The Case for Pillars, Keystones and Bosses

In order to explain something complex it may help to use an analogy. Therefore, let me tell you about pillars, keystones, and bosses with regards to the Customer Carousel. I promise you, you won’t be able to perceive the ROUNDMAP™ in any other way after I’ve made my case.

First, let me point you of a small section of the Customer Carousel™ which is at the core of the ROUNDMAP™ Framework:


We are going to focus on the blue arch: from Awareness to Consideration, keeping Interest in the middle.

Since I have a background in civil engineering, let’s use an analogy from construction. Our operation needs a building. One of the main operational requirements is that the outer wall has to be really transparent ─ after all, we don’t want to lock ourselves in or keep customers out, instead, we want to invite them to communicate with us through the channels of their choosing.

I believe the following building fits our requirements perfectly:



You’ll probably recognize the Colosseum, also known as the Flavian Amphitheater, in Rome. It is one of the New 7 Wonders and the most popular tourist attraction in the world, with 7.4 million visitors (2018). The Colosseum was constructed between 74 and 80 AD and its structure was so sturdy that is has survived largely for almost two thousand years, despite being battered by earthquakes, lightning, and plundering. With 74 entrances (or passages) the building was definitely ‘open-to-communicate’.

Since the building could house 50.000 people ─ most of which were exposed to the hot Italian sun ─ keeping the outer wall as open as possible was even critical, allowing the wind to cool the theatre. To keep the weight of the wall down, arches were used to bridge between the pillars while each arch was mounted with a keystone in the apex of the arch.


Pillars and Keystones

Ok, now let’s apply this to the ROUNDMAP. By perceiving ‘Awareness’ and ‘Consideration’ as the pillars of the passages through our exterior wall, you can imagine ‘Interest’ being the keystone of the arch that connects the two pillars, creating a perfectly open passage. In a schematic drawing it looks like this:

ROUNDMAP_360_Pillars_Keystones_Bosses_Section_Copyright_Protected_2019The drawing implies that in order to create an ongoing customer journey ─ in which each arch represents one of 8 tension curves ─ we need to ‘positively charge’ our (potential) customers, meaning we have to give them enough reason and motivation to want to carry on to the next passage (stage).

If we fail to do so, the keystone will vanish, causing the arch to come down, and the journey to end.

In other parts of our website the pillars are in fact the Moments of Engagement, the brand initiated touchpoints, while the keystones are the Moments of Reflection™ (MoRe).

Customer Carousel™

Just to give you an idea of how this analogy looks like, given the total of all four customer lifecycle processes:

You may have noticed that 4 pillars are colored while the others are dark-grey. This is because we believe these colored pillars are critical to the objectives of a single department: Awareness is critical to the marketing department, similar to how Confidence is critical to the sales department, Experience to the delivery department, and Significance to the (customer) success department. The black pillars are handover-moments: as they involve (at least) two departments much can go wrong and most often does.

Let me please remind you that I’m no fan of any linear presentation of a lifecycle process; we call it a ‘cycle’ for good reason. Therefore, please bear in mind the circular structure of the Colosseum when you consider this analogy.

Who’s the Boss?

There is a bonus to this. The thing is that keystones were often constructed larger than needed, often richly decorated. These decorations were called a ‘boss‘ ─ how about that!

By adding a human face to the keystone (image above), I’m suggesting that the customer is indeed the boss throughout the whole process. Or as Gordon Selfridges, founder of the Selfridges high-end department store on Oxford Street in London, had taught British retailers: “The customer is always right“.

Final thought

Was I wrong in suggesting that your perception of the ROUNDMAP™ has now changed for good (and hopefully for the better)?

What before might have seemed like a strange pattern of colorful circles and arches is in fact a flattened representation of a Colosseum-like open structure that houses your business operation while positioning your brand at the center of your (potential) customers ─ all ready to communicate with you.

Selfridges opened its doors on March 15th, 1909. The building itself also has ‘bosses’ above its many pillars. Sadly, despite his many contributions to how we’ve experienced shopping ever since, Gordon Selfridges did not die a wealthy man. His book The Romance of Commerce (1918) is still very much worth the read.


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