A Case Study in Brand Engagement: CEO

Despite their relatively small size, the brand had evolved to mean different things to different people, and members themselves couldn’t fully articulate the distinct value of the organization beyond naming the beautiful destinations they had visited for CEO events over the years. This made it hard to grow their network, which, in turn, impacted the value of participation for existing members.

Our assignment was twofold: first, to go deep, to understand the most meaningful value of the organization for members, and translate that into a clear and compelling value proposition. Secondly, we needed to surface new ways to engage people with the organization, so they could fully realize all the benefits of being part of this intimate network of executive leaders.

Chatper 1: The Journey
We started by launching a member survey to gather current perceptions of the organization as well as to learn where members spent the most time and energy within the network. With which programming did they most often engage? What were their most valued takeaways from events they attended in person no matter where they took place? Which other organizations did they belong to and how was CEO different?

We continued our learning through deep dive empathy interviews among members. We asked members how they make decisions about how to spend their time? Why do they travel? Could they tell us a story about something on their bucket list—something they’ve already checked off the list or something they were eager to do?

Through our quantitative and qualitative research, we saw some clear patterns emerge. Importantly, we learned travel was frequently a means to more valuable ends—the value members placed in the close-knit size of the membership (despite geographic distances), the depth of the learning experiences with people and places they could only access through this network, and the lifelong friendships that formed as a result of their active participation with the organization. In other words, personal engagement.

Chapter 2: The Breakthrough
This was a key insight—the value members took from CEO was often a reflection of how engaged they themselves were within the organization. We used this insight as the jumping off point for two brand innovation workshops. So, with an eye toward strengthening engagement, we designed workshops to identify and prepare to test 3 new ways to engage new members and engage existing members more deeply.

With a task force of members who had volunteered to conduct the deep dive empathy interviews prior to our workshops, we started with empathy mapping, to create profiles that reflected segments of the target audience. These empathy maps helped workshop participants walk in the shoes and see the world through the eyes of the people we aspired to have join the network. This allowed us to do truly breakthrough brainstorming around the kind of engagement opportunities that would be most relevant and meaningful to them.

Among our favorite ideas were those that engaged current members in getting in touch with newer or prospective members to learn more about them, and serve as unofficial ambassadors for the organization. We hoped this approach would help make those new or not-yet members more inclined to engage. In exploring this idea further, we also realized the very act of serving as an ambassador deepened engagement by the current member.

Chapter 3: The Results
Prioritizing more than 150 ideas co-created in that first workshop, we filtered them by their potential for measurable impact against the resources available to implement. Within a month, we launched 3 pilot programs to test the ideas, and within just 2 weeks of launching the first pilot, an ambassador program, one new member joined the organization as a result. Our second workshop resulted in nearly 100 more ideas and action plans to experiment with another 5 projects this year.

In addition to these results, we crafted a new brand value proposition statement and the team has embraced empathy as a core part of their member engagement strategy. The new board president of the network has declared 2019 The Year of Engagement! And one of the volunteer task force members shared that he found deeper value in the organization for himself through his personal engagement conducting empathy interviews with other members.

By going deep into what was important in the lives of the people CEO hoped to engage, we were able to find new ways for the brand to deliver value for them, thus driving engagement and, ultimately membership value. In other words, we didn't survey or interview them just about their opinions about the brand. We did our best to get to know more about them and what drives and fulfills them. Then we were able to find ways for the organization to add value in their lives.

The Possibility Shop was honored to be a part of the CEO journey. The end of our engagement marked a new beginning and we’re thrilled to know our collaboration catalyzed new thinking, new organizational goals and new programming that continues today.

We’d love to brainstorm breakthrough ways for you to engage your audiences more deeply. Drop us a line any time and we’ll explore the possibilities together.