Starry Blue Brilliance

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What do Hashtags, Speeches and Intranets Have in Common?

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Answer: Interaction, collaboration and engagement.

Here are some creative ideas to use as “springboards” for launching new communication programs that will encourage interaction, collaboration and engagement with your internal and external audiences:

What are some resources you’ve discovered that transformed your communication programs with interaction, collaboration and engagement?


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Building a Better Blog One Week at a Time


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When I launched Starry Blue Brilliance last September, I promised myself I would continue to learn how to make this blog even better for all of us, week by week. Thanks to your loyal following and sharing of my blog, I stay focused on fulfilling that promise.

Here are three articles that are helping me pursue blogging “brilliance:”

Please share your ideas on topics or people you’d like to see featured. You are my inspiration to continue the masterpiece we’ve collectively created on Starry Blue Brilliance.

“For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream.” – Vincent Van Gogh

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How to Move Brands Faster and Longer in the Social Media Era


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With new social media networks and platforms emerging almost every day, organizations must efficiently engage customers while delivering a cohesive experience that drives customer loyalty. During the Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit earlier this month, Nestor Portillo, Director, Social Communities and Customer Experience at Microsoft, shared why customer experience is key to make the content viral and engaging.

Customers in the social media era are in control and are setting companies’ agendas. They:

  • Trust in advice made by online acquaintances and strangers
  • Read and create product reviews, product rankings and blog posts
  • Want to provide feedback about the product, brand and the service
  • Seek support to connect with like-minded peers

To move brands faster and longer in the social media era, Nestor contends that organizations must provide a consistent experience across all social media platforms. It should be successful, effortless and quick.

Most importantly, organizations must have a game plan that supports the customer journey by:

  • Considering the different ways people learn
  • Pivoting on experience and products
  • Delivering an emotional hook

This game plan must also include a community that:

  • Is healthy and is not intimidating
  • Provides a framework for user-generated content and word-of-mouth triggers
  • Adds authenticity to help establish brand trust

Following this model will lead your customers to buy more, use more, consume more and tell and share more.

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Together We Can Succeed on Pinterest


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Following up on last week’s “Show Me the Story” post about the power of visual storytelling, I’m creating a Pinterest site to complement our work on Starry Blue Brilliance.

I would love to hear how you use Pinterest to tell your organization’s story. I’m just starting out with Pinterest, and I would value your ideas and best practices to incorporate on my site.

I found these great articles to help me get started:

Together we can help each other succeed. After all, this is why I created Starry Blue Brilliance – with your help, as always.

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Innovating a Roadmap for Customer Experience


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“There are no traffic jams along the extra mile.” – Roger Staubach, former star NFL quarterback

Organizations that focus on improving the customer experience will strengthen their customer relationships and their overall business performance. Len Ferman knows this first-hand. Len is Managing Director of Ferman Innovation, specializing in generating and evaluating ideas to improve the customer experience.

Len is also
a world juggling champion. During the Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit (TCEL) earlier this month, he reinforced the three principles of new product innovation through his unique presentation. TCEL attendees learned how to juggle scarves while learning how to solve their customer experience challenges using this proven process:

 Steps to Innovating for the Customer Experience:
  1. Explore: Understand the customer journey. Identify the customer pain points and challenges. Identify themes for brainstorming.
  2. Ideate: Brainstorm with a diverse group to generate a high quantity of possible solutions. Enable all employees to contribute ideas.
  3. Evaluate: Evaluate, cultivate and prioritize the top ideas for implementation


Learning to juggle not only helped TCEL attendees improve their ability to multi-task, increase eye-hand coordination, sharpen their brains and impress their friends, but also provided these valuable insights related to the 3 Steps:


  • Break down complex processes into elementary steps
  • Learn how to use the tools that are at your disposal
  • Recognize the patterns and categories in your data
  • Identify your customers’ key problems
  • Strive for accuracy in basic tasks
  • Create intentional “wow” experiences
  • Defer judgment – no idea is a bad idea
  • Include all parts of your organization in idea generation
  • Stray out of your comfort zone to generate ideas
  • Balance different methods of brainstorming
  • Go for quantity when generating ideas
  • Great ideas are the result of collaboration and building on others’ ideas
  • Filter out extraneous information and out of scope ideas
  • Evaluate each idea using carefully designed criteria
  • Include subject matter experts and customers in the evaluation
  • Cultivate ideas until they resonate with customers
  • Prioritize your actions to ensure you reach the goal
  • Optimal solutions are the ones that match your core competencies

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How to Build an Experience Management Core Competency


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People will forget what you said. They will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou, American author and poet

Are you building a true experience management core competency within your organization? According to Lou Carbone, Founder & Chief Experience Officer, Experience Engineering Inc., and author of Clued In: How to Keep Customers Coming Back Again and Again, there is “a whole lot of discussion . . . without a lot of deep understanding.”

Embracing experience management is a cultural adoption – it’s not about improving legacy business frameworks, tools or models. Many organizations focus on process improvement instead of on creating true experience management systems or fully leveraging the opportunity to transform the value they create for customers, employees and other stakeholders.

