Last year, when the University of Auckland started an initiative to publish a book on the changing face of customer engagement, I was extremely excited to be invited as one of contributing authors. The editors were looking for leading academics and business practitioners in this region, so it was an honor to be invited to contribute a chapter.

My previous corporate experience in telecommunications, finance, and utilities helped me realise that traditional marketing methods are just not as effective any more. This is due to increased competition, commoditisation, media fragmentation, and rapid product development cycles. I started testing by using new approaches around focus, alignment, and staff engagement and achieved great results including brand rejuvenation, increased sales, and staff engagement.

Following this, I started my own consulting practice. It’s been nine years since, and over this time, I have had the good fortune of working with clients across 20+ industries and gained knowledge of over 100 brands thanks to our national consumer loyalty and recommendation studies in Australia over seven years that measured over 835,000 consumer responses.

A few key principles became very clear to me from my corporate experience, client engagements, and our loyalty & recommendation studies:

1. What you say (advertising), what you do (customer experiences & value propositions), and who you are (internal culture) should be aligned and designed to drive growth.

2. You cannot have engaged customers if you do not have engaged staff first.

3. The transfer of key emotions from staff to customers is the ultimate secret to drive recommendation and loyalty.

4. Satisfaction is just a hygiene factor- you need experiences and propositions that are worthy of recommendation.

This understanding enabled me to create a proprietary business model called the Total Engagement Model that my company, Engaged Strategy, has successfully applied in several organisations. The invitation to become a contributing author provided an opportunity to share this model with a wider audience.

The model is illustrated below:

Edited by Roderick J. Brodie (Professor, Department of Marketing, University of Auckland, New Zealand), Linda D. Hollebeek (Senior Lecturer, Graduate School of Management, University of Auckland, New Zealand) and Jodie Conduit (Senior Lecturer, Adelaide Business School, University of Adelaide, Australia), the book is now in print and is titled Customer Engagement: Contemporary Issues and Challenges.

The book, possibly one of the first academic books on customer engagement, provides readers with a comprehensive and contemporary perspective of customer engagement through a series of chapters, each authored by pioneers in their area of expertise.

My co-authors, Carissa Roberts, and Associate Professor, Frank Alpert from the University of Queensland, have been immensely helpful and supportive with the writing of my contributing chapter, which begins with first explaining the Total Engagement Model followed by five case studies where this model has been applied successfully. We also made a conscious effort to keep it focused on practical business application rather than leaning towards a theoretical discourse.

While most business models point to case studies on corporate giants like Google, Amazon or Uber, this chapter gives you a more real-world view of how the Total Engagement Model works for Australian businesses. For more details about the Total Engagement Model, you can visit our website.

These are the five case studies that accompany the chapter:

1. Jetts (family-owned fitness chain based on the Sunshine Coast, Australia)

2.Nimble (small, short-term loan provider)

3.PetStock (pet retailer in Australia with over 100 retail stores)

4.Apia (Australia based insurance company for the over 50’s market)

5. TUH (non-for-profit health insurance brand based in Queensland, Australia)

Some common elements that tie all the five case studies together are that each business has spent a substantial amount of time not only creating a clear strategic intent around their brand, customer experience, propositions and culture, but also operationalising these strategic intents into regular disciplines. They also have a high Net Promoter Score (NPS) and some of them have even fully integrated the NPS methodology. Apia, for example, has been the most recommended property insurance provider for five years running and Nimble’s NPS is higher than any other major financial institution in Australia, based on the industry benchmarking study conducted by Engaged Strategy.

If you want to find out more about how the Total Engagement Model can help your company drive success, do get in touch with us here.

The book is available in Kindle and hardcover editions on Amazon here.

Net Promoter, Net Promoter Score & NPS are registered trademarks of Bain & co, Fred Reichheld and Satmetrix.