Friday, June 14, 2013

Is it Really About Brand Engagement or Getting Hitched?

Loyalty. Commitment. Marriage. Sure, not the sexiest or most marketable of phrases, but for brands, it's the Holy Grail. Yet, before we even go there however, we need to talk about engagement. Yes, engagement in all of its meanings. It's the latest buzzword branding gurus have been throwing around for some time now, and anyone who's anyone knows just how important it is for a brand to relate relevantly with the world in an alluring and compelling way, both online and off. However, most conversations on the subject are confined to the former and revolve around content since this is now the primary way people connect and interact with brands.

Therefore, it's important to point out that in the era of content marketing how important it is for brands to be real, because up until this point we've seen more than our fair share of desperate, tacky, and predictable attempts to manufacture "engagement" based upon conventional and cheesy call-to-action tactics. The internet is more than a content delivery system, and engagement is not about creating something gimmicky for people to share but rather the right kind of content. Otherwise engagement remains just shameless and sophomoric. Content is only king so far as it provides the building blocks to something powerful people can affectionately align themselves with and passionately champion and defend offline as well. The roadmap to the heart hasn't changed, just the tools are different. Brands that insist on intrusively 'selling' themselves through traditional advertising strategies or asking for likes, followers, and retweets won't survive or garner enough interest or enthusiasm to warrant the type of commitment needed today to keep quality customers engaged and involved.

Sexiness by itself isn't enough. Commonality alone doesn't cut it. Neither does an attractive promise or price. It's a combination of factors that makes for relationship material and a level of emotional buy-in most brands would kill for, because ultimately it's what drives us as people. It's the secret sauce. It's about relationship. Otherwise your brand will just be left standing at the altar.