A brand consultant makes a case for employing an “engagement framework” to attract and retain customers.
“We are settling for a one-way conversation when we could be building more meaningful and more profitable connections,” claims Slavin in this engrossing debut. To meet this challenge, the author believes companies need to reach “the seventh level,” a degree of engagement in which, she says, “your audience’s personal values and beliefs deeply align with yours.” Essentially, this book is about the journey to that highest level. Slavin guides readers through three phases (Attract, Engage, Delight), discussing each of the seven levels in some detail, relying heavily on her own firm’s methodology and client examples. In that sense, the work may be viewed as a bit of a sales pitch. Still, the content is intriguing and applicable to any business. In fact, the author broadens the volume to include employee as well as customer engagement, so it does double duty as both an internal and external motivational guide of sorts. While the core notion of engagement is frequently discussed in marketing books, dividing the concept into levels is an idea that has merit, primarily because it facilitates defining the specific actions required to make progress from one stage to the next. The levels naturally escalate from “disinterest” (Level One) through “self-regulated interest” (Level Five) to “literate thinking” (Level Seven). To keep up the pace, the author uses an unusual technique: She relates each of the seven levels to the relationship ups and downs of the two lead characters in the 1989 movie When Harry Met Sally. Slavin does such a clever job of incorporating the film’s key moments that this gambit creatively humanizes the levels of engagement. Admittedly, some senior executives may find this concept too cute, but it should appeal to a younger, media-oriented audience. Another solid aspect of the volume is the use of a single fictional company as a case study to illustrate how each level operates. The compelling book is clearly written in language appropriate for business managers, and the author’s enthusiasm for the topic is almost palpable.
A fresh, enlightening perspective on customer engagement.