Increasing customer engagement through the power of participation


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To stand out in today’s competitive marketplace, brands need to go beyond just offering a high-quality product or service. To truly connect with your customers, you need to create an emotional bond that goes deeper, and utilizing a customer journey orchestration approach can be incredibly effective here.

One crucial aspect of creating devoted customers is participation. At its core, participation is about creating a sense of ownership and belonging with your customers. When your customers feel like they are an active part of your brand’s story and mission, they are more likely to form an emotional connection that drives long-term loyalty and advocacy.

In this article, we’ll explore the power of participation in customer journey orchestration, and some key psychological principles that can help you drive participation with your customers:

Social Identity Theory

Harnessing the inherent human inclination to seek connection and affiliation, businesses can tap into the potent concept of social identity theory to foster a profound sense of community and belonging among their customers. By leveraging this principle, companies can forge deeper relationships, heighten customer engagement, and ultimately drive business growth.

Imagine a scenario where a popular e-commerce platform implements customer forums as a means to cultivate a thriving community. These forums serve as virtual spaces for like-minded individuals to come together, exchange ideas, and share their experiences related to the brand’s products or services. Through active participation and meaningful interactions, customers not only establish a sense of belonging but also develop a collective identity centered around their affiliation with the brand.

In addition to customer forums, social media groups can also serve as powerful tools in fostering a robust sense of community. By creating dedicated groups on platforms like Facebook or LinkedIn, businesses provide customers with an exclusive space to connect, engage, and find support within a community of individuals who share common interests or experiences related to the brand. These groups act as virtual hubs, enabling the exchange of knowledge, the sharing of feedback, and the formation of valuable connections between customers and the brand itself.

Ownership and Control

One effective way to boost customer engagement is by offering them a sense of ownership and control. When individuals feel they have ownership over a product or service, they are more likely to actively engage with it. By leveraging this principle, businesses can provide customization options that allow customers to personalize their experiences with the brand.

For instance, imagine a clothing store that offers online customizations. Customers have the opportunity to choose the fabric, color, and style of their desired apparel. Additionally, they can add personalized embroidery or monograms to make the item uniquely theirs. By giving customers the ability to customize their clothing, the store not only enhances their sense of control but also creates a deeper connection with the brand.

This approach goes beyond offering a standard product or service—it empowers customers to create something tailored to their preferences. By incorporating customization options, businesses can not only foster customer engagement but also build long-lasting relationships based on shared ownership and personalization.

Emotional Investment

People are more likely to participate in something that they have an emotional investment in. Use this principle to create a sense of purpose and meaning with your customers, such as through storytelling or shared values, where companies can craft narratives that resonate with their target audience, evoking emotions and connecting on a deeper level.

For instance, imagine a clothing brand that aims to promote sustainability and environmental consciousness. Instead of simply advertising their products, they could tell a story about the journey of their garments – their materials sourced from ethical suppliers, their production process with minimal ecological impact, and the positive social and environmental outcomes of supporting their brand. This narrative would not only showcase the brand’s values but also inspire customers to become part of a larger movement.

Another way to create emotional investment is by highlighting shared values with customers. Companies can align their messaging and actions with causes or beliefs that their target audience cares deeply about. For example, a tech company that values inclusivity and diversity may organize events or initiatives that support underrepresented communities. By doing so, they foster a sense of purpose and demonstrate their commitment to making a positive impact beyond just their products or services.

Participation is a powerful tool for building lasting connections with your customers. By using social identity theory, ownership and control, and emotional investment, you can create customized experiences that engage and invite customers to participate in the brand’s story. Remember that participation is not a one-time event, but rather an ongoing process that requires continuous effort and attention to detail. By prioritizing participation in your customer journey orchestration, you can create a loyal customer base that will drive growth for years to come.

Greg Kihlstrom
Greg Kihlström is a best-selling author, speaker, and entrepreneur, and serves as an advisor and consultant to top companies on marketing technology, marketing operations, customer experience, and digital transformation initiatives. He has worked with some of the world’s top brands, including Adidas, Coca-Cola, FedEx, HP, Marriott, Nationwide, Victoria’s Secret, and Toyota.


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