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A Veteran's View of The Engagement Movement in the U.K.

Few people are in a better position to reflect on the state of the engagement movement in Great Britain than John Fisher, Managing Director of the 30-year-old FMI Brand Engagement Agency and author of multiple books on engagement. 

When the Engage for Success movement was launched in Great Britain in 2012 with the support of then Prime Minister David Cameron, it seemed like a breakthrough for the engagement world. Now, almost seven years later, John Fisher believes the movement has stalled because, he believes, “it is viewed as a quasi-government institution and because it has pushed engagement into the human resources silo, when engagement is in fact an enterprise issue.” 
 
FisherFisher is among the early leaders of what the British call “below-the-line” marketing—all the tactical elements organizations use other than advertising to activate key audiences. He has written a half dozen books on all aspects of the engagement field, including Strategic Brand Engagement, Strategic Reward & Recognition, and How to Run Successful Employee Incentive Schemes
 
From Fisher’s perspective, the fundamental problem with the Engage for Success effort is that “There is this notion that companies must increase employee engagement, but that it’s a separate process that’s not really connected to the entire business. I’m coming at it from the holistic approach; it’s about the brand, distribution network, sales staff, customer service and the general staff coming together under a single hymn sheet. If it comes from HR, everyone ignores it. It is about Enterprise Engagement.” 
 
The problem is compounded, he says, by the fact that HR often moves at a different pace cut off from the business plan. “Companies survey employee engagement then set up subgroups to review the results, and maybe in a few months come up with a plan and maybe in 12 months’ time see how it’s going. That’s a dead hand. You can’t get a CEO’s buy-in to improve engagement unless you can improve the bottom line, and 12 months is way too long a haul.” 
 

Engagement Is About the Enterprise

Fisher believes it’s imperative to connect employees to the brand and organization goals. “If you can get the staff engaged with meeting the needs of their colleagues, distributors, consumers, with all sharing the same expectations, you will get more traction.” 
 
FMI, which describes itself as a “Brand Engagement Agency to connect brands with people to drive genuine results,” offers a full suite of one-one-one event, incentive, promotional and digital services mostly to support business-to-consumer clients. 
 
The days of relying on mass advertising are gone, says Fisher. “It’s about going direct and below the line that together make up a strategy. Now the spend money is divided up among 15 different media, social media, to get the message across. Messages are much more unusual, one-off. Marketers must have something new or you’ve lost them. People are always asking ‘what’s in it for me?’”  
 

A Focus on the Channel

Today, Fisher says, “Most of our work is related to distributor and sales engagement. What is the promotion? What is the communication, the audience, the locations? It becomes a lot more than a promotional activity but rather a strategy to engage consumers or buyers with clear results. We measure what is the foot fall (traffic), how many trials for product, what was the increase in sales and how did it boil down to the bottom line.” Fisher says he prefers to work on accounts in which he can demonstrate a clear return-on-investment. 
 
For instance, he says, FMI helped the Chinese cell phone maker Huawei promote a new AI camera (not available in the U.S.), demonstrating how social media could be effectively used to create a “flash mob” to a pop-up boutique in a popular west London mall. The weekend campaign, he explains, engaged about 300 people in a contest to guess the amount of photos that would be taken that day, nearly 100 of whom showed up on the second day to learn the name of the winner. “From the information we gathered,” Fisher says, “We have the analytics we need to determine how to scale this model to achieve specific product sales goals going forward.”
 
Fisher sold his agency but remains with the company. 
 
Contact John Fisher at: 
john.fisher@fmiagency.com
Tel. 44-7980-804868

Master the Principles of Enterprise Engagement to Achieve Organizational Goals and Enhance Your Career
 
  • Profit from a new systematic approach to engagement to enhance your organization’s brand equity; increase sales, productivity, quality, innovation, and safety, and reduce risks.
  • Achieve ISO 10018 Quality People Management Certification to demonstrate your organization’s strategic commitment to people to your customers, employees, distribution partners, vendors, communities, investors, and regulators.
Live Education: The Brand Engagement Conference, June 18-20, 2019, Chicago, in conjunction with the Selling Power Sales 3.0 Conference. Learn a breakthrough, practical approach to enhance performance and stakeholder experiences at Selling Power's Sales 3.0 Conference, "Frictionless Selling," June 18-19, and "Enterprise Engagement in Action," June 20, at the Drake Hotel. Register now

In Print: Enterprise Engagement: The Roadmap 5th Edition
The first and most comprehensive book on Enterprise Engagement and the new ISO 9001 and ISO 10018 quality people management standards. 
 
Online: The Enterprise Engagement Academy at EEA.tmlu.org, providing the only formal training on Enterprise Engagement and the new ISO 9001 and ISO 10018 quality people management standards. Provides preparation for professionals to support organizations seeking ISO 10018 employer or solution provider certification, as well as elective courses on Trade Show Engagement, Rewards and Recognition, Government, and other topics. 
Plus
10-minute short course: click here for a 10-minute introduction to Enterprise Engagement and ISO standards on Coggno.com.
5-minute Audiopedia summary of the Enterprise Engagement field.
 
Services: The International Center for Enterprise Engagement at TheICEE.org, offering: ISO 10018 certification for employers, solution providers, and Enterprise Engagement technology platforms; Human Resources and Human Capital audits for organizations seeking to benchmark their practices and related Advisory services for the hospitality field.
The Engagement Agency at EngagementAgency.net, offering: complete support services for employers, solution providers, and technology firms seeking to profit from formal engagement practices for themselves or their clients, including Brand and Capability audits for solution providers to make sure their products and services are up to date.
C-Suite Advisory Service—Education of boards, investors, and C-suite executives on the economics, framework, and implementation processes of Enterprise Engagement. 
Speakers Bureau—Select the right speaker on any aspect of engagement for your next event.
Mergers and Acquisitions. The Engagement Agency’s Mergers and Acquisition group is aware of multiple companies seeking to purchase firms in the engagement field. Contact Michael Mazer in confidence if your company is potentially for sale at 303-320-3777. 
 
Enterprise Engagement Benchmark Tools: The Enterprise Engagement Alliance offers three tools to help organizations profit from Engagement. Click here to access the tools.
• ROI of Engagement Calculator. Use this tool to determine the potential return-on-investment of an engagement strategy. 
• EE Benchmark Indicator. Confidentially benchmark your organization’s Enterprise Engagement practices against organizations and best practices. 
• Compare Your Company’s Level of Engagement. Quickly compare your organization’s level of engagement to those of others based on the same criteria as the EEA’s Engaged Company Stock Index.
• Gauge Your Personal Level of Engagement. This survey, donated by Horsepower, enables individuals to gauge their own personal levels of engagement.
 
For more information, contact Bruce Bolger at Bolger@TheEEA.org, 914-591-7600, ext. 230.
 
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EGR International Inc.

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