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When we talk or write or read about strategy, you don't need to look far before you see the word "engagement." It is everywhere ... but is it, like so many other buzz words, becoming tired? Has it reached its use by date? Or does it still have legs?

I was pondering this while watching that beautiful Sony Bravia TV commercial featuring the hypnotic music of Jose Gonzalez. But this wasn't on commercial television, but featured on a show about art. The segment wrapped with a quote from Guy Debord -- "The spectator does not feel at home anywhere, because the spectacle is everywhere." Suddenly the bells began to ring in my mind.
In a world where so much of our daily experience is mediated by technology, "engagement" no longer seems to be an end goal, but rather a milestone. "Engagement" does not reach far enough nor adequately convey the restless desire we have to connect -- with brands, with organisations and with each other. Just look at the words we use to describe a website (home page) or an online network (social community) and you will see evidence of this underlying yearning.

Perhaps because the "spectator" cannot rest, a transformation is underway. No longer content in this passive role, consumers are stepping out of their comfort zones into the worlds of social media, co-creation and multi-channel conversation ... and technology is being harnessed as a first and necessary step.
It seems to me that brands who continue to invest in the spectacle will be able to "engage" at least some of the people some of the time. But those brands wanting to delve deeper will need to find ways to transform our experiences -- one heartbeat at a time.
Photo credit: Beagley

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Gavin in VP & Principal Analyst with Constellation Research Group. He possesses extensive international experience in driving measurable outcomes via digital customer experience platforms, digital strategy and executing innovative content driven campaigns. With a background in enterprise technology innovation, digital strategy and customer engagement, Gavin connects the dots between disruptive technologies, enterprise governance and business leaders.

Most recently, Gavin led the customer experience, communication and social media programs for SAP's Premier Customer Network. And over the last 15 years, he has been at the forefront of innovative digital strategies for some of the world's leading companies - from IBM to Fujitsu - and on the agency side, leading the global digital strategy for McDonald's.