Emma Watson and the Importance of Consumer Engagement
Last month actress and UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson, 25, announced that she was creating a Feminist book club named Our Shared Shelf on Goodreads. The club, which encourages anyone to join (not just women), advocates the reading of titles regarding the inspirational and thought-provoking stories of women in the world.
The rules for joining the group are simple; read what you can, discuss what you can and refrain from hate speech, gratuitous rudeness, threats, self-promotion, and spam. Watson is planning to read, alongside members, one book per month with the final week of the month being a discussion period.
Now you may think that Emma is a busy woman, with filming and working with UN Women Goodwill and her modelling career, and she may well be. However, since starting up the book challenge page, Emma has written comments and replies to questions and discussion points that members of the group have posted. Providing stimulating and intellectual content for discussion from a well-known and young celebrity has created an engaged and informed community and without much effort. Of course, what can you expect when you’re as famous as Watson is.
Whilst Watson’s involvement isn’t to sell the idea of Feminism to the world she brings forth to the table a conversation for an issue that she advocates for. In this, what Watson is trying to achieve is a consumer-led and business-led engagement, creating awareness for the efforts that UN Women performs as an organisation.
Engaging with consumers can be exceptionally difficult, especially with other responsibilities that seem to take precedence, but it is an incredibly important aspect of business. Entering the Twenty-Tens has changed many perspectives of how businesses should interact with those they are selling or providing a service to; one of these perspectives is not to be seen as a corporation. After all, a company is made up of people. Barring companies that provide exclusivity based on quality and customer service, several organisations (seen quite prominently in tech start-ups) have taken up the ideal where they aren’t seen as a money grabbing entity but rather a community driven one where there once was none.
Here are some tips on how you can create discussions and get people talking about your business:
- Engage with your community – create conversation, ask questions, reply to them. They are no longer faceless people, much like how your business shouldn’t be faceless either. This is the new age of transparency and truth.
- Set specific goals – what are you trying to achieve with your community? Are you trying to get them to sign up for your product/service or get them talking about your brand? Either lead the conversation to where you want it to go or let your consumers do it for – bur remember to engage.
- Initiate and engage and continue to engage! Consumers love a brand that talks to them, it makes them feel seen and heard. Build your consumer’s self-esteem!
- Host weekly Twitter chats with a hashtag to promote your service, whether it be someone in your company who answers questions or about your product/service or fan group!
- Posting videos e.g. Behind-the-scenes, teasers, interviews etc.
- Shouting out to those who follow you or send messages on social media!
- Competitions – creative ones! Give something for free but make it a challenge.
- Consumer engagement happens online AND offline – you have to work to keep customers loyal but remember no one likes being treated like a moneybag!
- Be genuine in your approach. If you love your brand, so will others. Don’t trick or try to convince anyone to like your brand.
- If no one knows you as a brand, how do you expect consumers to engage with you? Build your reputation – Where do your consumers go? Write on forums, reply to comments, give your opinion!
Have content ready – don’t jump into the water without having anything for your audience to respond to. A picture of your product/service, a blog post, video, etc.
By using the social reading platform to create the reading challenge, Emma Watson has not only opened conversation streams but her specific involvement highlights how actively she is taking her role. This creates trust and a likeability factor that consumers can now connect with.
Her Goodreads profile page reads:
As part of my work with UN Women, I have started reading as many books and essays about equality as I can get my hands on. There is so much amazing stuff out there! Funny, inspiring, sad, thought-provoking, empowering! I’ve been discovering so much that, at times, I’ve felt like my head was about to explode… I decided to start a Feminist book club, as I want to share what I’m learning and hear your thoughts too. ~ Emma Watson, 7th January 2016.
One of Watson’s comments:
- Who has their copy?
- Just put my name, where I bought the book and the date in the front of mine!
- I am so excited!
- I’m reading it with a pen in hand so I can do some underlining and margin writing.
- Time to make a cup of peppermint tea! It’s only two weeks until the last week of this month (e.g. discussion time) … Got to get reading!
Of course, Emma does have a large fan base behind her who would follow her anywhere but for a company that is starting out and doesn’t know where to go, Watson presents a good example. Consumer engagement is important if you want your brand to stay real, alive and thriving in this modern world.
Mikkel Svane, CEO and Founder of Zendesk, says:
“The sooner we are able to understand that we are not the [centre] of the universe, and that it is a privilege for us to be in the lives of our customers, the better our company will do.”
Remember to Enjoy, Advocate, Bond, Create Awareness, Expand and Educate, Engage and make what you do into an Action that you love so that others can follow suit.