Meaningful Engagements: The WHAT, HOW, and WHY
What are meaningful engagements?
Some of the synonyms that the dictionary lists for the word “engagement” are “participation, sharing, interaction, involvement, association.” As evolving social beings, we encounter engagements every day in relational, emotional, transactional, or financial levels. Meaningful engagements then can be qualified as connections that lead to sustainable value. Most of us, if not all, desire meaningful engagements, which is why businesses see these as opportunities to create shared value and strategically meet their customer’s needs through their products or services. Meaningful engagements can be defined simply, but can be quite complex to achieve.
How do meaningful engagements happen?
From Attention to Retention
Engagements require catching people’s attention, and then proceeding with the transaction. Meaningful engagements, however, need to move from attention to retention. It is not simply transacting; it is creating shared value in the transaction. In meaningful engagements, getting someone’s attention is the first step while holding that attention long enough to develop value is the key step. In our fast-paced world today, people often settle with quick transactions at the cost of shared value. In order to build a healthy community and business environment, we must strive to move from attention to retention and arrive at meaningful engagements.
When you hear the word “coffee shop,” the brand that first comes to mind is Starbucks. In terms of promotion and innovation, Starbucks is a world-class brand that prioritizes not just their product line, but more importantly, customer experience. In 2019, they partnered with Microsoft to create a more personal connection with their customers. Starbucks executive vice president and chief technology officer says, “everything we do in technology is centered around the customer connection in the store, the human connection, one person, one cup, one neighbourhood at a time.” They do not just want to serve coffee. They want to create shared value with their customers through focused interactions.
Meeting the Need and Fulfilling Desires
Another way to look at meaningful engagement is that it is meeting the need and fulfilling desires. Meeting the need means that you do not simply supply the need, you are relieving pain or providing convenience. Fulfilling desires involves the demonstration of empathy — knowing and recognizing what the other person wants to achieve or feel. It is more about the experience and less about the needed product or service.
Why are meaningful engagements something to be desired?
Ultimately, meaningful engagement is creating valuable experience. It is something that becomes memorable to both parties of the transaction. Putting together the dynamics of moving from attention to retention, the significance of a focused interaction, and the goal of meeting the need and fulfilling desires, we end up with the package of a valuable experience. Be it for individuals or businesses, meaningful engagements help cultivate a pleasurable environment and culture. Let us, therefore, desire not merely quick and pale interactions, but meaningful engagements and valuable experiences.