You have just graduated from college and landed your first real job. It’s your first day at work and your boss calls you into a staff meeting.
Looking around at everyone, he says, “Consumer engagement is dropping—and it’s dropping fast.” Singling you out, he says “You’re new. We need a fresh perspective. What do we do to bring them back?”
Consulting firm, Bain and Company, recently discovered that 67 percent of 1,200 executives surveyed believe that customers are becoming less engaged with their brands.
Consumer engagement put simply, is when a person interacts with or becomes loyal to a specific brand or organization.
So what can we do to prepare in order to tackle this emerging issue?
Scott Cuppari, Global marketing director for Coca-Cola Freestyle, shares a few thoughts on how students can change decreasing customer engagement by making brands feel more personalized.
The One-to-One Mindset
People are looking for brands that are unique to their own personal style. They want something that says “this is me.” Research shows that consumers, especially the millennial generation, are increasingly shying away from standardized goods.
“One size doesn’t fit all anymore,” Cuppari says. “This is a one-to-one world – it has to be for me; it has to be personal.”
This is the thought process that led to the creation of Coca-Cola’s recent hit, the Coke Freestyle Machine; an invention that allows consumers to choose between more than 100 flavors of beverages.
When students learn to communicate to the individual, they will be able to take any brand and get consumers on the personalized track of engagement.
The Art of Creation
Do you remember what it was like the first time you created something? Did you feel proud of what you made?
Adidas chief e-commerce officer, Harm Olhmeyer, found that “People aren’t so interested in fit and size, but rather, the design, aesthetic and user-generated content.”
Cupari added to this claim by sharing that the Coke Freestyle enabled customers to not only create mixes, but to actually become creators.
This has revolutionized the industry by changing something from “being made for you,” into something “being made by you.” So basically, when the customers make what they want, engagement and loyalty increase.
If we can learn to harness the art of creation, especially while we are still in college, then what is to stop future employers from turning to us for their next big idea?
The final piece of engagement advice is all about the media; non-traditional that is.
Earned media is the most successful type of media a company receives. One example of this is a quote by an avid Coke Freestyle lover who tweeted:
“Coca-Cola freestyle might actually be the greatest invention on earth!”
Earned media is what companies want. It happens when any non-paid third party posts or gets people talking about your brand or company.
But getting earned media is not easy. It’s a hard thing to do. So how can we get people interested enough to start sharing it with others?
“It has to be emotional or you’re going to forget it,” Cuppari shares. “You need to know how [to] drop in and leave that impression.”
If we want to be successful in creating that emotion, then Cuppari says we need to create messages that are:
(2)simple and clear
These kinds of messages create emotion, and that emotion leaves the deeper impression.
Applying these tips will help students get more on the ball before they graduate. After all, who wouldn’t want to be the company’s go-to consumer specialist coming out of college?
Scott Cuppari is the Global Marketing director for Coca Cola and lead expert in the creation of the Coca Cola freestyle machine.
Hudson McKay is a student at Brigham Young University and currently serves on the PRSSA board as vice president of member services. When he’s not writing online marketing campaigns or blog posts, you can find him climbing up mountains, being with friends, and crunching on as much flavored ice that he can get his hands on.