Q&A: 5 Killer Tips for Better Brand Engagement

Darren_Drewitz_smallIn this article, MindEcology co-founder and chief strategist Darren Drewitz offers 5 tips for smart businesses who want better brand engagement:

So tell us, Darren, what is brand engagement anyway?

“Brand engagement is a $10 marketing term that describes the level of attachment that your audience members/customers have for your brand or business.

Let’s say that you’re shopping at a grocery store and one of the items you need is paper towels. A lot of paper towels are on sale, but you’re pretty much set on buying Bounty, because you have for years, or that’s what your mom always bought, or you just like the way Bounty paper towels work, or for whatever reason. You clip Bounty coupons and you follow Bounty on Facebook. From Bounty’s perspective, you’re a pretty engaged audience member.”

Does brand engagement only happen with B2C brands?

“Absolutely not. Rock star B2B companies almost always have strong brand engagement just like the rock star consumer guys do. If you’re selling CRM (customer relationship management) software, people need to view you as a brand of choice, based on their past experiences with and perceptions of your brand. Otherwise, they’re just going to go with the CRM guys who bought them lunch last week or who came in with the lowest bid.”

Can you give us some examples of brands who enjoy killer engagement?

“Off the top of my head: Apple, Coke, Nike, Trader Joe’s, H-E-B, Whataburger, Target. The AMC show “Breaking Bad” had unbelievable engagement. When that show was on the air I couldn’t get through a week without five people grabbing me by the collar and telling me I ‘needed’ to start watching. When your customers are going around insisting that everyone in their life should do business with you, that’s some pretty serious brand engagement.”

Besides providing a stellar product or service, what are some tips and insights you can offer about building brand engagement?

“Here are 5 ideas that immediately come to mind—and by the way, they all center around two important marketing tactics: Content marketing and audience definition.

One: Tell compelling stories. Follow the examples of the leaders I mentioned a moment ago. They have proven that great storytelling is the key to content virality and content engagement.

Another brand you might want to study is the American Heart Association. AHA wants two things: Donations, and for people to take better care of their hearts. They know that people give to other people, and that people are more likely to listen to advice when Joe Blow, who looks like one of their neighbors, shares his story. That’s why the AHA’s social media feeds are full of stories about people, not about dry medical stuff.

Two: Learn from your audience. Without knowing what your audience cares about, how on earth are you going to get the right content in front of them? Three ways you can get to know your audience better are: (1) Direct research like focus groups, customer surveys, data mining/customer profiling; (2) Industry studies and papers; and (3) Mining the analytics of the engagements with your website and social media.

Three: Provide personalized brand experiences. Use your CRM tool and your audience segmentation data to deliver customized content, like in email blasts and newsletters.

Four: Leverage trends and news items. If it’s National Coffee Day, put out a fun photo of your B2B team having coffee at a favorite spot near your office. If it’s the week of the Academy Awards and you own a grocery store, put out some cool recipes people can use for their Oscar party and tell them where to get the ingredients at your store.

Five: Be interactive and engaging. Today’s marketplace is super crowded, so you have to fight to keep your customer’s attention. If you get too focused on telling your customers what you want them to know vs. what they find engaging, they’ll lose interest and move on.

Related Articles:
“The Three Ds of B2B Content Marketing Strategy”
“13 Content Marketing Tactics That Help You Win Facebook”
“What Your Data Can Tell You About Your Brand”

Content marketing, brand development, audience definition and more –  whatever marketing challenge you’re facing, we’d love to hear more about it.