This week I read a great story about Marin Alsop, the first female conductor of a major US symphony orchestra. The article is about Alsop and her accomplishments, but more importantly, it’s about her sincere desire to make music accessible. You can tell she wants to change “the way things are done” in her industry.

I bring this up because customer engagement and loyalty can be built around innovative approaches to industries that have been around a long time. When you capture a customer’s interest or imagination you can really get them to “stick” with your business.

How is Marin Alsop changing the way things are done? She is…

making symphony halls feel welcoming;
creating a sense of community;
working to provide a feeling of connection and relevance to the community;
broadcasting concerts live on XM Satellite Radio;
making podcasts of rehearsals available on iTunes; and
making video webcasts that explain and supplement the music in each concert.

What is the result? According to the article…

“Here in Baltimore, where the well-respected orchestra spent years mired in debt, playing to half-empty houses, Alsop’s arrival (though at first controversial) has sparked excitement and a resurgence. New subscriber sales are up 400 percent, aided by a $1 million corporate gift, which cut ticket prices to $25. Enthusiastic audiences have greeted her preview concerts with the kind of lusty cheering once reserved for hometown heroes like the Orioles’ Cal Ripken Jr.”

Now do you believe that innovative approaches can grow business and increase customer engagement?

You can come up with ideas that are innovative for your industry–and they don’t have to be this dramatic or extensive to make a difference–but that wouldn’t hurt either.