have built empires by creating lifestyles, not just brands. Ask yourself: Do you have a clear understanding of your brand’s story and culture? Is that culture reflected in all the activities you undertake?

2. Leverage consumer psychology
In order to appeal to your target audience, you need to have a deep understanding of what drives that specific group. Beyond building business value, we need to ensure that we are creating personal value for the consumer.

 3. Dig deep
Data is the true key to understanding your audience and their purchasing behaviour. Gather data at various touch points to leverage and design a better journey for the consumer.

4. Focus on the fans
Think about how you can optimize the customer journey for your fans. Do you understand what matters/is valuable to them? Create an experience based on what your consumer wants or needs, versus what you’re trying to sell.

5. Bridge physical and digital
Today’s consumer operates on multiple channels. Ensure your business and/or experience is designed to be as integrated as they are.

6. Create shared social experiences
Ask yourself: are the experiences you’re creating engaging and driving interaction with your community of fans?

7. Connect the emotional with the material
The best way to increase cultural relevance is to connect with people on an emotional level.

8. Focus on experience and storytelling first
With any engagement, we want to ask ourselves: are we creating an environment for our customers to tell our story on our behalf? Have we enabled sharing and storytelling as part of the experience?

In terms of how this affects the work we do in PR, I think it’s threefold:

1. It reminds us to focus on the “relations” portion of what we do. To constantly think about moving beyond traditional thinking to a new perspective that allows our clients to engage directly with their target audience in a meaningful way. There is no longer B2B or B2C – just H2H- Human-to-Human.

2. It supports our philosophy that public relations is a long-term strategy and a vital tool in building brand identity and culture.

3. In order to elevate, we must challenge. Challenge the status quo.  Challenge ourselves. Challenge our clients and challenge our consumers. We know that if we do not, someone else will.

For more information on Daniel Dutesco, visit danieldutesco.com



Suzanne Rappaport About the author
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