Ashton Media
Marketing & Customer Experience Hub

Storytelling, Customer Engagement & Loyalty


Actionable Insights from Customer 360 Symposium

After spending a few days in the Hunter Valley at the Customer 360 Symposium 2015 and engaging with influential executives on the subjects that they are passionate about, I realised that this is how all conferences should feel.

It was a fantastic mix of laid-back open conversation, passionate energy and fun. It’s held annually with leading senior industry executives with a content focus on the customer, their input and how they perceive the business.

Utilise Customer Intelligence to Activate Competitive Advantage

The message from international and local keynotes – NET-A-PORTER, Emirates, Storyminers, NIB, Target and The Co-Op – was clear. All emphasised the fact that your customer has to be at the heart of your business, if not you risk their immediate business, and also their ongoing loyalty.

Craig Lee from global airline giant Emirates focused on mapping out the customer journey and ensuring that every touch point was another chance to delight the customer. I was chatting with Adam Jacobs from the The Iconic – a major player in Australian e-commerce – and they are looking to keep up the speed of their growth by aligning core advantages with customer opinions of the brand.

The customer era that we have entered is real and if businesses don’t take this rapidly changing landscape seriously, they will lose out on activating a very strong competitive advantage – their customers’ intelligence.

Storytelling THE Vital skill to have in your toolkit

Aside from customer-centricity, the use of storytelling was another recurring theme at Customer 360. This is not only a topic that I believe will dominate conferences, but I feel that companies are increasingly adopting a “storytelling mentality” across all areas of business.

What do I mean by a storytelling mentality?

It’s using stories to breakdown complex information and problems so that they can easily understood by all everyone involved.

Whether storytelling is used to explain data and its actionable intelligence to internal stakeholders, as a brief to a customer, or a strategy to your executive team, it is being seen as a vital skill to have in your toolkit. Mike Wittenstein from Storyminers kicked off the conference discussing how customer experience design can create a story, yet another use of storytelling, which was repeated in discussions throughout the event.


Connecting The External Brand With Customers Is A Serious Value Add

Many of the conference attendees were on the customer side, which provided an excellent opportunity to see how these topics can impact a variety of industries. Although the customer was the clear focus of many conversations, there also seems to be a line drawn to define what their customer insight is going to support – whether it be for external or internal parties.

While many organisations have insight functions developed to hear the customer to support their internal departments – for marketing measurement, product feedback, strategic plans, etc – they have not realised the potential there is in supporting external parties with insight. These external parties can be heavily invested in the business (and its customers).

By providing them feedback on their sponsorship, advertisement, retailing strategy or joint venture, they are connecting the external brand with customers which is a serious value add. Providing a partner direct access to engage with your customers not only is a benefit to them, but also shows your confidence in the relationship itself. This will be the next step for businesses to have their engaged customer base be their competitive advantage.

Business Success is Engaging your Customer Base in this New Environment

The key for businesses to succeed looks to now be a balancing act between these topics – how do you best involve customers in the creation of your businesses’ story in order to drive increased brand loyalty and customer trust – and ultimately the maximum monetisation of your corporate assets.

Those that are able to find the answer to these questions for their business will be the winners in this new environment.

Dan Fergusson - Director of Business Development, Vision Critical About Dan Fergusson - Director of Business Development, Vision Critical
Dan Fergusson has been in the research technology industry for almost 4 years, driving client development for Insight Communities, VC Surveys & Discussions and most recently leading efforts for Sports Fan Councils. With a solid background in the media and entertainment space, Dan has experience consulting publishing giants, broadcasters, sports leagues and venues on how to monetize their advertising research and connect with the audience to improve marketing strategies. In Australia he is responsible for the aforementioned industries in addition to consulting Public Affairs, Consumer Goods and Health organisations with their stakeholders. Dan has an Honors Bachelor of Commerce specialized in Strategic Marketing from McMaster University, a Professional Certificate in Strategic Marketing Management from the Schulich School of Business at York University and is currently pursuing his Certified Market Research Professional Designation from the University of Georgia and MRIA.