Forget the hokey pokey — brand engagement really is what it’s all about!

Putting your product or brand attributes on the back burner for a minute and tuning into what people actually want, think, and feel — their behaviors, their emotions, their needs — is akin to playing the long game.

While the term ‘engagement’ gets tossed around a lot, it can be defined in a variety of ways depending on the context of the conversation.

In retail terms, engagement can mean any buying-related action between a consumer and a brand. This could include:

  • Product research
  • Coupon hunting
  • Posting reviews
  • Loyalty programs

All of the above, in one way or another, can be tied back to quantifiable sales numbers, which makes them really valuable to marketers — both on the agency and brand side of things.

WATCH: Why Brand Engagement Isn’t All About Your Brand 

In social terms, engagement is used differently; fore it describes micro-actions that a consumer might take with the brand or product on social media. Whether the consumer ‘likes’ a post, shares a piece of content, comments, clicks through to the website — in this context, engagement is related to impressions.

In brand terms, engagement is not defined by a specific channel like social, or a specific touch point or customer journey, like in the retail scenario. Rather, engagement here is about the sum-total of the experience that a person has with ALL of those different touch points.

The way our Anthem team in Atlanta defines brand engagement is: The process of forming an emotional or rational attachment between a consumer and a brand.

Brand_Engagement

Ultimately, it’s all about connecting with the consumer in a way to drive them to like, talk about, or buy into your brand and your product.

While brand engagement definitely does play a role in purchase intent — and there are some calculations that can correlate brand engagement to revenue — driving sales is not the sole objective of brand engagement.

Connection is.

As a consumer, think about why you feel connected to a particular brand over others. Why do you follow them? Advocate for them? Stay loyal to them? Buy from them?

Perhaps they share your values or beliefs. They include you in the conversation. They enhance your experiences. They make you feel something. They motivate or inspire you. They connect you with other like-minded people.

Every single successful brand engagement, agnostic of channel, is built around YOU. As the consumer, the audience, the human. Not just around the brand’s priorities or product attributes — not what the brand wants to say, but what consumers want to hear and feel from the brand.

And it works.

When consumer engagement scores more from low to high, 21 percent more people shop their favorite brands most or all of the time. So, our job as marketers is to understand the principles of — and keep driving toward — greater brand engagement.