by: Lynette Webb

It's Friday afternoon so here's something suitably philosophical. I
think it's always been true to an extent, but is even more so today
given the broader opportunities for interaction, and the shift in
people's attitudes about what is 'normal' to expect.

Image from Flickr CC thanks to carf

The industry is full of talk about "engagement" but what does it really mean? For me, this photo captures the essence of the best engagement examples. The focused attention, the little kick you get from being part of something, the sheer enjoyment of the experience - with the added bonus of creating something from the raw materials you're given that you can share and discuss with your friends. It's very seldom that brands are able to pull this off, but when they do the connection they forge is really powerful. For more on this see: and

My personal favourite example of a brand doing this is Innocent Drinks in the UK with their little knitted hat campaign. For those who may not have come across this, let me explain. Innocent make wonderful (albeit pricey) 100% natural & organic smoothies. For the past few winters, they've run a promotion whereby their drinks in select locations wear hats. Tiny individually hand-knitted hats with a pom-pom on top, each one different. For every drink sold with a hat they make a donation to various charities such as Shelter (keeping homeless people warm). The whole thing is really quirky and the sight of rows of little bottles in the fridge with hats on is quite arresting. To creat the hats, they have knitting groups set up in elderly homes and they encourage people to set up their own knitting parties - at work at lunchtimes, wherever, with instructions for how you make them on the Innocent website. And even if you don't take part in their creation, there's also the aftermath to have fun with... There's a group sprung up here on Flickr (search for Tiny Random Hat Project), it seems every third desk in our office has one lying around (they make jaunty toppers for rulers and such)... And for me, well, a glance at my Flickr icon and you'll see one of the varied uses to which the hats have been put in our household. :-)

(There's another funny story about this too... I emailed the photo to Innocent as it was so cute and they sent me a nice thank you note and some free drinks. Very nice of them I thought, as I wasn't expecting anything. Then about 6 months later one of my colleagues was at a conference where Innocent were presenting and my darling chicken in her hat turned up on a slide! The caption they put to it was "massively trendy in the chicken pen"!! I'm not sure Innocent know that I know about this, but I find it hilarious that my hen is a now a conference superstar. :-) 

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