How to Build Brand Engagement – Part 1

What Is Brand Engagement?

To build a brand successfully, you need to build brand engagement. You need to give consumers a reason to want to take time out of their busy days to engage with your brand. Ultimately, you want them to engage with your brand again and again — and tell their friends and family to engage with your brand, too. That means you have to answer to key questions before you can build your brand: what do consumers want that my brand can deliver which will jump start engagement and how can I motivate consumers to engage with my brand?

build brand engagementIn my new series for the AYTM blog, How to Build Brand Engagement, you’ll learn how to build brand engagement, but first, you need to fully understand what brand engagement is. To clear up confusion around the term “brand engagement,” let’s first take a look at the definition of engage.

According to the Collins English Dictionary, engage means:

  • To involve (a person or his attention) intensely; engross; occupy
  • To draw (somebody) into conversation
  • To take part; participate
  • To promise (to do something)

All of the above definitions of engage can be applied to the concept of brand engagement where your goal is focused on four main areas related to overall brand-building:

  • Perception: Involve consumers and their attention intensely with your brand so it occupies their time and a place in their minds.
  • Communication: Draw consumers into a two-way (or more) conversation related directly or indirectly to your brand.
  • Experience: Motivate consumers to be part of or participate in brand experiences.
  • Promise: Reinforce the brand promise to consumers.

Brand engagement is the process of providing branded communications and experiences that add value to consumers’ lives and foster relationships between brands and consumers. In other words, every consumer touch point with the brand should reaffirm the brand promise and whenever possible, open the doors to establish a long-term relationship that extends beyond a single purchase.

Consumers interact with brands similarly to how they interact with other people. Just as a person is unlikely to engage with a stranger standing next to them who offers no “opening” to strike up a conversation and doesn’t add value to the experience of being in the same place at the same time, they’re unlikely to engage with brands that don’t open the doors to conversation and add value to experiences that provide an opportunity for engagement. In simplest terms, don’t be stand-offish. Instead, welcome conversation but be prepared to do the heavy lifting to get the conversation started and keep it going. If you don’t continually offer interesting content that adds value, your relationships with consumers will be short-lived.

That’s not to say that your sales is destined for failure if your brand engagement efforts are lackluster. However, brands that learn how to engage customers are far better positioned for long-term success. That’s because brand engagement leads to loyalty and word-of-mouth marketing that money can’t buy thanks to the global reach of social media.

Keep in mind, brand engagement doesn’t just apply to consumers and external audiences. Internal brand engagement is equally important for brand building. If your employees don’t believe in your brand and aren’t motivated to engage with it, then why should consumers? Internal brand building and generating employee brand engagement at every level should be ongoing and consistent.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of the How to Build Brand Engagement series to learn specific steps for building brand engagement.

Image: Ivan Prole

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Susan Gunelius
Susan Gunelius, MBA is a 25-year marketing and branding expert and President and CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She is the author of 10 books about marketing, branding and social media, and her marketing-related articles appear on top media websites such as Entrepreneur.com and Forbes.com. She is also the Founder and Editor in Chief of WomenOnBusiness.com, an award-winning blog for business women.