Posted by: CMA
Type the word ‘brand engagement’ into Google and you’re faced with a choice of over 139 million pages. From scholarly essays on its history and social context to news stories, blogs and thought leadership pieces, the term is thrown around with abandon, with every page an earnest paean to its vast importance in every area of marketing.
But while brand engagement certainly has a role to play in the success of many forms of marketing, from direct mail to TV ads to social media, none of these can claim to be 100% about brand engagement. True brand engagement comes at the point where brand and consumer are on the same level, each gaining and giving in equal measure, with the brand slowly drawing the consumer into their world with full permission. The only form of marketing that can do this effectively and consistently is content marketing.
Content marketing works by offering practical, useful and entertaining content in return for a consumer’s time and attention. There’s no shouting, no coercion, no time pressure. All the consumer has to do is sit back, take in the brand’s carefully created content and become immersed in the brand’s world, whether that’s halfway up a Columbian mountain in a 4x4 or elbow-deep in organic bread dough.
The crucial difference between content marketing and other forms of marketing is that the consumer receives something of value, which builds the consumer’s trust in the brand. Repeat this over a period of time and you have long-term engagement, with the brand always front-of-mind when it comes to the purchase decision.
Where content marketing also excels is in brand engagement across a number of platforms. Most content has the enviable property of being platform-neutral, in that a single piece of content can be formatted for a number of different channels, increasing efficiency, engagement and effectiveness.
At its most basic, brand engagement is getting a consumer to look at look a product ad for a few seconds. At its most complex, it’s keeping your consumer in a virtuous circle of content, moving them from platform to platform as they uncover more and more useful content, discovering more and more about your brand.
When done well, this virtuous circle not only results in a huge spike in engagement – followers, readers, browsers, customers – but the content marketing sweet spot where your customers actually want more content from your brand, turning passive engagement into proactive need. Get to that point and it won’t be customer engagement you’ll be worried about; it’ll be keeping up with demand.