Engaging Customers and Fueling Advocacy the St. Supery Way


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How do you create engaging customer experiences that:

  • Are so desirable customers will work to participate?
  • Create word of mouth draws in new prospects?
  • Encourage existing customers to evangelize your virtues and draw the less engaged into a deeper relationship with your company?
  • Have a multiplier effect that continues to attract new prospective customers?
  • Give free publicity that further builds your reputation for engaging customers in experiences they find compelling?

You take a lesson from St Sup?ry Winery in Napa Valley California.

This past Saturday I joined 29 other enthusiasts on an early morning photographic adventure. For me, this meant getting up around 5:30 am and driving 50 miles. For one group, it meant traveling about 800 miles from Oregon. By 8 am we were all mingling with anticipation in the winery parking lot.

What motivated us? The opportunity to gain open photographic access to St. Sup?ry’s Dollarhide Ranch vineyards hidden away in Pope Valley. Wineries don’t normally let 30 people wander freely through their precious crops.

Here’s the lure that attracted two passionate groups. St. Sup?ry announced their “Shutterbug” event in their enewsletter and in the local newspaper. Word-of-mouth did the rest as the 30 available slots filled quickly.

The first group was wine enthusiasts who loved St. Sup?ry wines and wanted an opportunity of get behind the scenes. The second were committed wine country photographers who relished the opportunity to add the prestigious Dollarhide Ranch vineyard to their portfolio.

Both groups are invited to exhibit their best photos in the Winery Gallery during the month of December and participate in a wine reception. Each participant is responsible for printing and framing their own work and all signed a waiver allowing St. Sup?ry to make use of their photos without charge.

As an amateur photographer I will be spending many pleasurable hours making sure my photographs measure up to the more professional group. And, I am fantasizing about out-doing them and taking home the first prize of 6 bottles of award winning wine. Of course, all of us will be inviting friends to the reception.

I am not sure if St. Sup?ry planned for the lively interactions that started in the parking lot and continued all morning. Those of us who had a relationship with St. Sup?ry evangelized not only their wine but their other experiential events like the hands-on blending contest held during a wine release party.

I got some great photographic tips and look forward to seeing what the more accomplished photographers do with the same subject. I won’t have to wait until December since the “pros” will be exhibited on websites and in local galleries in a few weeks.

Want to learn more about the art and science of customer engagement? Download my latest paper – Why Customer Engagement Pays Dividends?

John Todor
John I. Todor, Ph.D. is the Managing Partner of the MindShift Innovation, a firm that helps executives confront the volatility and complexity of the marketplace. We engage executives in a process that tackles two critical challenges: envisioning new possibilities for creating and delivering value to customers and, fostering employee engagement in the innovation and alignment of business practices to deliver on the new possibilities. Follow me on Twitter @johntodor


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