According to Lou, to create a true experience management core competency within your organization, you must focus on these five absolutes of experience management:

  • Move from “make and sell” to “sense and respond:” Change your organization-driven perspective to an experience-driven perspective (customer-oriented). Sense what customers don’t even know and build on those responses.
  • Think customer back (emotional/rational bond): Focus on the customer perspective first. Be a “firm of endearment,” a company that if it went away tomorrow, customers would mourn the loss. Examples include Apple, Starbucks, Amazon, Costco, and Google.
  • Understand and leverage role of the unconscious mind: Focus on “how” customers think instead of on “what” customers think. Understand and act upon the premise that “the tangible attributes of a product or service have far less influence on consumer preference than the sub-conscious sensory and emotional elements derived from the total experience.” – Dr. Gerald Zaltman, Professor Emeritus, Harvard Business School, Laboratory of the Consumer Mind
  • Become clue conscious: Clue in to how people feel and think as they have the experience, which also includes what they see, hear, smell and taste.
  • Develop rigorous systems to develop and manage clues: Design your systems around how functional (functionality of good or service), mechanic (sights, smells, textures, sounds) and humanic (choice of words, tone of voice, body language) clues are coming together to create the desired effect. Focus on the moments that matter within customers’ perception, interaction and recollection of experiences.

Managing your customers’ experiences and emotions is what helps you create the emotional connection you need to keep customers coming back again and again.

How do you create an emotional connection with your customers?

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Show Me the Story


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Great stories are seen, not just heard, as they evoke emotion and incite action. To learn more about engaging your audiences on a personal level, check out “Create Your Organization’s Face with Visual Storytelling.”

In addition, these resources will show (and not just tell) you why storytelling is important to your organization’s success.

How are you using visuals to tell your organization’s story?

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Customer-Centric Culture: Why it Matters and How to Measure it

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“A great customer experience can only be delivered by someone who wants to give it.” – Ian Luxford, Learning Services Director, Grass Roots

During last week’s Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit, Bill Barnes, Senior Vice President, Client Services and Jaci Jarrett Masztal, Ph.D, Vice President, Practice Leader from Burke Inc., presented “Customer-Centric Culture: Why it Matters and How to Measure it.” Bill and Jaci contend that the employee engagement process and the customer experience process, which are usually separate management processes in many organizations, be brought together to improve organizational performance.

The premise of this approach is that a high level of employee engagement is critical to creating and enhancing positive customer experiences leading to customer engagement. To improve employee engagement, organizations should focus on ways to:

  • Improve job performance
  • Provide more job growth opportunities
  • Enhance Talent Management
  • Better serve various internal stakeholder needs
  • Improve commitment and retention
  • Enhance customer service

A customer-centric culture that actively focuses on what is best for the customer is a critical factor in improving organizational performance. Customer centricity is a part of all organizational aspects including leadership, strategy, decision-making, operations and in ongoing job functions. It’s also important to remember that culture is:

  • Broader – it’s more than an initiative
  • Cross-functional, enterprise-wide
  • Long-term strategy
  • Motivation, focus, behavior
  • Multi-dimensional

A challenge for most organizations is determining how measure a customer-centric culture. Measurement allows a true gap analysis and a baseline to track change and assess impact. At Burke, Bill and Jaci help their clients to measure their culture with The Customer Centricity Index, which measures across these six important dimensions:

  • Leadership & Strategy
  • Messaging & Modeling
  • Employee Understanding & Commitment
  • Product & Service
  • Excellence Support & Tools
  • Recognition & Appreciation

Leadership drives the strategy and culture which sets the foundation for Who, What, and How, all of which drive and support customer engagement and business success. Employees believe the products and services are worthy and are equipped to deliver. Employees are recognized and rewarded for the customer-centric behaviors reinforced and repeated. Full customer centricity is achieved when the organization has a collective mindset of doing what needs to be done to the benefit of the customer.

Does your organization have a customer-centric culture? How do you measure it?

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Creating an Effective Customer Story Starts with Empathy


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I thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit (TCEL) last week! I met some great people and learned more about creating an effective customer story.

Here are some key nuggets of information to help your organization transform the value they create for customers, employees and other key stakeholders by understanding your audiences’ key emotional drivers:

Stay tuned for additional TCEL highlights this month. Thank you for continuing to follow these updates and sharing your experiences and ideas!

What are some good conferences you’ve attended recently?

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Create Authentic Brand Identities Through Storytelling


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I believe in the power of storytelling and you should too. Why?

There are many examples of how great storytelling evokes emotion, which causes your customers to take action. Here are just a few that I’ve written about recently:

Ready to learn more? Here are some key resources to help you get started:

If creating authentic brand identities through storytelling sounds intriguing to you, be sure to join Daryl Travis, CEO for Brandtrust, at the Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit this week in Miami, Florida as he presents “Using Emotional Energy to Make Your Customer Experience Programs Easier, Faster and Smarter.”

There’s still time to register! Go to for details.

Stay connected with TCEL:

  • #TCEL14
  • Customer Experience Leaders

How does your organization create an authentic brand identity?