What I learnt about engagement from my 5 year old son

I´m a father of two 5 and 3 year old children. Last week, the eldest wanted to play football in the living room and, after a hard negotiation, we ended up playing Lego. Lego bricks were the ideal gift for his 5th birthday, only a few months ago, but now they are almost forgotten. Why doesn’t he love Lego anymore?

I´m working in a model on interdependencies in the digital engagement process. As part of my research, I read a case study about Argos digital strategy. Argos is one of the major retailer in UK and it’s shifting its business from catalogue-based to user-centric customer experience to compete with Amazon in UK, and they are doing it very well. Reading this study I wondered about my son’s engagement with Lego.

legoLego building blocks are fun, challenging and cool, and we usually play together and build space ships, cars, superheroes… We always have fun. Why, having this pleasant and enjoyable experience, isn´t he more engaged with Lego? Because he is evolving very quickly, as customers do. Due to the Internet and Social Media we’ve changed the way we communicate and relate with each other. This exposition to a highly connected environment provokes a constant evolution in our tastes and behaviours. Brands are forced to get the sense of it order to maintain and, hopefully, increase their customers and revenue stream. So how does anyone improve the customer engagement in this complex, ambiguous, and volatile environment? In my opinion, evolving with them, being part of their day to day basics and providing them with real value in their lives beyond trends, design or cool labels.

I have a strategy with my sons that is currently working. I’ve learnt nursery rhymes, I’ve read their books, I play with Play-Doh, Lego and superheroes, I play football, races and hide and seek, we make castles in the couch and roll over in the carpet. Now I can find out how they feel by looking into their eyes and forestall complicated situations.  I´m evolving with him.

Life is very intense and exciting when you are a 5 year old child, everything changes in a couple of months. How might I maintain his attention? How might I get him to play with his brother instead of alone? How might I get him to read after school? These are the same challenges that Argos faces in its digital strategy: to get the customer’s attention, to drive customers to choose Argos instead of a competitor, and to increase the frequency of purchase. How might Argos to keep its customer’s engagement?

In my opinion, it is not about improving your customers’ engagement with your brand, company products or services, but to improve your own engagement with your customers, to evolve with them. How much you know about them, how you take care of them, how you anticipate what they need before they need it. I think that, if you are committed with your customers in that way, they will embrace you and your brand and you will become a really important part of their lives.

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