This Is What Strong Brand Engagement Looks Like
Engagement around a brand is a term that’s used often to define the measured interactions between brands and consumers across digital platforms. Most notably in the marketing space, these activities are tracked with likes, shares, comments, open rates, and retweets.
While brand engagement is must broader than these metrics, it is important to examine how brands successfully navigate today’s digital landscape.
It can appear on the outside, that having brand engagement success is a matter of being in the right place, at the right time, and a healthy portion of luck. And while it can be a bit of those factors, it’s also and most importantly a great deal of preparation and intentionality.
Below are five approaches to creating impactful brand engagement that will seriously make a difference when developing marketing campaigns:
Think with your heart.
Make your brand the enabler, but the customer the hero. In order to hyper-target your consumers to make them the hero, first you must know:
- Who they are
- What they value
- How they make decisions
Many successful campaigns of the past focused on very rational reasons to purchase, such as price, safety, or availability. However, oftentimes explaining facts and figures does not encourage brand consideration for the modern shopper.
Now, brands are moving toward a lifestyle (family, children, pets) approach that triggers consumer emotions like happiness and love — the irrational reasons to purchase. Interwoven in these campaigns are the same rational features, but instead, the features enable consumers to live their lives better.
When a brand embraces more than rational benefits of their products, and they include the heart, consumers have the opportunity to engage with their brain and wallet.
Embrace data-driven storytelling.
As marketers, we understand the power of data. It can tell us who’s buying products, where and when they’re buying them, where they’re seeing advertisements, and influences how much money to spend on the ads — among a myriad of other things.
Data also collects insights like: audience ideals, personalities, quirks and idiosyncrasies, life stages, cultural influences, emotional associations, drive for individualism. These are the key factors that uncover what makes consumers, human — opening the door to data-driven storytelling.
Plan for the unplanned.
In order to build awareness and brand engagement, there must be a strong internal discipline and commitment to prepare and speak with a true brand voice when the opportunity presents itself. Successful brands operate with an always-on mentality and are willing to deliver quickly.
Be boldly transparent.
Whether from online reviews, social media actions, or even focus groups, receiving customer feedback is one of the best ways to understanding what they really think about the brand or product. It is also one of the few direct hits we have to get inside their head — their values, emotions, and expectations of the brand that is driving their engagement.
When the feedback is good, it gives us the chance to turn all of those warm, fuzzy feelings into wonderful stories and campaigns — to celebrate or strengthen our connection with them. When the feedback is negative, it’s time to put in the work and regain trust.
Sounds easy, right?!
For any company, changing a product or brand perception is a huge challenge with many obstacles. But, instead of ignoring criticism or coming out with a different product that claims to be better, successful brands admit to the truth and provide transparency and trust to customers.
“70% of shoppers say that brands who ‘respond quickly to serious product issues’ greatly increase their trust.” — 2017 Brandspark International study
This opens the opportunity to encourage positive engagement.
Champion a cultural movement.
Engagement can evolve when a brand’s campaign recognizes and reflects the cultural climate of the world around it. This type of brand activation requires the focus to be turned toward the consumer to provide an authentic connection.
More than sharing knowledge about their product, successful brands tell full and riveting stories. These brands embrace the “why” and share purposeful stories that align with the values of the consumer. With this, marketing becomes the making of meaning and connections between consumer and the brand. This bolsters the story by identifying that fundamental human truth — the shared truth that provides meaning to the consumer while anchoring the brand.
When brands embrace cultural relevance and emotional connection, it can come with complexity and unpredictability, but can also lead to new ways for consumers to engage with the brand in powerful ways.
Based on these powerful approaches to creating brand engagement, brands must adhere to an insight-driven strategic platform, make their customers feel like the heroes of the story, and advocate for the value of building long-term engagement.
Does your brand possess a customer-first attitude?