Brand engagement is the commitment and attachment between customers and brands. Today’s consumer seeks greater social connection and relationship with the brands they consume.
Greater engagement means effectively creating a fan base through your brand’s marketing. A fan is not only likely to buy more but also encourage others to become. A fan is likely also to be an advocate.
For many years I went to Mount Panorama every year to attend Australia’s biggest motorsport event. Most of the race teams represented either the GM Holden (Red) or Ford (Blue) brands. This event is an excellent example of how engagement works in marketing. The mountain is packed with 70,000 screaming fans, and every one of those fans has incredible engagement with one of these brands. The car brands spend millions on sponsorship of twenty-five teams; they develop new advertising campaigns every year and run them every 10 minutes, all in a bid to cultivate that engagement.
90% of the fans will be happy to buy clothing that advertises the brand and talk about the features to anyone willing to listen even though they are not in the market; they will contribute to the brand engagement. The 10% who make a purchase will be influenced by how the others feel about the brand; nobody wants to drop 40 Grand on a product their peers think is redundant. All these factors contribute to the brand appeal, perceived value and status.
These things encourage greater brand engagement, and your website and social media accounts are the best places to cultivate this engagement.
To achieve greater engagement, marketers need to shift their focus from mere revenue creation to value creation, community building, and a fan base—greater engagement results in end-to-end customer satisfaction and advocacy.
What greater brand engagement looks like?
You create an unpaid sales force.
Highly-engaged fans buy more and speak more about your brand and products in their circle of friends; they become valuable salespeople for your brand. Therefore, you should find ways to resource and equip them. Provide the tools they need to increase engagement for your brand.
Who are they?
If you are a bathroom and plumbing supplier, these people are the tradies, the builders and the DIYers.
- Use online tools to educate them, so they have the knowledge and confidence to recommend you.
- Provide tools to connect or engage others. That could be videos and graphics for their websites and social media channels.
If you sell car care products like carwash, waxes and polishes, these people are your resellers and Bodyshop guys, but they are also that one guy in every wolfpack that washes and waxes his car every Saturday morning. He’s the guy all his mates and neighbours go to to ask for advice about car stuff.
- What can you do to connect that guy more with your brand?
- What can you create that makes it easier to include your brand in his story?
All sorts of customers and fans of your business are happy to advocate for you. These are your business “influence partners,” equip them, resource them and reward them for growing your fan base.
If you have highly motivated customers and fans who are more than happy you recommend your brand and tell your story, equip them with incredible tools to help them in their efforts.
Inside knowledge – they become experts in your field, recommending your products and services. Newsletters, insider groups, webinars and workshops all help to strengthen your connection with your influence partners.
Shareables – are pieces of digital media that your fanbase can share to connect others with your brand. Entertaining or helpful videos, tips and how two’s that your customers and fans find valuable tools to their reputation and success. They will want to share these things with their audience because it increases their influence. You make them look good; they make you look good. Please read my article on how shareable content works here.
Sales Tools make it easy for them to sign up their friends, take an order or sign a friend up to your offer or newsletter. So what would make them do it now, in the gym car-park or over a coffee at the local cafe? Your fans are keen to help their friends connect to your brand or product and help them to close the deal while it’s hot. Apps and websites can give them credit or commissions for closing the sale. Imagine that! The potential for every passionate customer to become a point of purchase for you.
Rewarding your influencers with discounts, kickbacks, status, and exposure helps to motivate your influencers, builds trust and grows your audience.
Word of mouth is always good for your business, but what makes a customer speak up about your brand? Sure they may have had a good experience, and they keep coming back, but getting them to talk about you to others may take a little bit extra.
Here are just a few ideas on some of the incentives we have provided:
You talk about them. Everyone wants to share something when it’s about them. Post an article or a video about how good they are at implementing your products or services. They get free advertising collateral, and you get promoted through their channels.
Provide POS incentives. We have created apps for businesses where followers or fans can take orders for their friends and get discounts.
“Sign up a friend” incentives. I have created campaigns for gym memberships where everyone who signs up a friend for 12 months gets a free month’s gym membership. One member has not paid his membership fees for 18 months. If you are an intelligent gym owner, you want to help a guy like this grow his online influence. The more reach he has, the more signups you get.
Need some ideas on how to create more engagement with your brand?
I have walked hundreds of brands through identifying their brand engagement potential. I would love to discuss what would work for your brand. Hit me up for a free 45-minute consultation, and we can work out the best plan for you.
Have some ideas but am not sure how to implement them.
I am more than just an ideas man. I can build the tools, create the channels and walk you through the steps you need for ongoing brand engagement. In many cases, I help businesses get off the ground with their brand engagement strategies and then sit back and monitor their progress; it’s never about locking clients into dependent contracts.