After a staggering 35 year absence, the enigmatic Kate Bush returned to the stage at Hammersmith Apollo this week much to the delight of her adoring fans, not to mention an impressive list of rock stars and celebrities. Media coverage and reviews have been positively glowing with heartfelt tributes from those who have missed her presence.

Kate’s desire for her performances to be without the sea of phones, cameras and tablets to ensure she could have "contact" with her audience was also strictly adhered to, with a pre-show announcement requesting everyone turn off their mobiles, and security guards patrolling throughout the performance.

In an age where many of us (particularly digital natives) regularly share live experiences real-time, this request must have seemed somewhat bizarre. And yet the outcome has been a resounding success, with fans describing an intimate connection with the music – “When she was doing The Ninth Wave, you felt the cold of the water, you could see it, you could hear it.”  See article here

Today’s 24/7, always on society poses challenge and opportunity in equal measure to organisations who are seeking the attention of time poor gadget rich consumers, and the need for creative engagement has never been greater. Kate Bush is known for her amazing vocals and has earned the right to capture her audience on her terms. In other words we know exactly what her brand stands for. 

If we each imagine our customer base as a live audience then how can we ensure that they become connected in a way which grabs and retains their attention?  The temptation to focus on delivery channels rather than substance is a risk in our quest to be always on, and the threat is a dilution of response rather than an improved engagement.  How can we avoid adding more channels which become no more than empty vessels? Having every conceivable communication channel from voice to Twitter may be desirable, but will be futile if customers are being badly handled and there is no reliable process in place to record and respond effectively to customer feedback. 

For organisations where customers have little choice as to whether or not to interact, the emphasis must surely be on effective response and ‘being easy to do business with’.  As boards revisit strategy in a digital age, more consideration should be focussed on what they would like to become known for in terms of customer expectations.  Wowing an audience may be as simple as ensuring that every customer issue is owned, if not solved, at the first point of contact each and every time. Gaining a reputation for being fair and keeping promises will soon gather momentum and consumers will soon be singing praises; and hopefully stay with you for an encore. 

In the words of another music legend Bruce Springsteen, “Getting an audience is hard. Sustaining an audience is hard. It demands a consistency of thought, of purpose, and of action over a long period of time.” Source