Rules of Engagement

rules of engagement

In the age of social media-dominated communication and general information overload, developing client engagement based on core values derived from our analogue world and applying them to a digital, 24/7 interconnected reality is more than a trend. It is indeed a challenge.

No matter the means of communication, platform or channel, engaging with other people remains one of today’s main challenges – maintaining trust, security and not least value of information in the interaction is essential.

What are some of the prerequisites for engagement?

Trust

Who are we to trust?

In a recent article on Rainmakerfiles we highlighted “ethos” as a fundamental factor in relevant communication. Some would argue that it goes without saying. But the paradox is that it seems to be an issue that grows in importance proportionate to the amount of information made available to us. In other words, we crave trusted advisors and real opinion makers to guide us in a world where “search results” to our questions are either presented to us “unweighted” or SEO manipulated.

Security

Can any information delivered digitally be absolutely secure and untapped?

“Is a source reliable?” means so much more in our digital world. Originally, a primary source was considered reliable, hence the expression “primary”. The digital world is changing that perspective. For instance, if you play an online game, do you then know if you are communicating with a human or a computer? And, if you take your bank’s financial advice, can you be certain that this advice is actually from your banker and not from a software application manipulated to give results and offer advice not necessarily in your favour? Simply put, how often do you hesitate to click to open a link you have received?

Value

What is valuable customer engagement to you – and to your target audience?

Your answer may have cultural and business ethics aspects. However, if we assume the piece of information you exchange can be trusted and is safe, the remaining element to the equation of assessing the value of information comes down to the question of usefulness.

Consider for a moment how blog posts are often drafted on the same template, e.g. “5 easy steps to…”, ”These 7 products…”, ”Consider these 9 steps when you….” The trick here is that the blogger (or journalist) claims or hopes that the article or blog post’s content is useful and therefore also valuable.

A Twitter stream is an example of a constant flow of bits of information, where every Tweet is produced because the Twitter considers it to be “useful to know”. The information, however, is not necessarily valuable to you.

In summary, to properly engage with your target audience, you must first know your audience and ask yourself what value and relevance you bring to the table.

Image credit: Shanzhen Airport by Robert Lio

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