How to Build Brand Engagement – Part 2

5 Steps to Build Brand Engagement

In Part 1 of the How to Build Brand Engagement series, you learned what brand engagement is. Now, it’s time to learn how to build brand engagement. There is a pattern you can follow to build brand engagement, and following some simple tips, you’ll see increased brand engagement very quickly.

build brand engagementToday, consumers are bombarded with more branded messages on a daily basis than ever before, but they also have more control over which messages they see, hear, and engage with. They can choose which brands to follow via social media. They can opt out of branded email marketing, and they can move from one content and communications source online, on television, on the radio, and so on faster than ever. A click of a button changes the television channel, the radio station, or the web page, and a click of the button can save, delete, or share a branded message in the blink of an eye.

Moving from Monetary, Transactional Exchange to Value Exchange

Brands that learn how to add value through branded content, communications, and experiences will be far better positioned for success than brands that continue to bombard consumers with sales pitches that interrupt rather than enhance their lives. Consumers choose brands to engage with that provide unique added-value. What added value does your brand deliver in every brand interaction and experience?

The underlying currency of brand engagement is a value exchange that extends the brand beyond the traditional monetary, transactional exchange that a brand purchase creates. Therefore, your brand engagement efforts must offer value beyond brand promotion or your simply perpetuating the monetary, transactional exchange, not the value exchange that’s essential to building brand engagement.

Engagement, Emotions, and Experience

engagement emotions experienceSuccessful brand engagement taps into emotions and experiences. At the heart of emotional branding is the personal connection people feel with the brands that add value to their lives. They seek out ways to experience brands that they’re emotionally involved in. They talk about the brands they’re emotionally involved in, and they’re loyal to the brands that they’re emotionally involved in.

Engagement, emotions, and experiences work in a 360-degree circle where one element feeds into the next. As you create brand experiences, make sure they include emotional elements and invite engagement. Similarly, as you create opportunities for brand engagement, make sure there is room for people to experience the brand through that engagement in personal ways that elicit emotions. Together, engagement, emotions, and experiences are a powerful group.

5 Steps to Build Brand Engagement

Once you identify your brand’s value exchange currency, you can follow the five steps below to build brand engagement. All of your marketing tactics should consider these five steps as part of an integrated marketing strategy.

1. Connecting
Create and find ways to connect with current and prospective consumers as well as people who can influence those audiences. The social web offers a perfect place to find them.

2. Communicating
Once you find your audiences, it’s time to start communicating with them. Remember, you’re not selling or promoting your brand to them. Instead, your adding value. And don’t forget to tap into emotions.

3. Engaging
Use your branded communications, content, and promotions to jump start the value exchange that leads to brand awareness, trial, and loyalty by reaching out to your audience and interacting with them. And remember, engagement isn’t a one-way effort. You need to share user-generated content as well. Without two-way conversations and sharing, there is no engagement.

4. Sharing
Make it easy for your audience to share your content. Create communications, content, and promotions that are interesting enough and valuable enough that people want to share them. This will require conducting market research to identify what is valuable to your audience and would motivate them to engage and share.

5. Advocating
Leverage and encourage the publishing of user-generated, brand-related content and the creation of user-developed brand experiences as a catalyst for brand engagement. Acknowledge brand advocates, and give up control of the conversation about your brand so it can grow and extend at the hands of consumers. That’s when brand engagement rises to the highest levels. Just be sure to track your brand reputation so you know when you do need to jump into conversations that are heading in the wrong direction.

Stay tuned for Part 3 of the How to Build Brand Engagement series where you’ll learn more about the market research you should conduct to ensure you’re creating branded content, communications, and experiences that will drive engagement. In the meantime, if you missed Part 1 of the series, follow the preceding link to read it now and learn what brand engagement is.

Images: Ivan Prole, Susan Gunelius

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.